Hello Autumn!

My fav season has arrived – I just wish some rain would!

And it just so happens to be Garden Share Collective month  … a beaut initiative where a group of global bloggers share their veg patches. The trials and tribulations of growing your own. Pop on over to Lizzie’s blog from Strayed from the Table and meet the crew!

bumble in sedum-1130138

As my plans for the winter veg garden are done and dusted, I grabbed an old kitty litter tray yesterday (I know fraught with danger) and sieved compost into the vessel in readiness for some seeds. Oh what fun, into the dirt in rows went …

  • Kale – Squire and Cavolo Nero
  • Broccoli – De Cicco, Winter Rudolph, Precoce Romanesco
  • Cauliflower – Violet Sicilian
  • Cabbage – Verona Purple Savoy
  • Bright Lights
  • Celery – Elne

some more sieved compost over the top and each row labelled. I find this seed medium works a treat, as I refuse to use the bought stuff as it often contains fertiliser and fungicides.


More on those seeds once they have germinated!

Do you leave in self seeded stuff? I do this all the time and before I know it the uninvited guest has shouldered some of the residents out of the way. In a bed of carrots, zinnias, jack be little pumpkin and spinach, I have a self seeded tomato, cape gooseberry, plus calendulas and tansy plants  – all self seeded and all in the wrong place. Until recently I also had allowed a kumara to get bossy in a spud bed. Not for long though, I hauled it out in haste on the weekend. Were there any tubers attached? Not likely! LOL


I don’t know about you, but one of my favourite things to do is make a ‘hot’ compost! I know – nutty right?

For my compost lasagna, I had cut down a huge pile of canna leaves. I had a load of dried stalks and leaves on hand, plus coffee grounds, weeds, blood & bone, egg cartons, food scraps and a ton of seaweed which I had grabbed from our local beach.

Starting with a nice pile of twigs and branches to elevate the compost, I then added carbon and nitrogen in layers – hosing as I went. A couple of blood and bone scoopfuls (activator) in the middle, more layers, more water, words of encouragement and then a sheet of black plastic to tuck it all in.

With a bit of luck and fingers tightly crossed, the heap should reach 60 degrees in 4 – 6 days. I suspect that my carbon / nitrogen ratio isn’t quite right (too much nitrogen) – but let’s wait and see.


We are still harvesting fruit from the orchard – pears, peaches and apples. As can be expected, the wildlife are also helping do this.


Nothing like home grown bananas

golden queen-1130024

Golden Queen peach


Feijoas – starting to fill out


Yes we have a small macadamia tree 

I have my eye on the quinces and figs and will net these soon as I have no intention of sharing. The crabapples have ripened and are looking quite lovely dangling from the tree. Hubby’s father Bill is a whiz at preserving. In fact, he is in the kitchen right now busy preserving our pears with star anise, cardamon and sugar syrup. Yum!

pears and peaches-1130126

Egg production is slowing down … but that’s to be expected, it’s that time of the year. In saying that, my 5 young hens will be laying in about a month’s time – something to look forward to!

We are still eating zucchini, it is absolutely delicious grated and thrown into a salad. I’m busy freezing jalapeño chillies and keeping an eye on the habanero which have finally started to grow. I have an amazing supply of cucumbers which get feed to the chooks, juiced and tossed into salads. Plus we are enjoying beetroot, carrots, spring onions, spuds, NZ spinach, sorrel and an array of herbs.

Things to Do

  • Haul out the beans and get those peas planted
  • Water the seed tray morning and night – don’t forget!
  • Net more fruit trees
  • Squash more green shield beetles
  • Weed, feed and talk to the garden
  • Enjoy gazing at the zinnias in the veg garden


  • Stop taking photos of bumble bees
  • Add more mulch
  • Prepare a garden for lupins .. time for a break
  • Remove runners from the strawberries
  • Keep taking water to the pumpkin
  • Toss the cold compost
  • Slow down and look! I have been stung twice this week
  • Buy some worms – my bath tub is ready and waiting!
  • Plant my beetroot seedlings they are bored with the punnet

paper wasps-1120935

Sorry about the manuscript!

Happy gardening


77 thoughts

    • Hi Cynthia … sure can! Auckland’s climate is fairly mild. And where our bananas are sited just happens to be a little microclimate right next to our forest. No frost problem here either. Hate to say it, but the chooks like them too 😀

  1. Great post Julie and please don’t stop taking the photos of bumble bees. I really enjoy all your posts even though I must admit that when you start naming things, I don’t know what they are unless there is a picture with it. 🙂 I’m not much of a gardener. Take care and keep the posts coming. -Max-

    • You’re funny! So nice to know that you have stopped by again Max. I so enjoy your blog – it’s nice to know I can reciprocate. Don’t worry those fuzzy bees, they will always feature .. You take care too 😀

  2. Nothing wrong with taking photos of bees, at least you have them in your garden. I too leave a few self seeded plants in my garden. Some times I transplant them to new spots but generally they stay put as I figure they will be best where they are.

  3. I’m a total sucker for self sowed wandering plants – I feel like they just deserve the chance… BUT I’m actually going to try to be a little stricter this year because I end up working around them (also the same when I let things go to seed) and it often ends up being rather inefficient and I could have better used the space. But I rarely say no to self sowed pansies and nasturtiums.
    Funny we both have kale started. I have a little over wintered that we’ll get some leaves from before they go to seed (at which point I WILL pull them!)
    What a wonderful abundance of fruit!
    And how about your nuts? I think I ate 1 walnut and 2 hazelnuts last year. I just can’t manage to get them before the wildlife.

  4. Hi Wendy … yep I’m a sucker too for self seeded stuff. They pop up, I roll my eyes and think ‘here we go again’! And yes it can often be such an inefficient use of space. LOL the rats love the macadamias. I find the shells in the strangest of places. I reckon I’ve only eaten a couple of those too 😀

  5. Lovely Autumn post. Your season must be a little ahead of ours as I am not ready to sow those things but will at the end of the month. I used to let the self seeded stuff stay where it came up: now I gently relocate them or hand them around. keep taking bee photos- they are our friends.

    • Hey Miss, our comments must have just passed in cyberspace. How funny – I just left a comment on your blog. Our garden is full of bees – I’m loving it! And so is my camera 😀 Thanks for dropping by …

  6. I totally love your garden! Our feijoa are at about the same stage, I need to net them I think as usually the bird knock off most of them which always annoys me. I love the hot compost tip, thanks for that. I would love to speed mine up. How soon do you find you can use it after doing that?

    • Hey Kyrstie .. oh thank you! We have about 18 feijoa trees and funnily enough it is the possums that do the most damage. Ah I am a fan of hot composts. If the right nitrogen / carbon mix is adhered to, plus plenty of water and an activator, and materials used are the right size – then 3 – 4 weeks in summer, should see the post ready to use. I have a sneaking feeling that this won’t be the case for my latest compost. But we will see. It is slowly starting to heat up. Yay!

  7. Looking wonderful as every Julie with so many things that we can’t grow here, which makes it all look rather exotic. I love the unexpected bonus of a self seeder – in fact that’s the basis of my flower garden.

  8. Wow – I love your haul of tropical fruit. We don’t use compost as such – our pigs eat our garden and table waste. We do use a lot of sheep poo, and hay on our garden – a fortunate byproduct of living on a sheep property.

    • Hi nice to hear from you. We are very lucky with our unusual array of fruit. Auckland’s climate is fairly temperate. I am envious of your pigs though as I’m sure they do a fine job of fertilising your land. I would use a load of sheep poo too! We only have 2 rather plump dorpa cross girls .. 🙂

  9. What!!!!! Stop taking photos of bumble bees???? There is always time to take photos of bumble bees! On a serious note, how do you eat quinces? I have been given a few at the last seed savers event and hence on my list to find out? Crazy I know but I have never heard of them before. Cheers Lovely 🙂

  10. Making compost is so worth it! I only have a city garden here in Van, but have three compost bins on the go. This week I emptied out the one which was ready and that beautiful black stuff went around my roses and into the veggie garden. Love it to pieces. You know what I did the other day? I opened a spaghetti squash for baking and all those beautiful plump seeds came tumbling out the centre, so I put some aside to dry and will pot them up to see if they sprout for me. I’d love to grow some…no idea where since the whole veggie patch is loaded up with garlic (I know, what was I thinking?)…but I can’t really see myself buying a package of 25 + seeds when I only have room for one or max two plants, so this might be a great idea…or it might go horribly wrong. I’ve called up a fellow master gardener friend and he said spaghetti squash tends to come true from saved seed, so all good. Also, one of my trellises has been given over to an incredible red rose (that I decided I couldn’t live without), and so now am not sure where to, or if to plant red runner beans this year. Maybe I won’t since I’m always in England when they mature and my kids don’t eat them very much. I usually plant them for the hummingbirds anyway, so might plant sunflowers instead. Oh, it’s all so exciting, isn’t it? You with you cool weather crops and me with my next summer bounty in the planning! 😀 By the way, I keep taking photos of the bumble bees too! Love their furry little bums.

    • Ah another compost fan! How good is the stuff? Even my piles of cold compost are divine. Your garden will love you for it. Oh that’s good about true to seed – cucurbits do have a nasty habit of crossing. I have saved seed before and ended up with the strangest veges .. LOL It is so exciting. Spring for you and autumn for us. I really enjoy the change of seasons and the new crops. And don’t worry, I love the bumbles bums too – they make the best models 😀

  11. Fan-tastic!! Gorgeous photos Jules – love seeing all youre doing.
    Dont stop taking The Bumbles – love ’em! We dont see them here 😃

  12. You’re such a hard-working girl, Julie, and all this heavenly harvest! Bananas…hmmm, can only dream of that! I’m picking purple sprouting broccoli now which has been doing very well. Although it’s biennial it’s worth it. Fab and tasty pics as usual. 🙂

  13. You always seem so genuinely cheery about the work you describe – it’s delightful. However I’m glad you also take time for those lovely photos – the one of the bee climbing out of the yellow flower is amazing. I also learned about a new fruit today – Feijoas… which seem to also have lovely flowers and originate in Brazil and Uruguay. Would love to try one one day – thanks!

    • I am a cheery person … and I do get a buzz out of the garden so that helps! I’m so pleased you enjoy my pics. I get great pleasure out of my camera! I really like that shot of the bumble bee too – he was a laugh to watch. Ah feijoas. Wish I could send you some. They are so good! Really perfumed fruit – make the best desserts and jam. Best eaten raw! Thanks for dropping by 😀

  14. P.S. I don’t know why your posts don’t always show up in my WordPress reader. Having a similar problem to the one you had.

  15. never stop taking photos of buumble bees 🙂 i let a butternut pumpkin that had self seeded do its own thing once – but it never came to anything. so i’m a bit stricter on selfseeded stuff now. i have so little space anyway, so it’s easy to be strict.

  16. Pingback: Cooking Quinces for the First Time | Greener Me

  17. What a glorious post, Julie.
    Thank you!
    As we slowly head into the Canadian spring, these photos are a treat.
    What are Feijoas? Are they something like a fig or citrusy or what?
    And that last photo: Is that a bee nest or a soursop?
    Great post!

  18. Hi Cynthia .. oh thank you! I’m pleased you enjoyed. Feijoas are from South America I believe, they are a very perfumed fruit which are wonderful eaten raw, made into jam or served as a dessert with a crumble topping. That last pic is of paper wasps – who are particularly busy making a home for their offspring. And yes they will sting, although they aren’t aggressive! 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: