It’s still hot!

February has been such a busy month, the rain and warm temps have continued. Our garden is falling all over the place!

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Do you ever surprise yourself by doing something erratic? While standing and staring at a dwarf tomato covered in smelly uninvited green shield beetles the other day, I leant over and ripped out said plant.


I must admit being slightly surprised with myself but then truth is I had over planted as per usual and this tomato had got super bushy stopping air flow and making it perfect for pests and disease.  But don’t worry, I froze a couple of bags of green toms, pickled others and handed the rest to Andrew who loves green fried tomatoes (minus the bugs of course).

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Green bugs aren’t the only thing that is annoying me lately either .. Each year thanks to the humidity in Auckland the fungal nasties appear and as I have cucurbits growing everywhere (think pumpkin, zucc and cucumbers) the odd leaf is just starting to sport those white floury spots. Fantastic! I can hardly wait …  So I’m going to rise early in the am and spray those culprit leaves with baking soda. Time to give that fungi a mini wakeup call, change the pH of the leaf (hopefully) and make their day a tad unpleasant. Does it work? It makes me feel better, let’s put it that way.

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Our orchard seems to be on steroids! We have never seen a crop like it. Sure some trees are devoid of fruit, but there are others that have never produced before and are laden. Time to ring up friends in the neighbourhood and tell them to ‘help themselves’.


Thank heavens for Bill! He is such a star in the kitchen freezing damson plums and peaches, making jam which he is going to take home with him and cooking us the most amazing meals. I’m going to miss him when he is gone!


We had a quick trip to Marlborough for the Wine & Food Festival to spread the Toi Toi love. If you love culinary and wine events, then you should pop it on your calendar. A good excuse to get away! Lots of divine food, cooking demos, entertainment and some fine New Zealand wine (of course 😀 ).

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I couldn’t resist taking this pic at the Blenheim airport – it was early

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And mentioning going away …

I’m leaving Frog Pond for a few days to visit Australia. And while I’m there I’m catching up with a very special blogger who lives in Melbourne (one of my favourite places) .. I’m very excited!


My garden will have to do without me for a few days …

Happy Gardening

71 thoughts

  1. Well I said to Julie you should call this blog Slave labour! But no I enjoy cooking bottling preserving. We have such an abundance of fruit. As Julie as said we are leaving for a few days what shall we return to. Julie as usual your photos are superb. And the effort that you Andrew put into the property is second to none, the farm just looks great. Julie keep the blogs coming as there are quite a few people in the UK that are now tuned in! Lots love Your Slave Bill xxxxxx just kidding!

  2. Great photos. I love the propellers head on, and you got the sliver moon! Wonderful. Sometimes you have to be drastic and pull things up by the roots or do a bit of “shovel pruning” as we call it.

    • Hey Tim .. I like that shot too. I couldn’t resist it, I was sitting at the Blenheim airport early and the sun was just starting to do its thing .. Glad you like the moon. Oh you are so right about shovel pruning. 😀

  3. A bountiful harvest must feel so rewarding after all the gardening you do. I remember your amazing preserve king from last years blogs – don’t the seasons fly past? Look forward to hearing who the mystery blogger is and enjoy your trip😊

    • It sure does feel rewarding … each year I always get excited with the crops and wonderful flavours. He is an amazing preserve King .. Those seasons fly past way too quickly, won’t be long now and we will be watching those leaves fall. Off to see the mystery blogger tomorrow! 😀

  4. Garden looks great! I think I can see some blossoms in the potato patch. As for pulling out the tomato plant; sometimes you have to do what you have to do! The green tomato pickles look great. I made them for the first time this year and they were delicious. Take care and have a wonderful trip. Bob

    • Yes there are blossoms in the spud patch! Yay … And you are absolutely right, it is so necessary to hoist out stuff (especially given I over plant!!). Green tom pickle … so looking forward to trying that. Thanks Bob!

  5. bon voyage…. first time I grew toms I erred on the generous side planting – and harvested 14 stone – a lot of which ended up whole in the freezer!

  6. Yes – our lads played snooker with them down the hall – think the vast majority went the way of the compost heap when we couldn’t face more bolognese; think I eventually found a microwave recipe for green tomato chutney for the rest! Thames Valley alluvial river soil & fertile climate – grew everything from corn cobs to whitecurrants….

  7. Hi Julie! The garden looks so inviting… heat, humidity, drooping and all. We are drowning in late winter rains. Sometimes those brash garden moves stun you as there’s no sticking it back in- but I find as well a sense of relief when the deed is done and you aren’t sitting there staring at a plant for days..hmmmm should or I shouldn’t I. Have fun in AU. Cheers! wendy

    • Hello Wendy I have missed you .. I still wonder at me nurturing stuff and giving it loads of TLC to simply rip it out 😀 Still it was a much needed decision. Drowning in late winter rains doesn’t sound too good. I’m in AU now .. so nice to be back! Cheers

  8. Thanks for that lovely seaside shot Julie, with the soaring gull, symbolising you flying over Bass Straight to Melbourne. And the airport shots are stunning too. This is a different subject for you- just as I have started taking shots of old wooden posts and barbed wire! Looking forward very much to your visit. The weather looks good, around 25c here, a little warmer than the city but still very mild.
    I can relate to the steroidal nature of the season. Wish I had a Bill to pickle my bounty.

  9. You know who the beach shot was for don’t you? Oh yes the airport shots are way out of my comfort zone, but I just couldn’t resist them. The light was amazing! Laughed when I read about you taking shot of posts and barbed wire .. perfect! See you tomorrow …

  10. I’m always surprised about gardening post in Feb. because here in the US where I live that’s a long way off yet. Your produce yielded some yummy looking stuff. Especially the fruit.

  11. just wandurrrd by –> are ALL your posts as well-illustrated (well, pixure accompanimeant) as this? interesting and good-eye ! and NEET to read about your polar-opposite of seasons compared to us “up north”. i live near “life on a colorado farm” , by the weigh.

  12. I love your comment about ripping up the tomato plant… makes me feel better because I am contemplating ripping out my three zucchini plants because they are just failing to deliver the goods! ah, you;ve made me feel better about my almost-there decision, frogpond …

  13. I’m only just managing to catch up Julie. So sorry; it’s been hectic round here lately. Wow, it’s so nice for me to come over and get a bit of summer in my dreary, leaden sky February. I swear I could instantly smell that sharp tomato plant smell when you wrote about ripping it out of the ground. I’ve done that myself once or twice…ok…maybe more than twice. Honestly, sometimes the critters can have the bloody plant! Good luck with the mildew. That always gets mine in the end. But great news for the orchard and all that fruit. My one Victoria plum in the garden in E thinks it’s a grape vine some years and absolutely clusters the plums on each branch. I know I’ve put out boxes of plums by the road side with a “help yourself” sign. Always popular with the village. 😀 I’m off now to go catch up on everything with you. I hope you’re having a marvellous time away and I hope you will have a chance to see with Celi while she’s there. 😀

    • Oh how I would love to see Celi! Although I caught up with another blogger friend .. Francesca for the first time. Oh lucky me, we had the best time. What a treasure she is. Mildew will nail my plants .. Dreading getting home tomorrow and seeing them. That’s a great idea with the plums 😃 so good to know you are back, I missed you. Hugs

  14. Those peaches and plums look fantastic! Cucurbits don’t love our humid Kentucky summers, either; I’ll have to try the baking soda spray trick. Safe travels on your upcoming journey! Cheers, Ben

  15. Your photography is outstanding, Julie! I LOVE the airplane and how you captured the propellers. Very cool shot! And your garden …. OH MY GOSH! Outstanding as well! I totally understand how frustrating those bugs and pests and white powder can be. I hope your baking soda works and speaking of you gave ME a great idea for the fungus that visits here. Hmmmmm ….. Thank you!!! Enjoy your trip to Melbourne. RELAX. 🙂

    • Hey Amy … oh thank you. What a lovely comment. I like the airplane and the propellers too – most unlike me :). The garden has gone nuts because of the rain and sun. Hard to believe that autumn will soon be with us. Give the baking soda a go. I have also done a milk solution too. Had a lovely time in Melbourne .. thank you

  16. Hi Julie, Enjoy your trip to Australia. I nominated your blog for a quote challenge but there’s no pressure to do it. I just wanted to create the links to other growers and nature blogs around the world which have inspired me. I was nominated by Jenny Litchfield and her A Kiwis garden. Sounds interesting to meet another blogger too on your travels. Safe journeys. Wet and cold here!

    • I had a wonderful time in Australia 😀 And it was fabulous meeting Francesca while I was there. Love this blogging world. Gosh, thank you for nominating me for the Challenge how nice to know you thought of me. I hope you won’t mind though, but I won’t join in … but I do so appreciate you thinking of me. It is raining here right now, but thankfully not cold!

  17. Love the full frontal plane shot! But all the photos are wonderful. Hope you are having a great time in Aus. Nice to getaway from it all especially when it’s heavenly getting back home again! Xxxx

    • Hey Gill .. I love that shot too – not like me at all to take pics of planes ( LOL). Glad you like the pics, always fun taking them. I had a wonderful time in Australia .. but it is always wonderful getting home. Raining now .. but the garden is loving it!

  18. I trust you enjoyed the festival. Gorgeous images, as usual. I love fried green tomatoes too…haven’t had them since I had my own garden up North. Oh how heavenly those tomatoes look. And yes, I can avidly relate to sudden fits of impulse! P.S. Those peaches look GLORIOUS!!!! Sending best wishes,

    Autumn Jade

  19. Julie it looks like its been a bumper crop in your backyard. Like you here in OZ the weather has been wonderful for growing veggies. Although then we had too much rain and it spoiled all the tomatoes. Now the hot weather has finally arrived and things have slowed. Hope you had a wonderful visit to Melbourne. So cool to meet other bloggers isn’t it.

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