Posts Tagged 'gardening'

At our place: the garden

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When we first moved into our new house in October last year, the gardens were rather weedy, not neglected exactly, just in need of some TLC. We’ve been busy trying to get them into some sort of shape since then – my mother spent a week solid weeding when we first got here, and we shifted a large number of things so I could claim the back garden for my blueberries, rhubarb and herb garden.  That has thrived there, and the roses we moved have done okay in the front garden, which is good. Other things moved forward or along, or were split up to cover some empty spaces.

When my parents in law came to stay, the first round of trimming and taking out happened – a feat repeated when my sister visited – are you sensing  a theme here?? Even our neighbour has been in on the act, removing an aging hedge between our properties, and then replanting the border. It has meant a reduction in privacy for them, but the long-term gain in better view and healthier plants will be well worth it. Our girls are rather pleased as they adore playing with their (older) girls.  Now it’s easier access. And I’m discovering it’s rather easy to pop through the garden for a cup of tea too 🙂

The weekend after the garden got replanted we also got given a huge load of mulch, so had to race out and get plants for along the driveway which we had denuded of old, ugly shrubs, falling down trees, and ancient stumps.  Looks sooo much better now.

There is heaps more to do – the veggie patch is underway but needs a huge amount more done, including finishing the boxes, and doing something about the greenhouse which blew down in the massive gale we had a few months ago. With winter approaching, there’s a lack of urgency, but it’d be great to have it all ready to go in the spring – and I’m looking forward to having the paths down so that we have less weeding and upkeep to do!

I’ll post more pictures later when we make some more changes – I’m terrible at remembering progress pictures, so often I forget ‘before’ pictures, so these will have to suffice for now!

Mildly Obsessional

It’s Spring.  I love spring. I find myself spending hour after hour out of doors in my garden instead of hour after hour indoors knitting. There is still plenty of time to knit too though, but I feel like I’ve got a bit more balance in the daytime.

I am loving my vegetable garden. I even spent some time in my much-neglected flower garden.  But the vegetable garden is the place I gravitate towards.

Some reasons?

My new garden boxes built last summer have been producing ever since. Onions, leeks, garlic, lettuce, peas, brocolli, cabbage, cauliflower, strawberries, blueberries, tayberry, thornless blackberry, raspberry and red currants all in various stages of growth.

The peas have flowers and small pods already.

The back garden is starting to come to life too: brocolini, cauliflower and onions are recently planted on this side, with a well established loganberry plant starting to sprawl out. Brussels sprouts are starting to go to seed – but they finally also have some sprouts on them, so their life-expectancy was extended.

On the other side is a well established NZ Spinach patch which feeds us several times a week and never gets any smaller 🙂  Some small corn seedlings are getting established, as well as some zuchinni plants and snow peas.  The broad beans are doing beautifully and just starting to be ready to eat – we had our first few from them tonight.  Raspberry and Thornless Blackberry canes are next to my asparagus patch, and I’ve got potatoes and yams at the far end, with a sprinkling of leeks in a couple of other places in between.

I am really enjoying trying to grow from seed too, but there are some annoying, if anonymous, bugs that keep raining on my parade. They keep eating my bean plants and ate my cucumber seedlings down to the ground. So now I get to be mildly obsessional about bug management.

Springtime!

The first day of Spring dawned bright and sunny here. The sky was blue. I suspiciously looked for dark clouds on the horizon, and failing to find any, I put out washing on the line before work, knowing it would be hours before I was back, no hope of rescuing it if the weather changed. And when I arrived home, it was dry. No stray showers or unpredicted breaks in the weather happened. The first day of Spring was like that here. 

I took the opportunity to wander around our garden taking some first day of Spring pictures – promise of new life everywhere.

And it’s not just the flower garden that’s feeling productive. We have also got lots of action in the vegetable patch. We’ve been feasting on homegrown broccoli for a month or so now, and I’ve discovered that the plants enthusiastic side shoots can grow large enough for a meal for our family too…

This cauli opened up its leaves and look what was hiding inside, perfectly formed.

Planted last month, the early potatoes are doing their thing, and although my mother brought me up right, I do like broad beans (as do the whole family!!) so they have had a good start too. (We were brought up to believe broad beans were a special kind of torture. I remember once having to look after a pack of frozen broad beans for my auntie, and much was made of having them in the house! Luckily they didn’t taint everything else in the freezer…)

Asparagus is sprouting too, although they are still young plants so I’m leaving it be for now (oh, how great the temptation though!) The Rhubarb is poking through the ground too. Leeks are fattening up, strawberries starting to flower, and the blueberries are starting to flower too. Oh how I love Spring.

And then today, the rain fell. In bucket loads. The electric blankets are on, the gas heater on full, the wind blew. Spring is a changeable season, and while we look forward to the promise of the warmer weather, the longer days, the gardening and hours spent out of doors, I need to remember that it will be tempered with colder spells. With rain. With all of the unpredicability that comes with living on Aotearoa’s west coast. Taranaki didn’t get to be this green without the rain! And so, while I look forward to the warm days, I will be content with the promise of more to come. After all, if Spring arrived with a vengeance too quickly, I’d never get to wear my ever so slowly progressing Alpaca Tunic this year, would I?

Seasonal Eating

In the few weeks that we were away down south, our vegetable garden has sprung into nearly full production. These pictures were taken around 6pm, thus the long shadows.

In the right foreground are some chives, then strawberries, zuchinnis, self-seeded pumpkins, climbing beans, and behind them are butter beans, lettuce, and potatoes and broccolini.

On the left are more lettuce, newly planted snow peas, a great crop of cauliflowers, and beside them more climbing beans. Then there are cabbages, butter beans, tomatoes, basil, more zuchinnis, corn and yams.

At the far end are pak choi, and some very small tomatoes and capsicums.

On the other side…

Rhubard, New Zealand native Spinach, baby cauliflower, raspberry plant, leeks, cucumber, thornless blackberry, more (!) butter beans and baby cauliflower, silver beet and an enormous sunflower.  Oh, and the most exciting bit – asparagus plants (!) I have wanted asparagus for aaaages but always missed the season in the shops. I managed to get green and purple plants and they have teeny tiny baby spears on them – maybe I will get to harvest them next year 🙂 Too cool! (Dh hates asparagus, so it’s just for me and maybe I’ll share with the kids)

Daily visits to our garden are rewarded with produce. We have been eating every night according to what is ready. So far since we have been back we have eaten DS’s favourite Zuchinni Pasta, zuchinni fritters, lovely fresh beans, a vegetable frittata full of home grown vegetables, a rhubarb crumble, and delicious new potatoes. Seasonal eating at its best.  My friends gardens are doing well too. I came home from knitting night with two cabbages and some more rhubarb (you can’t *ever* have enough according to my DH) from Kate’s garden, destined for our plates in the near future.  What a lovely reminder that summer is here – since the weather is not currently obliging!

These are the blackberries – but if you look carefully you can see the new shoes I got for Christmas 🙂

Sorry to bore you with masses of photos etc but I’ve been spending so much more time outside than in the last few days, so I just *had* to share 🙂

I’ve also been…

Gardening!

Our vegetable garden has been growing steadily, with some obvious growth on most of the plants now.

We haven’t much productive at the moment though – our NZ Spinach has endless greens for us, and lettuce is in full swing for salads and sandwich fillings. But I have to be patient waiting for everything else to be productive. I did spy some flowers on our Zuchinni plants the other day, and some promises of produce not too far away…

Since this picture was taken, I spotted a half red berry too, so it might not be long before we have a fight over who gets the first taste for the year.

Somehow all our parsley died over winter, so I am pleased to have a thriving patch once again. I made some cheese and onion scones with parsley butter for lunch, and enjoyed the colour it added.

 I have tried to get out twice a week for weeding duties, and watering too.  Miss 3 planted some sunflower seeds in the garden just after her birthday in August, and we have been following their progress – some are looking very promising (among the potatoes!)

I have been busy sewing more WIP bags up in an effort to finish all my sewing projects before my marking contract started. I failed, as I still have Miss 3’s outfit unfinished, but I hope to find a spare moment or two somewhere amongst the paperwork and deadlines. 

And the knitting continues too, with one more Christmas gift finished and awaiting blocking.  And it’s beautiful too, but you will just have to take my word for it for now 🙂

 


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