Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Garden Share Collective - September

  The Garden Share Collective is the brain child of Lizzie from Strayed from the Table. There are a group of bloggers from all over the place who chat about what is going on in their gardens, with hints and tips. Pop over to Strayed from the Table to check out all the others.

Sorry I missed everyone last month, I was over in Scotland visiting family and friends for 4 weeks. I loved it, but I did miss the garden.

I'm going to refer back to the last post - HERE and update on that.
It's still winter and hasn't been that cold, but oh boy! it's been wet. We have well draining volcanic soil here, but even that has turned all boggy. It's saturated, and not at all fun.

The Greenhouse
The most exciting thing I want to start with is that I actually have tomatoes in the greenhouse!! Green ones, but the experiment for winter tomatoes is sort of working. What I've learned from this is that I definitely need to plant them way earlier next year if I want to have tomatoes to eat over winter! I'm thinking they need to go in around May (?) so it will be an experiment again next year, but I hope I get the timing a little better.

The chillies have all been harvested, and cut right back. Again, as this is the first full year with a greenhouse, we just hope they all come back again and don't die. I have high hopes, though as until last week there were still red chillies on them.

I am looking for a bit of advice. I've noticed that some of the chilli plants have some black pesty things on them. What do people use in the small space of a greenhouse as pest control?

The Veggie garden
So, the fabby compost that I was given - not so fabby. It obviously didn't get hot enough to kill the seeds in it, so now, where I put the compost is slowly but steadily turning into lawn. I need to get weeding pretty much immediately, as it's getting warmer now and soon it will go crazy. I'm really disappointed. I've worked so hard getting my veggie beds in good condition, the last thing I need is a gazillion weeds.

'A Heartbreaking work of Staggering Genius'

The peapods are about 8ft tall and have pods on them. Another couple of weeks and I'll be noshing them. However, these were really planted to save a lot of the peas for planting. Often it's difficult to find Alderman peas to buy. So I do it this way.

The globe artichokes have done amazingly well.  They are gigantic. Still no sign of any artichokes yet, though.

The rest of the beds are still sitting pretty much empty - as was my plan.

But!!!! the first of the asparagus is poking through. This bed is only three years old and I have been nurturing it like it was a baby. Look how big and strong these look. I have a feeling it might be a bumper year!

And, got mint!

But,  there's not a huge amount happening in there right now, however soon it will be a hive of activity.

Quite a lot of marigolds. I always have marigolds in the veggie garden. They're a very good way of keeping aphids at bay. A great example of companion planting

The rest of the garden...
We did have half the grassy part of the garden fenced off. It's working amazingly.  It's given us another 2 acres of grazing for the alpacas which is ACE!  It's put that part to much better use. Before I used to have to mow it. Now the mowing takes almost 1 hr10 minutes less time to do and uses a lot less petrol. whew!

 And an added bonus, we can see Rachel and all the Alpacas from the french doors in the kitchen. Bliss.  You can see it's still very much winter. No leaves on the trees yet.

We planted a few trees. A Weeping willow in the nursery paddock for some shade. It'll take a couple of years to get big enough. Also 2 wedding cake trees, in the garden. These are really beautiful when fully grown. (But don't look like much now!)

The daffodils have been and (almost) gone.

The citrus orchard has been a goldmine of fruit this year. It always is. There's going to be some lemon curd made this week.

We have some lovely huge hands of bananas almost ready to be picked off the trees and taken to our deck to ripen.  They don't ripen on the tree. If you look closely, to the left of this hand, and slightly lower, is a brown blob? This is a hand of bananas that we left on the tree a wee bit too long and rats ate it. They've been a terrible problem this year. Despite us having three cats.

And speaking of cats.. this is Kopi. And this is pretty much all she does!

And my lovely chickens? Laying up a storm. We always get eggs all winter (I've got just over 20 chickens) we get around 4 or 5 eggs a day right through winter. Over the last month it's upped to 14 a day. Brilliant, especially considering 6 of my chickens are 7 years old! Time to get my 'eggs for sale' sign back out. 

Plans for the next month
The next month is where I have to work really hard making wee paper pots, and getting my seeds planted so that they are ready to go out into the veggie garden later. This is my first time of having the greenhouse to get them all ready in - so it would be fair to say I'm really excited about it this year!

I'll be planting
Sweetcorn, lots of it and various ones
Tomatoes - heirlooms - a real mix.
Luffah ( if I can find any seeds - no luck yet)
cavalo nero/black kale
spring onions
various beans
silverbeet/rainbow chard
beetroot ( for Lloyd)

I've found over the years, that this is what we eat. often I've grown other bits and bobs, but this is all our favourite things. BUT! If anyone feels like we're missing out on something fab, I'd love to hear from you.

There is also a very full herb garden.

So, that's my main to do job. But there will also be all the jobs that need doing ALL THE TIME. Mowing, weeding, trimming, pruning.
My main weeding job is the 2 beds round the house - the front one is gorgeous with camellias and gardenias and some hibiscus, but it also has Oxalis ( this really should have a skull and crossbones after it! evil stuff!) it is the bane of my life, along with convolvulus which we also have in a corner of the garden. 2 things I loathe!  Also got 3 dwarf frangipanes to take out. They're not dwarf and they never flower. They're just taking over the beds in a mass of green bushiness.

And the mowing - nightmare, as our mower broke down last week when I was just about to start mowing. We haven't got it back yet and the grass is now the longest it's ever been. This makes me anxious. I'm a bit of a neat freak and I hate it like this, so here's hoping the mower is fixed soon, or I may have to go and sook up to our lovely neighbours and borrow theirs.

Still, the bees are out in force and this makes me smile

I shall leave everyone with this thought - I noticed we've all being talking a lot about seeds. I have a bazillion seeds. I'm putting it out there, but what do folk think about a seed swap? Obviously we'd have to be careful to follow our countries rules on this. I know NZ is a big NO NO for sending seeds to but we could do it within our own countries??


  1. Busy girl Laura!! I am inspired to start sowing seeds after reading this, and I have been saving the loo roll inners to use at pots. I saved seeds mainly from all my flowering plants so if you are interested I can send you a list of what I have and would happily share them with you.

    1. oh Sue, this could be a great plan!
      I have mostly veggie seeds - quite a lot of heirloom tomato and just stuff!
      We could do a swap!

  2. Here in NH Fall is reading about gardening in your neck of the world! When your gardens are lush and growing,things here are usually covered in snow.

    1. and it's lovely for me reading the NH blogs cos I miss the snow!! so win win really :)

  3. Hi Laura - do you think Alderman peas are the best? I haven't heard of them but I'm always on the look out for really reliable and delicious seed varieties. I see Kings Seeds stock them.
    I wrote a post ( about my favourite varieties here in Hamilton - beans, basil, lettuce, cucumber and sweet peas, if you're interested.

    1. Andrea, I think they are :) they grow to great heights and have lots of long pods with lovely sweet peas in them. You really feel that you get a lot from them. Totally my favourite :)
      Now I'm off to check you out :)

  4. Anonymous10:41 am

    It's like you're gardening in a different universe - winter tomatoes? We're lucky to get tomatoes to ripen in the summer here! But we do have a great seed swapping scheme, Seedy Penpals... twice a year there's an exchange of seeds between penpals - it's a great way to share excess seed and get in contact with other gardeners.

    1. if it makes you feel any better, the winter tomatoes are only in the greenhouse :) I do love the sound of your seed swapping group though. :)

  5. Like the look of those peas. I like the idea of a seed swapp.

    1. these really are the best peas I've had!!

  6. Your bit about having tomatoes through winter has stirred the urge within me to establish a hot house! Great post and pics.

    1. thank you Angela, the greenhouse is the best thing I ever got! ( that and my camera!)

  7. FAB IDEA! I was only thinking this morning that we should all do a seed swap and include it in our posts for those who live in that country. Here in Australia we have different rules per state too just to make it harder. Shame about the compost, maybe weed it like crazy and them mulch it to maybe help those weeds suffocate. 14 eggs a day thats crazy I have five chooks and looking at getting more, there is only two of us and I don't think we could handle a dozen a day. I have been swapping eggs around the neigbourhood as we can't sell them here in Australia unless you have special licensing. Gotta love rules.
    Look forward to seeing your new planting out for the year. Also one thing for us is cucumbers for summer my hubby eats them straight off the vine.
    I am was looking for luffa seeds too - green patch is my usual seed people they have them under lettuce -

    1. It might be a wee bit tricky! but if we stick to legal stuff we should be fine! We've got it a lot easier than Oz - and i thought they were very strict here. At least I can sell my eggs :)
      I do swap too - our neighbour has an avacado orchard so I get them and she gets eggs. its a win win!
      Cucumbers have always been a total non starter for me - I've tried and tried. At the end of last season one of my friends gave me some seeds from her cucumbers that had grown well for her, so one last try!
      oh and I found Luffa - egmonts seeds had them - yippee!

  8. hello from another garden share collective-r. i feel your pain about the weeds in your gardenbeds. that would be heartbreaking.
    on a brighter note, i'm enviosu of your asparagus and pretty peas. so lovely - and delicious!


I love it when you leave me comments, it lets me know there are folk out there reading my ramblings! Thank you, I appreciate them loads and loads
Laura x