Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 11th August

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 11th August

Take time out from sowing seeds from Sunday 5th August until after the dark of the moon on Saturday 11th August 2018. 

As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, this time is associated with spindly, weak growth – wait a week or so [and when the ground is warm!].

Maybe give some protection to anything still growing which likes some shelter from frost, or wind and rain.

Also,

  • Maybe give some protection to anything which likes shelter from frost, wind or rain. Some bamboo canes, poly-pipe, plastic sheet and bird-netting to hold it all together in strong winds works well. We peg the netting down to the ground with weed-mat wire pegs or loop it round nails in raised bed edges.
  • read up on this next season and seed types to plant for success – they all have their favorite times.
  • prepare beds to grow GREAT crops of your favorite veg or fruit when the time is right.
  • Plan your next seed sowing, your garden layout, or crop rotation to minimize pest and diseases.

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at http://gardenate.com

PPS:

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

 —

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 13th July

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 13th July

Take time out from sowing seeds from Friday 6th July until after the dark of the moon on Friday 13th July 2018. 

As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, this time is associated with spindly, weak growth – wait a week or so.

Take this time to wander around and really LOOK at:

  • what is doing well,
  • what isn’t,
  • what is ready for harvesting,
  • where you will soon have space for new plantings,
  • where you would like more screening from un-wanted sights,
  • where your lovely views are being covered by previous plantings,
  • where the cold/hot winds usually come from so you can screen, diffuse and moderate them

Then

  • read up on this next season and seed types to plant for success – they all have their favorite times.
  • learn more about the optimum conditions to grow GREAT crops of your favorite veg or fruit
  • Plan your next seed sowing, your garden layout, or crop rotation to minimize pest and diseases.

Even maybe plan to visit Auckland Tree Crops Annual Tree and Plant Sale

Saturday 14 July 2018   9 am to 1 pm   Wet or Fine

 Auckland Botanic Gardens, Courtyard

Everyone welcome:  gardeners, lifestyle and small block holders, farmers, nurseries. Buy and sell, look, talk trees and ask questions.

Trees and plants suitable for Auckland, Common and Unusual fruit trees,

Subtropicals, Pip and Stone Fruit and items for your garden.

Local experts to answer your questions about growing fruit.

Workshops by Sheryn Clothier: “Growing with Nature to Produce Nutrient-dense food.”

And the Compost Collective.

 

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at http://gardenate.com

PPS:

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

 —

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 14th June

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the 14th June

Take time out from sowing seeds until after the dark of the moon on Thursday 14th June 2018. As the moon nears its smallest visible ‘dark of the moon’ phase, this time is associated with spindly, weak growth – wait a week or so.

Do other things instead.

  • Big ‘clean-up’ time still? Build a new compost bin – to take lots of annual plants which die and are ready to be composted. [and deciduous leaves add great carbon store to the compost so we collect the fallen leaves from these street trees too]
  • renovate garden beds ready for their next plantings in spring.
  • read up on this next season and seed types to plant for success – they all have their favorite times.
  • learn more about the optimum conditions to grow GREAT crops of your favorite veg or fruit
  • Plan your next seed sowing, your garden layout, or crop rotation to minimize pest and diseases.
  • Save seeds of your best plants 

May you and your garden flourish
Heather

PS

For more ideas about what to sow and when in NZ, have a look at http://gardenate.com

PPS:

For more about planting by the  moon phases,

If you like experiments about when to plant for best results, a great one is to plant the same seeds in rows right beside each other [so all other conditions are identical], and label the rows with the date of planting. Then sow seeds from 1 packet at weekly intervals, each week in a new row.

This way you can see how the recommendations for best/worst seed sowing outcomes from moon-planting guides work for you. Maybe they do, and maybe they don’t.

I enjoy experimenting with such ideas – and if only I can rescue the rows from the snails and black-birds, I might even get some results to share!

Here’s a post I wrote about planting by the moon phases if you like more information and reflections on it.

Moon planting guides remind me to plant SOMETHING, plan a little, and help me have a continuous supply!

 —

Cherry blossom time again!

Cherry blossom time again!

Aren’t they lovely – I understand why in Japan cherry-blossom time sends people into the public gardens with cherry-blossom walks. Beautiful.

They tell me spring is well and truly here and summer will return.

 

And to take a few moments to enjoy the fragile blossoms as I go about the garden.

 

There’s more to gardening and life than one task after another – look up and enjoy nature’s wonderful creations too.

 

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Are there blossoms on trees in your area for you to enjoy too? There are some as street trees here – gorgeous for a little while.

 

 

 

Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

Chokos are in season (late autumn) in Auckland!

20160521_100028Chokos – a prolific, fence-covering vine, masses of fruit – what DO we do with them?!

From tiny ones, new-formed to great big ones, larger than my hand – here’s our take on making best use of this resource. Now that zucchinis are ending their season growing in the open garden, small chokos make a great replacement.

The small ones are delicious and sweet – just thumb-sized. Steam a few minutes.

Large chokos develop a tough skin and are flavorless compared with the tiny ones. We spice large ones to make them worth eating. Big ones are kept in a cold place until we have no more small ones on the plant. Then we use the large ones [unless we’ve given them away].

Large chokos are usually the ones available in shops. If you see small ones, choose them for flavor.

The choko seed will sprout from the large end of a choko which is as big as your hand and grow into a whole new plant. It first grows a new shoot and begins to grow small rootlets.

20160522_171032It can be now planted into a garden bed in a frost-free zone, or into a pot, large end down, of good potting mix [or at least the growing rootlets covered with soil for protection]. Plant out into garden on a trellis or other support after all frosts and freezing weather has passed in spring.20160522_171117

Chokos grow on a rampant vine. Our’s covers the back fence and a tree. It will die back as cold winter weather and frosts arrive.

The roots remain in the ground to re-sprout next spring. Covering the roots with mulch for protection in winter helps this short-lived perennial plant last longer.

We replant a new one each year or so.

Here’s a post about the wonderfulness of chokos I wrote some time ago – it seems a good time to re-visit it now we have heaps of chokos available! Enjoy now as the season is quite short – a few months at most. Find the info here.

 

Recipes for delightful chokos: see post here

There are so many ways chokos can be used! Some of our favorite recipes for delightful chokos are found here

Wonderful additions to stews, casseroles, curries, soups, pickles.

Or just enjoy the tiny new ones steamed – sweet – a real treat in such a short season, and unavailable in most shops so grow your own treats.

Enjoy!

Harvest Time – love, love, love it!

Harvest Time – love, love, love it!

Nature is so generous when there is space, water and nutrients available to plants. I find the joyous abundance of plums, cherry tomatoes, beans, silver-beet and zucchinis remind me of what a wonderful world this can be. There is enough for us and for birds and beasties too.

Here’s a quick overview from ‘top-of-mind’

 

Cherry tomatoes have grown wonderfully and are continuing to produce great crops.

So nice for salads! Not so good for preserving so we will wait for the larger main crop tomatoes to ripen for making sauces, pastes, spicy chutney etc

cherry tomatoes harvest!
cherry tomatoes harvest!

The bird netting went over the bed when the birds found the little fruits and decided they were tasty. We have a good crop underneath the net. Wonderful stuff bird netting – pulled tight and tied it down so birds don’t get caught in it. We appreciate their efforts in pest reduction so this gives the best of both worlds.

 

Cucumbers are giving us enough for salads and some extra for pickling.

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Zucchinis [courgettes] are a favorite staple now – picked very small – so sweet and tasty they can even be eaten raw.

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Zucchini plant growing strongly

I prefer them lightly sauteed in spices in the wok with whatever veg the garden gives now. In a few months their prolific abundance will be – meh – and other veg will take priority instead. For a little while, zucchinis are great.

 

Beans

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Dwarf beans have a short season [purple tee pee and yellow butter beans are favorites] and are feeding us well. They go well in our stir-fried veg. The pretty purple-colored beans turn green when cooked, and the yellow butter-beans add a lightness.

Climbing beans.  We planted climbing beans at the same time as the dwarf beans. They take longer to grow and begin to flower so as the dwarf beans are finishing, the climbers are starting to produce now.

‘Emu’ beans are our favorite climber – string-less, tasty, easy to pick, and prolific over a l-o-n-g season. Even when older beans are drying on the vine, they still make more flowers and new beans – great!

 

Plums are dripping off the trees.

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I find stewing a saucepan-full each day or so works best for me as a pleasant way of saving their wonderful-ness  to be enjoyed in winter. The hot stewed fruit goes into [hot, sterilized] jars and is sealed for future use. When heaps ripen at once and there is a big glut, I find our 2 big stock-pots and preserve lots at once – MUCH more effort needed.

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Nectarines – yellow ones are ripening and need daily checking as they get brown rot quickly. Pick, wash and eat fresh soon or preserve for winter use.

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The tree is a dwarf form – was here when we moved in. I think it is a very old tree and it has perked up with food and water. It’s ‘thank you’ has been a good crop of large, juicy nectarines.

These are a challenge for us in Auckland – brown rot takes over so fast in warm, humid weather. Often we find the bottom of the nectarine is ripe while the top near the stem is still very green, and by the time the top is ripe the bottom has rot. Hmm. So we are experimenting – pick when the bottom is luscious to eat raw and stew the unripe top part for winter stewed, bottled fruit.

Auckland is at the extreme of the productive zone for nectarines so we are glad to get any fruit. Some years when the weather is hot, dry and not humid we might get a great crop.

Silver-beet is still producing wonderfully well.

 

Strawberries have about finished, and the birds have been very focused on finding the few remaining.

Blackberries are changing color and we hope this thorn-less variety is tasty – third time lucky?

Spring is here – come take a walk around the garden with us!

Spring is here – come take a walk around the garden with us!

We took a walk around our garden and it shows Spring is springing! Woo hoo!

South Auckland, New Zealand can be a delight in Spring. Come on a wander around and see what we found.

From tiny little flowers.

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Forget-me-nots blue flowers arrive now its Spring
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Calendulas sunny blooms and Forget-me-nots blue flowers spreading over the perennial onions [long strappy leaves on the right]

And one of the garlic patches.

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Garlic growing well with mizuna, parsley, an orange tree and silver-beet

Oranges nearly all harvested – this dwarf tree had been loaded and has fed us for ages. Nearly time to grow leaves and then blossoms again instead of putting its energy into fruit.

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The garlic patch by a dwarf orange tree co-exist well as long as we harvest the garlic gently and minimize disturbance of the surface-roots of the tree.

 

And leafy greens are powering now – so good to have fresh, vibrant, sweet greens. These have been hiding beside the trampoline, protected from the worst of the freezing winds.

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Varieties: Bright Light Beets and Fordhook Giant

 

Endive self-seeded under another orange tree and is beautiful just now – almost sweet, and such soft leaves. Later, in warm weather it goes bitter and leaves get tough.

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And even a chili from last year!

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Hard to believe a chili plant survived the freezing cold southerly winds that blow in off the harbor! Yet here it is to amaze us. Maybe the orange tree protected it?

Let’s hope the frosts stay away

 

And the nectarine has 3 blossoms with more buds forming

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The first nectarine blossoms!

 

Wow – can’t plum trees make so many blossoms! The branches seem to be covered in flowers.

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And the plum tree is covered in blossom! All these trees are kept low, yet even so it has masses of blossoms.

 

And the apricot tree is starting to blossom!

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First apricot blossoms

The apricot tree is also just getting its first new blossoms. Here in Auckland with its warm, humid summers, it’s very optimistic to get fruit from a tree which likes hot, dry summers. This one is planted where it gets and see breeze off the harbor waters to minimize the humidity. Sometimes it works and we get great fruit!

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‘Espaliered’ apricot tree

We’ll take another walk around soon – there is so much beginning to grow again. See you soon

 Love love love Spring!