Friday, December 9, 2011

Update on the garden:weeds growing faster than plants

My neighbors runner beans are in flower while my second planting only 3 or 4 inches high

The Red Zone rhubarb is doing well: happy to be out of the liquifaction in a munted Christchurch section

I ate raw broad beans and peas while weeding, and bought this silverbeet and puha ( sow-thistle) home for tea

Thursday, November 10, 2011

No-dig gardens and strawberries

  • Well I have just had my first strawberry of the season from my garden - my balcony one not the allotment. It was not as tasty as the ones I grew in Christchurch but maybe they will improve with the sun! And, if I curb my impatience and wait until they're fully ripe that would help too! Did you know strawberries don't ripen any further after they have been picked?
  • I am on the mailing list for the Yates garden newsletter  and this one has a link to the 'no-dig video'. My garden is not 'no dig' but it will be 'low-dig' as I plan on covering it with mulch such as straw or pea vines to keep the weeds down and the moisture in.

Chilli, courgettes, cucumber and more runner beans in the nursery of my balcony!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

More organic veg

More organic veg are on my table tonight. Picked a second crop of radish this afternoon (I can't believe how many people don't like these hot little numbers!) and a lovely bunch of silver beet - not sure how I will use it tonight.

I noticed my broad beans have flowers ready to open over the next few days, but I also saw some rust on the lower leaves :(  not good!

The weather in Wellington was superb today and has made me realise I need to take a bottle of water with me each time I go up there - I took a book to read and it was great to sit there and have tui singing in the background.

Tasks achieved this afternoon, weeding, and planting two capsicums plants, and two hot chilli plants I'd grown on my balcony: there are still four plants in pots on the balcony so it will be intersting to see how each perform.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Planted and emerging into the spring sunshine (and rain)

Already planted and emerging from the soil into the spring sunshine are:
Broad beans
broad beans - planted very late in the season
Red onions
Spring onion
Mixed lettuce
Bok Choy
Silver beet
Planted but not up yet are:
Runner beans
Pumpkin (to be re-planted in some waste / weedy area)
And, at home - on my 3rd floor balcony - I have chilli peppers growing, two of which will be taken up to the allotment in a week or two.
 Red Zone rhubarb from Christchurch
On my still-to-plant-list are:
Jerusalem artichoke

It will be interesting to see how these plants grow in Wellington ...  much wetter and windier conditions than I’ve gardened in before – although I did have gardens in Tokoroa and Mangapehi many years ago and was always pretty successful despite the conditions there – my garden was always a good month behind my fathers in Christchurch.  People often assume it gets warmer and warmer as you go north in New Zealand, not so. So much depends on how close to the coast and how high above sea-level.

Wellington has the same annual average temperature as Christchurch – however, the summers are cooler and winters are warmer in Wellington.

 I will miss the clear blue skies and high temperatures of Christchurch (and even the hot dry nor’wester) but I won’t miss the ‘beasterly easterly’ and the sunny, crisp and clear days that followed a frost.
I enjoy the warmer winters already: the difference between night and day temperatures is not as pronounced in Wellington and I have rarely had to have a heater on this winter!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Nature is unpredictable

Funny how nature proves again and again you cannot trust small children and animals to do what you want – on command - today was no exception.
I walked up to my garden, via a section of Wellington’s city to sea walkway, through Central Park  (see this photo of United States troops camped  there during WW2) and this time had my regular camera with me … I didn’t want to see a rosella or kaka and not be able to get a photo - again.

Neither birds showed up in the 30 mins I was there but on leaving, I saw a kingfisher (kotare) on the power line: I stop, get my camera out, the bird moves into a tree.  I turn my Cannon on - you would think it sounds like its name as my target flies off – adding yet another bird seen but not captured on film. (Going to the International Birding Conference in Gujarat India  has started me on the slippery slope of becoming a birder perhaps!)

Kaka ( at Zealandia)
My daughter saw a kereru (native wood pigeon) while on her only, so far, visit to the allotments but I haven’t seen one. It’s great the Wellington hills have so much native bush as it encourages the bird life … and of course Zealandia ( Karori Wildlife Sanctuary) is a fabulous nursery for them too. I suspect that's where the kaka I saw came from: see more about their kaka breeding  and banding here

Kereru in Botanic Gardens, Christchurch

I have just received a fabulous photographic guide (Birds of NZ – Collins Traveller’s Guide) which I know will be useful for me. It’s authored by Julian Fitter and Don Merton (who was, and still is, one of NZ’s nature heroes, and who died before the book was published in 2011).

However, as this is a blog about my garden, it’s time I made a list of what’s growing in my plot in my next blog.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Progress photos from the garden

Thanks to Brian and Renee for the digging
Springtime - everyone is starting to prepare for planting     

the beginnings

what a view!

Thats a kaka on the right! I must take my bigger camera to the garden

three neighbors from my apartment block are neighbors up here too

one of the Asian gardeners is very neat and tidy in his plot