Winter is here

I’m not usually gardening this late into winter. I’ve normally retreated to indoors and apart from random forays to weed or mow on a good day, I leave the veg patch to itself. This year I want to try growing all year. I cleaned the windows of the glass house and all is ready to maximise the sun, as winter seed raising began a few weeks ago. The tiny cherry tomatoes Annie started in there in spring are tracking around the glass house ceiling and will hopefully continue to give us sweet 100s for a bit longer.

Window cleaning in progress…

It seems the strawberries have finally finished, tho there’s a few flowers still flourishing in that bed, it’s all but over. Time to cut the ties from the mother plant and lift out the old ones to make room for the new growth. Coriander has self seeded into a lovely bed under the crab apple tree. I love how happy it is in there just minding its own business and self seeding happily away so I have had almost a year continually.

I have beetroot planted out, cabbage and silverbeet ready to plant out any day and have just started cauli, broccoli, bok choi and parsley. God knows how I lost my parsley? I did also get a bed ready for a plot of garlic. I have weeded. Moved the seedling borage plants to a new bed with the lavendar. It sits beside the comfrey that I will never, ever get rid of I now realise, and this has now become my bee attracting bed. This garlic plot has been fed with buckets of compost and some blood and bone ready for the garlic to go in in a couple of weeks. It’s interesting that this is a bed I regularly feed with compost as I plant each year but just up to the persimmon tree. You can see here where I have weeded. Weeds slipped out like butter and the ground is rich and dark and friable, until I get to the point where I usually stop adding compost. At this point it changes to a sludgy, stodgy mess that isn’t draining well and weeds seem to be holding on. Hmmm….

Garlic bed, rich dark and friable before adding compost!

The persimmons have just ripened and as soon as I heard the Tui up there, singing out to his mates no doubt, I stood up and we eyed each other for a bit. I went and grabbed some netting and attempted to cover at least some of them, only to come out the next morning and find the netting in a tangled mess on the underside of the tree as if ready to catch the falling leaves, while the birds feasted on the bright orange globes beckoning them in from above. I picked all that I could reach, leaving plenty for the birds, and was delighted to see them selling for $5 a kilo at my next supermarket shop!

Netting all askew after winter winds…

I love crops like garlic that you pretty much set up and forget like the yaccon whose pretty miniature golden sunflower like tops are just opening meaning we will soon be harvesting and delighting in another something different. A couple of different kinds of spuds have been lovingly wrapped in comfrey leaves and they are now climbing the tyre towers. I’m hoping to lift those in spring and am going to aim for a continual crop turning over in the tyres.

Yaccons almost ready for lifting…

The chokos are going strong still and hardly a day goes by that we don’t eat these. I’ve popped two in buckets so I have hopefully one to plant next spring and having just moved the hens into that pen, where they hang until the vine can no longer take the weight, I notice the hens are feasting on the fallen. I’m hoping to try a curry stir fry and a pickle before they finish.

As we approach the winter Solstice, its hard to believe that just over a year ago we ventured across the skies, rather nervous and excited. That we are almost half way through the year already. That at work we are on a count down to Spring and Xmas, which are our busiest times of year and much to do to prepare for that, and that our tenth moko is due. When I get the call I will dash to Christchurch and hopefully make it on time. Bag is almost packed and ready. Bit more of a challenge to stay under 7 kilos when packing for winter weather!

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