Friday, 26 August 2011

Covered beds

We haven't covered any of the raised beds before, but I decided this year to cover a couple of them and see if it make a difference to what we are able to grow, particularly capsicums. The price of capsicums over winter is crazy so I want to grow lots of my own this summer and then slice and freeze them, but we haven't had much luck with them turning red while growing out in the open. I hope the greenhouse effect will help with that, as the green ones aren't as sweet.

Monday, 22 August 2011

A late potato harvest

Today is the six-month anniversary of the February earthquake. It's hard to believe we are still having significant aftershocks and the city centre is still behind a cordon while most of it is demolished or repaired. But nature doesn't care much and things will still grow where they can.
The weather has warmed up considerably since last week's snow, and it's hard to believe we had a blizzard less than a week ago. This afternoon I was off work and spent time digging potatoes from one of our raised beds, and it was so hot that I was just in jeans and a t-shirt!
The potatoes are very small apart from four or five half-decent sized ones. The plants didn't thrive last year so I'm surprised we harvested anything at all, but this recycling bin is about one-third full.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Feeling the urge to garden again

The earthquake was nearly six months ago, my mojo has returned, and our garden needs some attention again if we are going to have any harvest this year. But I am going to have to wait a little while longer before I start doing any serious work out there, as you can see in the photo!

The weather has been very mixed recently. We got a heavy dumping of snow in July right down to sea level, which is almost unheard of in this part of the world, and then got an even bigger snowstorm in the middle of August!

Here is our snow-covered vegetable garden, including my poor sad little lemon tree hiding in its portable greenhouse.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

I'm still here, but so are the earthquakes

You may be thinking that I have abandoned this blog, but the sorry truth is that our garden itself has been abandoned. There has been too much going on in the rest of our lives with the repeated hammering that our poor city of Christchurch has been getting from these earthquakes. Nothing is normal in our lives right now - we have no office (although we do still have work), no shops, no cafes or bars or restaurants to go to in the city centre. The heart has been ripped out of Christchurch, and my desire to take part in activities like gardening has gone with it for the time being.
Our garden is still there but it is mostly empty beds right now. I don't plan on doing much with it until Spring rolls around again in a few months, by which time I hope things have settled down. We're still getting aftershocks every few hours at the moment following quakes of 5.7 and 6.3 on June 13th, and until those aren't such a major part of my life I'm not going to beat myself up over not doing enough around the house and garden.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Strawberry time!

I just gathered the first strawberries of the season from our one-metre-square strawberry patch. Hope it's the first bowl of many!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Giving up on growing from seed

Almost none of the dozens of seeds I planted a few weeks ago have germinated. Our conservatory is just too hot on the hot days, and I think they baked rather than thriving, but if we put them outdoors the birds get them. So I officially give up on growing from seed, for this year anyway.

Pride put aside, I went down to the garden centre today and spent $30 on:
  • nine green beans (bush, not climbing)
  • six Early Girl tomatoes
  • more red onions, white onions, and spring onions than I can count
  • six Drunken Woman lettuce
  • six Tom Thumb lettuce
  • six dill
  • six celery

I think I got my money's worth anyway! Let's hope they all grow and thrive in our garden.
Six tiny Early Girl tomato plants

There are reasons for my selection of green beans (which I dislike) and dill (a herb I've never knowingly used). The beans are to go in the bed between the potatoes and the cucumbers -- apparently those two plants do not like each other, but they both like beans, so I'm hoping the beans will act as a buffer zone. And the dill is also a companion plant to encourage our sweetcorn to thrive. I'm also planting climbing beans in among the sweetcorn plants, to take advantage of the natural climbing frame provided by the cornstalks, and to add nitrogen to the soil.
Green beans planted between the cucumbers and the potatoes

The onions are also companion plants, but at least I know I'll eat those! Onions benefit strawberries and make them taste more strawberry-y. Our strawberries last year were absolutely delicious, so I think onions are definitely good for them. Let's hope the trend continues.
Strawberries and tiny onions

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Ho hum

The garden is ticking over. There definitely isn't the same level of activity as last year -- part of this is because we are doing other things, but it's mostly because the whole thing is already set up for us. The hard work of clearing the ground, then building and filling the beds, has all been done. All we have to do this year is add some compost and dig things over with a hand trowel. Square Foot Gardening is a great timesaver!

I've got some tomato seedlings on the go, but I've restrained myself this year and am only planting a few varieties:
  • Aunt Ruby's German Green
  • Sungold
  • Moneymaker
  • Black from Tula
  • and one random bargain-rack Dad's Delight (I think it's called) from the Warehouse
I'm most excited about those and the cucumbers which are also sprouting nicely. The cukes can go outside in another week or so, and the tomatoes a couple of weeks after that.

We still haven't decided what to do with the far corner of the veggie garden. I want to make it into a bee-attracting flower patch, but I'm very unlucky when it comes to growing flowers and haven't managed to produce anything that will stay alive. Right now it contains a huge thistle, which isn't much good to anybody, some self-seeded potatoes, and a brick.