25 October 2019

Oh gosh that wind and rain! How difficult is it to garden in!


This week being the Last Quarter and the end of October, I’m planting our subtropical fruit trees.

Three citrus went in in a row – Lemon ‘Meyer’, Lemon ‘Yen Ben’ and Mandarin ‘Kawano’. All of them are on dwarf rootstock called Flying Dragon. For our size of property I’d rather the trees are smaller and have more variety.

Citrus needs excellent drainage, so all the trees are sitting up proud of the lawn.

Dig a deepish hole, fill with compost, carefully remove the tree from its bag or pot and sit on the mound of compost. Then backfill with a bit of compost and put all the soil from the hole and the turf back in as that has good nutrients in it. One of the holes was particularly clay-y, so I put a handful of gypsum in this one. After firming the tree down well in the soil with your foot, apply a ring of rock dust round it and water in well.
See Rob planting a citrus tree in this video (our very first one!!).

I also planted one Avocado ‘Hass’.

This too needs excellent drainage, so is planted similarly to the citrus and proud of the ground. The key with avocado is, when opening up the bag, to be incredibly careful not to disturb the tree’s roots as you sit it in the hole.

Then I put in a Grape ‘Niagara’ against one of our screens – planting it on the outside of the bed. Rob told me to give it no goodies whatsoever. Grapes like it hard.

And a tiny little Passionfruit, which needs all the love and care it can get. It got compost, nitrogen in the form of chicken manure as it needs to grow those gorgeous glossy leaves and some rock dust. Both got a good water.

Kumara slips

Also this week I’ve set up some kumara to sprout slips. Rob has grown taputini kumara in the past and they are a beautiful kumara, but I wanted to set my kumara up this week and he didn’t have any stored that I could use. Koanga Institute sell loads of kumara as slips, but they’re currently out of taputini, so I just went to Harvest Wholefoods and bought two organic kumara – the regular white-fleshed red-skinned one and Purple Dawn, which we tried for the first time recently – purple skin and flesh – delicious.

Make up a mixture of half potting mix and half sand. You’ll need a container with holes in the bottom (and ideally a saucer too) to grow the slips in. Fill it with two-thirds of the mix. Lay the kumara on this and cover with the remaining third of the mix. Water and put away in a warm light position.

They should be sprouting in a week’s time. When the sprouts or slips are around 100mm long, we’ll carefully pull them off the mother plant with their roots intact and that’s what we’ll plant. Potatoes are comparatively quick to grow, kumara take months. Kumara go in the ground much later than potatoes and they stay in the soil till autumn.

Hilling up potatoes

On the matter of the potatoes, I’ve done a second hilling up and I think that’s about as high as I can go.

You can see now how the original trenches are now the hills and the original hills are now the trenches. I’ll just use some straw round the plants when they do their next burst of growth.

Have a fabulous Labour Weekend. Enjoy being out in your garden!!

From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG!

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