6 December 2019

Summer has arrived – but only in the North Island it seems! Some of those images of snow and rain in the South Island during the week had me wondering if we were in the same country?!

This week is the First Quarter moon phase, so our focus is on our fruiting plants. I figured it was time for some more of the stinky brew on the tomatoes. The potatoes got the tail end of it.

I spared the beans and sweetcorn, but dowsed them in worm tea instead – one step up in refinement! I know that looks like strong tea rather than the weak tea that it should, but there was a bit of soil in it!

Tomatoes are forming on ‘Moneymaker’ so I did go and get some more netting for the tomato bed, but I think I’ll hold off for a couple of weeks until the Last Quarter or until the fruit colours up. It’s easier to manage the plants without the netting and they still need tying up and having small laterals nipped out.

The birds now have their own patch anyway. Gavin installed the birdbath for them and the beneficial insects, and the borage in the insectary is blooming.

I planted out some zinnias I’d grown from seed near the borage and had a third attempt at phacelia (I just like the softness of it). I might be starting to have an insight into why Rob doesn’t sell it though. This time, like last, I’ve direct sown it into the bed, but I have taken the hoops and netting off the sweetcorn bed (because they’re big enough now) and re-located it to the insectary. Now nothing can disturb the soil. Fingers crossed!


The sweetcorn are developing side shoots which reduce the energy going into the main stalks, so those need to be removed gently. They come off easily.

This bed gets a weed, a water, and barley straw is laid around the plants. We then water the straw in to stop it flying away. The pumpkin is starting to trail as is the watermelon.


This week a neighbour gave me some okra seedlings she’d grown, so I’ll trial them in the berry-bed-to-be. Okra is a solanum (actually it’s a mallow – thanks to John’s comment below – but it’s best planted like a solanum) so needs gypsum to prevent blossom end rot, along with some chicken manure and rock dust. Everything is watered in well. I haven’t cooked with okra before, but let’s see how I grow okra first!

And lastly, this is my first Cos lettuce out of the garden tonight. We only ate the outside leaves but I thought they tasted a bit bitter, probably because they should have been grown more quickly with a bit more water. The inner leaves might be nicer. All good learning though!

Enjoy the warmth if you’ve got some!

From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG!

15 Responses

  1. Your garden is looking great! It’s really nice to read your posts and watch the progress. My garden is aided by your insights xxxx see you this week .

  2. Your Zinnias look so much better than the ones I have tried fro seed.Other years have had no problem and the Phacelia also has not grown well have cast seeds in various place as I love it for the bees but then I tried in punnets and got 2 small plants appeared have now planted out and hope they will pick up, not sure whats happening new seed packets as well and into good seed raising mix.Your garden looks wonderful looks like a productive summer for you have a safe happy festive season.

    1. Thank you Beryl. I wonder if it’s the warmth and subsequent dryness that’s making germination a bit difficult this year. If you thoroughly water the soil you’re sowing in first, I have been finding that helps. We wish you a fabulous festive season too! 🙂

  3. Hi first time on your site and it’s awesome…….. What water worm liquid ratio do you use to mix the liquid from your worm farm for on your vege foliage and soil?

    1. Hi Brenda Stinky brew recipe: Fill a container with as much comfrey as you can gather; add cleaver and puha if you have them in your garden; also any weeds from the garden that do not include solanum weeds like deadly nightshade and shoofly. Cover with water, cover the container loosely and leave for 2 weeks. Stir well with a stick before diluting to the colour of weak tea and applying to the leaves as well as the soil 🙂

  4. Hi Jan, Okra is in the Mallow family – Malvaceae. Same family as Hibiscus, and NZ native Lacebark. (i.e. not solanaceae)

    1. Hi John Thanks for the correction. You are absolutely right. Okra has the beautiful hibiscus-like flower. The planting method is the same as for solanum 🙂

  5. my first round of sweetcorns seeds from Yates didn’t germinate. today i put in another round of McGregor’s and a Yates’ in a new patch. lets see if any germinates.

    1. Hi Janet Having your seeds in the fridge for a couple of weeks before sowing helps with germination. Make sure your seeds are not too deep in the soil. And keep the soil they’re in moist. How did you get on with the tomatoes? Fingers crossed for your sweetcorn 🙂

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