November 2020 NH newsletter


Our main focus for this blog post is getting the first of our brassicas in and I couldn’t have dialled up a more perfect day than yesterday to plant out ours. Sunny and 23 degrees!

They’re going in the bed where the tomatoes were during the summer. The soil has been resting for a couple of weeks now. When I took the tomatoes out, I added compost and chicken manure and the worms have been busy working their magic.


Firstly I’m adding compost from our worm farm and some bought vermicast too.


In the planting holes I add neem granules. This is to ward off the white butterfly and fortunately I haven’t seen many of those this autumn at all. Neem is a great soil conditioner anyway.


After planting I add a ring of our well-balanced fertiliser, full of minerals and vitamins, round each plant to ensure the vegetables are nutrient-dense.


Then comes the line of defence against slugs and snails. A ring of coffee grounds goes round each plant. They find it a bit of challenge to climb over.


Then I make up yeast traps – 1 teaspoon of dried yeast and 1 teaspoon of white sugar in 1 cup of warm water, leave for about 5 minutes till the mixture foams, then pour into containers positioned in the soil at ground height. These 3 containers took 2 cups of mixture.


Then netting. This bed has a big investment of food in it – 2 heading broccoli, 2 sprouting broccoli, 3 green cabbages, 2 red cabbages and 3 cauliflower (the 3 broccoflower are still in the seed tray – they weren’t big enough to plant out) – and it’ll feed us for a while, so I’m even thinking I’ll take our torch out at night too to check on the snail and slug population.


Also planted today are 6 spinach seedlings.


Our cavolo nero kale planted a month ago is looking lovely.


The sugar snap peas loved that little period of rain we had a week ago and are looking healthy. I had put more climbing beans in too, but they just didn’t do, so out they came. I should have planted dwarf beans in autumn.


The onions and leeks are also pulling away. I kept the seed tray going and have had to replace the odd one here and there, but by and large they’ve done well.

I’ve ordered viola seed to grow in the onions and leeks beds to keep the weeds at bay, provide food for the beneficial insects and look pretty.


The carrots I sowed a couple of weeks ago are germinating nicely. Interestingly the ones in the shadow of the eggplant did the best. To that end I might try the wet towel trick again with the next lot of carrot sowing.


Our guava tree has produced an abundance of fruit again. We had to cut some branches off as they got too heavy with fruit and snapped. Picking guavas is hard and I might have ignored the fruit this year, but as it was easy to take the fruit off the cut branches, hubby filled bowls of them and I made guava puree. Place fruit in a pot and add a small amount of sugar and they cook down. Then you get an upper body workout as you push them through a sieve with a wooden spoon – takes ages. But oh my gosh, the taste is gorgeous! Nice that they follow blueberries, as I always grieve a bit at the end of blueberry season.


Speaking of delicious sweet treats, we’re having to eat up our pumpkins as they’re not keeping due to sunburn. So I made the Pumpkin Pie in Ripe’s Third Helping cookbook. We’ve all got so good at baking during lockdown haven’t we, and the great thing about this recipe is it only needs 2 tablespoons of that scarce commodity, flour. (FYI I only had 375g of cream cheese instead of 650g and 2 eggs instead of 3 and it worked perfectly well).


Next time I’m hoping we’ll be harvesting our potatoes and kumara!


(In case you were wondering where the marigolds from the old tomatoes bed ended up!)

Have a great week in the garden 🙂

From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG!