2 February 2021

Peak summer…

Tomatoes ripening.

Beans and cucumbers producing.

Zucchini too but it’s full of powdery mildew. I’ve doused it in baking soda and water, but this is best done as a preventative – the new pup is in though to take over. Don’t forget the Zucchini Pickles recipe – delicious!

Sweetcorn plumping up.

Capsicums becoming sturdy and flowers appearing.

Eggplants still getting going as I was very late getting them underway.

Main crop potatoes are growing well – let’s hope that’s below the surface as well as on top.

Asparagus is struggling to keep on – it was very late and warm when they went in, but Rob says I really only need 6 plants in this size of patch, so we can cope with a few casualities.

Leafy greens are once again the ones which have had the least amount of attention but this lot is coming away now. And the next batch will be ready to be pricked out soon.

Now’s a good time to get leek seedlings in so they can mature during winter. I have planted some, but they arrived by courier a bit worse for wear, so let me get them going before I reveal them!

Remember to create a trough to plant them in and use your dibber. As they grow you’ll hill them up and that creates nice long white stems.

And Luisa had her first trim today when Rob dropped by. Looking sharp!

Enjoy the goodness of sun-ripened summer fruiting vegetables!

From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG!

12 Responses

  1. Luisa is that a plum tree? How do I trim as never attempted. Planted 2 yrs ago,all of the few plums last year were only small when dropped off! This year the few fell except two, onei wish I’d removed a few days b ago as a bird pecked at it. I cut well away from the peck and sampled the juiciest sweetest ever. A fiends elderly farmer father north of Whangarei has several varieties and after my query he suggested Luisa. HOW DO I TRIM HER FIRST TIME EVER AND HOW DO I GET A BETTER AMOUNT NEXT YEAR PLEASE

    1. Hi Aroha

      It’s not a bad thing that the few plums did fall off, as it’s best for the tree to be putting its energy into establishing good roots rather than fruit. It could also be because the tree was a bit dry, but having said that, it’s good for trees to look for their own water source rather than relying on us to water them.

      Regarding how to prune a new tree… your aim is to choose 4 good strong main branches that are heading out in a vase shape. We actually kept a fifth slightly weaker branch for fruit for next season, but after it’s fruited we’ll cut it off. Trim off any small branches growing inward. Trim around 15cms off the ends of all branches to encourage them to set fruit next season. Try and make the branches of the tree all one height.

      For more info on pruning, have a look at the second story on this video… https://organicediblegarden.co.nz/2017/03/17-march-2017/

      All the best 🙂

  2. Hello…love reading your blog and receiving your emails. I’m in Mount Gambier South Australia. Mostly cool conditions with the odd frost and summer heatwave. I’m becoming more involved with my gardening as I get older. I have bindweed and another nasty creeper in my block so now I work in big black tubs and have been much more successful.

    Would you mind telling me what I’m seeing for mulch in these photos? I’m using sugar cane mulch at the moment, which is lovely but I’m interested in what else is out there.


    1. Hi Elizabeth

      Lovely to hear from you and pleased to hear you’re enjoying growing food, and that you’ve solved the problem of weeds that could potentially have held you back.

      We use oat or barley straw as our mulch that we get in bales from a horse supplies place. Other alternatives are coconut matting, your own homemade hot compost, seaweed from the beach.

      I mentioned your sugar cane mulch to Rob and he’s seen it in Australia and says it’s magic. He would use it if we grew sugar cane in NZ!

    1. Sure Louise. We would prune peaches the same as plums – in a vase shape. Our experience is that they fruit best this method and are easy to pick. Have a read of the answer to Aroha’s question above and check out the video. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to ask 🙂

  3. Hi thanks re plum pruning. Shall work on it soon.
    I was also interested in the mulch you have used. Being in Onehunga, Auckland it has been a dry year. I got old sacking from our great local Weta Coffee place and used that. Certainly good for suppressing the weeds. I used hay one year and the birds loved it and used for nesting in our roof cavities and being a 2 level house we were not impressed. A friend used pea straw this year and I am wondering about the pros and cons of different hays.

    1. Hi Aroha Old coffee sacking is a great mulch and will break down eventually. We use oat straw and barley straw (that’s what you can see in the pics) – sourced from a horse supplies place. But we can understand what you mean about birds using it for nesting because they can pick it up easily. Pea straw is better in this regard – birds can’t transport is so easily. We don’t use pea straw because peas are a very heavily sprayed crop, so it’s not great for an organic garden. Lucerne chaff is a lovely mulch and also available from a horse supplies place – the birds can’t pick it up – but it is more expensive. Your soil will be volcanic and dry out quickly, so we would recommend building it up with compost to help retain moisture. Hope that helps 🙂

  4. Hi really enjoy learning from your posts and videos – fabulous wealth of information for a new gardener like me. I’ve recently moved and inherited large plum and nectarine trees. The nectarine tree had a huge yield, sped up by thunderstorms and last pick was probably mid-January. Is it too late to prune all the new shoots which have got quite long? I’ve got a Luisa tree just about finished which also had a lot of fruit – I’m pretty much going to take off new shoots as also a well established large tree. Appreciate your advice on nectarine tree.

    1. Hi Melissa No, not too late. A good time really. Remember nectarines and plums fruit on last season’s new growth (that’s this season’s new growth), so only prune inward-growing branches and water shoots. Water shoots are the strong straight thin branches that often grow inwards. You’re aiming for a vase shaped tree with an open interior and all the branches pretty much the same height.

      1. Oh dear, I thought taking the new shoots off was what you did as all the plums seem to grow on the trunk on the first tree I tried (dark maroon plums) and an old tree. Okay so for the nectarine tree which is really big – nearly one and a half to two ladders high – if I cut new growth then that means no more nectarines? Just the nectarines are getting out of reach if I don’t chop the new growth? First timer here and worried I will wreck the fabulous crop we got this year . . . thanks for your help.

        1. Hi Melissa Firstly apologies – I am wrong about plums fruiting on last season’s new growth – they will fruit on old growth so you’re right 🙂 It is nectarines, peaches and almonds that fruit on last season’s new growth. Rob recommends you prune back 1/3 of your nectarine tree to the height you want it and you won’t get any fruit on this part of the tree. But you will get fruit on the other 2/3 of the tree. Next year, you prune back another 1/3 to the height you want, and the same the next year. After 3 years, you’ll have the tree a good size and fruiting beautifully! All the best 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *