23 December 2022

A little note from us to finish off the year…


Finally a dry day and with only a few clouds and light wind. Perfect weather to tackle my forest of tomatoes.  They have grown well with all the rain but have put on too much growth at the expense of the fruit.  I’ve taken about 60% of the growth off and removed all the lower leaves to create more air movement.

The Scoresby Dwarf tomatoes are a mass of growth but no need to touch them till it’s time to pick. This is why they’re my favourite tomato. I’ve given them all a side dressing of good potassium fertiliser to help with fruit set and growth.

The basil has also gone crazy.  Picking out the tops helps to prevent it going to seed. With this unseasonal climate, I have made more early basil pesto than ever before.

The cucumbers and zucchini have also grown like crazy. I really recommend a cucumber called Mini Me which produces tons of small Lebanese-type cucumbers. I pick over a dozen a day from 3 plants. It’s also really resistant to powdery mildew. I have now planted a second lot and will sow seeds for a new lot early next year.

The beans have struggled with the winds we’ve been having but are now producing well. I sow new seeds every month for a continuous supply.

My bananas are sizing up well and I need to find a blue bag to put over the fruit to help ripen them.

The figs are also sizing up well. They’re a fruit that needs moisture during the season.

Hopefully I’m on top of my guava moth problem. I’ve applied neem to the soil, sprayed with BT and now have a cool machine that catches the moth. It attracts them with a blue light and a guava moth lure. Every morning I empty the moths out and dispose of them. 

Finally, don’t forget the flowers. So important for the health of your garden and they look great. 


Our tomatoes are showing signs of blight, so I’m delateralling the infected leaves and painting on Flowers of Sulphur.  This morning I gave them all a dousing of the comfrey liquid which I’d been brewing.  Probably tomorrow I’ll apply some liquid sulphur to the plants to try and keep ahead of the blight. Our garden just seems to be prone to fungal disease, even though it’s situated in full sun and wind..

Our strawberries have depleted themselves somewhat as they’ve been providing us with a bowl of fruit most days.  So I’ve given them a side dressing of our Morganics fertiliser and some Dave’s Humate to give them a boost.

Our garlic was a fail again, even after all that work.  The only way I can process it is by deciding I won’t plant a whole bed next year, rather I’ll plant a trial patch.  Rob and I will work out a schedule which I’ll stick to like a scientist!  So after clearing that bed, I applied a generous amount of neem granules which is a soil conditioner, lots of compost and fertilisers and planted up some lettuces and bok choy, it being the New Moon phase.  Don’t forget to set yeast traps for the ever-present slugs.

I ratted around in the potato bed this morning to see if I could feel any potatoes, so as not to have a shock on Christmas Day (if there was nothing to be found).  The Jersey Benne plants (in the foreground) look well and truly ready and I found one good-sized potato easily, so feel I can relax until the day.

Merry Christmas to you!  Enjoy this abundant season, keep safe, and we look forward to more adventures in the garden in 2023!

From Jan and Rob.

12 Responses

  1. Thank you both SO much for this wonderfully helpful info. I love receiving your emails, they are so clear and informative. I wish you all a very happy and restful festive season. Looking forward to continuing the gardening with you next year. By the way, thanks to your coddling moth recipe and advise to get the traps in place before flowering, we have success! I’m delighted. All the best to you Jan and Rob and team, cheers, Kate

    1. Fantastic, thanks Kate 😊 So pleased the codling moth trap worked – it’s such a disappointment when fruit is infested. Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

  2. Thanks for all your helpful suggestions throughout the year. Seasons greeting and every blessing for the new year.
    Kind regards
    Elizabeth Chesney, Christchurch

  3. Happy holidays. Always a pleasure to read your posts. I grow elephant garlic now. I know its not the same howver no rust and large cloves.

  4. I remember my Mum putting a blue bag over out bananas when I was a child. We live in Auckland. But I haven’t seem any blue bags recently. A friend of mine just cuts the bunch and hangs them up in the porch. Is it better to leave them on the tree to ripen.? Have a good Xmas. Mum is now 90yrs old.

    1. Yes, Rob says blue bags are almost impossible to find, so he’s bought a thin cheap blue tarpaulin from The Warehouse and cut that up to tie round the bunches. He says they taste best if you leave them on the tree. If you want to bring them into a porch, do wait until they start to ripen. Hope your Mum is still giving you good gardening advice 😊

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