14 January 2023

Hope you’ve had lovely Christmas and New Year celebrations and some time to rejuvenate in preparation for 2023.

Our focus in this post is potatoes.  I think due to the good rain we had in early summer, our potato harvest was and still is abundant.  These pics are of the Jersey Bennes which were almost too big, but nevertheless delicious on Christmas Day and beyond.

We are still enjoying the Rocket and Swift potatoes we planted.  Just be aware that if left too long in the ground, they can start to sprout which you don’t want.

And now we’re planting Agria and Heather to enjoy over the winter months.  These main crop potatoes take 130-140 days to maturity, so will be ready at the end of May/beginning of June.  As it looks like we’ll have plenty of rain, at least in the interim, the plants should get off to a good start.

Remember to plant in trenches to which we add Neem granules to ward off psyllids and as a soil conditioner and comfrey leaves full of potassium to help with a good size crop.

Our onions are harvested.  Not a great yield due to a huge amount of rain this winter.  I’ve hung them up on the cool south side of our house where I hung them the first year, but the eave didn’t keep them completely dry that year and they started rotting from the outside.  Last year I hung them in the garage, but it was too hot in there, and they started rotting from the inside out.  This year they are back outside in the cool spot under the eave but with a cover on them.  Fingers crossed I’ve got it right this time!

Our tomatoes have had late blight which you can tell from the damage to the fruit (unfortunately disposed of in the landfill bin, since I don’t want any trace of it in the garden recycling), but with careful removal of the affected leaves, application of Flowers of Sulphur to the wounds and two sprays so far of organic sulphur, I’ve got the fungal disease in check and we’re enjoying some lovely tomatoes.

Our zucchini and cucumber need replacing and I’m a bit tardy getting new plants in.  But that’ll happen in the next week and they should be producing in the next few weeks to see the summer out.

Next week we’ll make some more hot compost to clear away summer debris.

And then it’ll be time to sow onion and leek seeds, so make sure your seeds haven’t expired and you’re ready to go.


From Jan and Rob

15 Responses

  1. Hi Jan & Rob, Thanks so much for all the time & effort you put into this blog. Now I’ve retired I’ve started a wee vege garden to be able to get a few veges, esp lettuce, that are fresh, not been sprayed & still have the life force in them! It’s just about killed me but it’s such fun. One interesting side event has been a granddaughter’s rabbit Lottie, 🐇 I am told, who having a mix of green food placed in front of her, always goes for & consumes what has come out of my garden before eating similar foods from the supermarket. Now isn’t that interesting! Even an animal knows something!
    Keep up the great work, you are such an inspiration & encouragement to me. When my enthusiasm is waning, your blogs egg me on!
    I Dig You Guys!
    City Slicker Gardener

  2. good to get a row of potatoes in now to last through winter. I like Red Fantasy, a bit like Desiree, good producer and large tubers. Once the tops are about to “go to sleep” I cut them off and mulch the row heavily. This will keep the psyllid bug away and the tubers will last in the ground nicely until you plant you earlies next season!

  3. Nice potatoes, I tried some Hua Karoro and Kowiniwini in grow bags, the yield was disappointing, but they were so delicious. It’s quite a trick with the succession sowing, its good to hear from seasoned gardeners what to plant and when to start sowing.

    1. Yes agree, with the ones we’ve planted in grow bags, the yield wasn’t great either but still worth it for the fun of it. Your varieties sound interesting 😊

  4. Hi Jan & Rob
    Like you I also have Blight on my Tomatoes,was only a few which I picked of and put in rubbish.The plant seems to be surviving well with no more signs of the browning and fruit is ripening.It is in a very large pot,what do you do about the soil that the plant is growing in,do you spread it on the garden in another area or sterilise it,spray it ??. Love the Blog always find it very helpful thanks for all the effort you both put into it.

    1. Hi Beryl Blight only affects the solanum family – tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums, chillis and eggplants – so if you have good soil in that pot you could grow leafy greens in there instead, rather than throwing it out. You could spread the soil out on the ornamental garden, but not on any part of your food garden. All the best 😊

  5. I was interested to see the way you use comfrey leaves when planting potatoes. I have one comfrey plant in a largish pot but this limits the amount of leaves I get. I’ve been hesitant to plant it out of a pot as I’ve heard it is quite invasive. How do you grow your comfrey?

    1. Hi Chris There’s one cultivar called Russian comfrey or Bocking 14 which doesn’t self seed and take over your garden. That’s one we grow. You do have to be careful to only grow this one.

  6. We have been struggling with contaminated compost that we purchased from a local supplier. It affected our tomatoes and beans mostly. We weren’t in the habit of buying compost, but we’d put up raised beds as opposed to gardens at ground level, as it’s easier for my old knees to work at a higher level. We needed compost to fill these beds, and as our compost wasn’t sufficient, and was full of weeds, we bought about three trailer loads. I don’t mind weeds so much, but oxalis really does my head in even though I try so hard not to put it into the compost.

    I’ve always been interested in making hot compost, and we tried a few things we found on the internet, but nothing comes close to your helpful and easy-to-follow video on YouTube. Thank you so much. In 24 hours our pile reached 60 degrees, and the next day (and subsequent days) it has been sitting on 70 degrees. It’s pretty exciting really. Not only to get it to that temperature, but to be able to use it in six weeks instead of nine months.

    Thanks again – and it’s quite refreshing listening to a Kiwi accent! (I’m in Ōtautahi Christchurch)

    1. Great to get your feedback Gen. Rob’s method certainly does work and as you say, it’s exciting to see science in action. The other great thing about making a hot compost, apart from much reduced time it takes, is that it doesn’t attract rats, like cold compost does. Thank you 😊

  7. Hi, thanks for all the great gardening tips. I’m having a problem with some very big green shield bugs. Do you know an organic way to get rid of them?
    Thanks 🙏🏻, Diane

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