Category Archives: Weekly Blog

14 February 2020

14 February 2020

Happy Valentine’s Day to our gardens which produce so abundantly!

Late season potatoes

This week being Full Moon I’ve managed to find some Agria seed potatoes at Newton’s Seeds (email or call them as they do have them and will do online sales even though they’re not on their website). The plan is to store these for use over winter.

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I only had time to do a couple of liquid seaweed baths before this moon phase, but I’m keen to get them in now so as to have them cropping before winter. I did ask Newton’s Seeds to send me ones that had heaps of chits already.

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So alongside the phacelia (which I finally have growing and flowering), in go 12 potatoes. Trenches dug as deep as I can manage to keep the hills stable. Chits go towards the top. Still a bit of comfrey around under my fruit trees to pop in – not much, but better than none. And some all-important Neem Tree granules to ward off a psyllid attack. Light layer of soil over the top, a water, and nets go up to stop the birds having dust baths.

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If you haven’t seen the video of Rob planting potatoes, here it is.

Flowers

Next job, even though it’s not exactly the right time of the month, is pulling out the borage, which has done so well for the bees, and replacing it with zinnias – I’m hoping for a bed of riotous summer colour! The zinnias that were in this bed, in amongst the borage, are tall and straggly, so I’m bumping up the nitrogen content with a layer of chicken manure to boost the green growth and will water them assiduously and hope to create what I have in my mind! Netting over the top too to protect them.

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Onions and leeks

I’m also sowing my onion and leek seeds. If you’re in a cooler climate, you could be planting yours now.

There are specific Day Long onions which are thin-skinned, sweeter and planted in spring, ready in mid- to late-summer with a short storage time. In New Zealand, though, most of our onions are Intermediate-day ones (neither Day Long nor Day Short) which are thick-skinned and can be grown during the summer or in warmer climates, in the winter and they can be stored. I’m sowing Intermediate-day onions called Italian Longkeeper and Californian Red. My leeks are Carentan Giant.

You’ll need a deeper container than a normal seed sowing tray as onions and leeks have long tap roots. Bore holes in the bottom of the container, then all the usual sowing instructions, and finish off with a cake rack and a damp tea towel to keep up the moisture content and assist germination. All the details are in this video with Rob.

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Cooking

This week I’ve made a very nice Tomato Sauce – took ages but tastes delicious.

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And our eggplants are coming on stream. I did have to buy a capsicum as ours are not quite ready, but the rest of this Ratatouille is from our garden. I cooked ours for 1 1/2 hours to make a real stew, but if you want it crispier and crunchier or don’t have the time, you can cook it for around 30 minutes.

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And I’m making Nadia Lim’s quick beetroot relish out of our first Detroit Dark Red beetroot for dinner tonight! We’ll mix some of the green tops which are still lovely and fresh in with our lettuce for added nutrients.

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Hope everyone in the North is coping with the dry. I’m thinking seriously about how to capture rain water for next summer’s garden.

Have a great week in the garden!

From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG

1 February 2020

1 February 2020

Wow, this heat is something else. Everything is growing like crazy, which means you really have to keep up with the watering. My garden is managing on hand watering every second day. And I have it well-mulched.

I’ve had enough ‘Roma’ tomatoes ripening to make my first lot of Tomato Relish – old school style. All the lids sucked down, so I can safely store it in the pantry. I’ll make sauce with the next lot.

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Loving the cherry tomatoes and the ‘Moneymakers’ are producing beautifully too.

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I saw a parasitic wasp on the tomatoes last week and also a dark blue ladybird on the sweetcorn, so feeling excited about creating a home for the good bugs in our garden.

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Our ‘Cocarde’ lettuces are doing amazingly and it’s a timely reminder that Iceberg lettuces just don’t do well in this heat. I reckon these two (top left) will go to seed as they’ve been in twice as long as the looseleaf ‘Cocarde’ and are half the size. Will pop them in the worm farm and focus on more looseleaf types.

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Have a read of our explanation of the different types of lettuces here.

There’s a hint of powdery mildew on the pumpkin, but nothing else, so I reckon the liquid seaweed applications have done a good job. Even though the pumpkin is nearing harvest, I’ll still put a mix of baking soda and water on the leaves to alkalise them and halt, if not get rid of, the powdery mildew. Other mixtures that do the same job are with milk and Flowers of Sulphur. The mixing solutions are:

Milk – 1 part milk to 10 parts water
Baking soda – one teaspoon baking soda to every litre of water
Flowers of Sulphur – lightly dust on leaves

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Second planting of zucchini, cucumber and sweetcorn

Our zucchini is finished – one or two last fruit on this plant, so it’s timely that the new plant is ready to be put in.

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The cucumber has been abundant and I’m putting a new one of these in too, even though the original plant is still producing (but has slowed down).

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Cucumbers and zucchini are simply ready to pick when they’re big enough. Sweetcorn, on the other hand, requires a bit of knowledge as to when the cobs are ready to eat. The silks turn brown, but it’s not until they’re looking a bit tatty, that the corn is ready for eating. So, just as I pick the first cob, I’m also putting 3 new plants in in between the original ones. Hope that works.

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Rob says have the pot of water boiling before you pick the cob otherwise the sugars turn to starch and the corn doesn’t taste so sweet. I reckon it only needs 3 minutes boiling. Note to self: shake the male flowers at the top to pollinate the female part (silks) on the cob better – you’ll notice a few missing bits on my cob – didn’t alter the great taste though!

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Happy gardening!

From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG