Happy Ramblings

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

A bumper crop of radishes

Dad came in this afternoon with a huge bunch of radishes that he picked from our veggie garden. This harvest is only a tenth of what is growing!

This type of radish is called German Giant. They are very big, crunchy and juicy. Lovely eaten with lots of butter.

It looks like we will be eating radishes for a long time, as well as having plenty to give away to friends and family.

The veggie garden is doing really well. We usually start planting it during the last week of October, after all the frosts have finished. But it was such a mild Spring that we decided to start the veggie patch a month early. We have been lucky with plenty of showers of rain followed by days of blue skies and sunshine. Just what the plants need.

This is what the veggie garden looks like today.

The cavalo nero is looking good. It is the first time that we have grown it and I have never cooked it before. I will have to go online and look for some recipes. There is plenty of time to search, as the cavalo nero won't be ready to harvest until after the first frost next year to sweeten it up!

The kohlrabi stems have just started to fatten up. Hopefully the rains will continue for a long time to save me from needing to water them.

To the right of the kohlrabi is silverbeet and to the left are lettuces and tomato plants :)

Lots of smiles.


Rose x

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Preparing the wildflower garden

Finally we managed to find another contractor, who could come quickly, to rotavate the land in preparation for my next wildflower bed. The original contractor ended up being very busy with big jobs and was finding it hard to fit our small 150 metres squared area into his schedule.

The area was rotavated on Monday, the soil was just the right wetness and has turned out well.

Dad has been helping me by raking over the soil to level it. He also worked on tidying up the edges and removing large clumps of grass. I wasn't able to do it myself as I am not very fit at the moment.

Tomorrow dad will be using our small rotavator to turn over and bury the grass clumps and to loosen where the tractor wheels had compacted the soil.

In the meantime I have been deciding on how to sow the wildflower seeds. I think I will mix all of the seed together, weigh it and then divide it into 10 lots. Then mix each lot of seed individually with 2 litres of gardeners sand. This will help to evenly distribute the seed. The idea is to sow 1 gram of seed per square metre.

I plan to sow half the seed along each long length of the wildflower bed as I won't be able to sow it from one side easily. Then I will need to very lightly rake the seeds over with soil.

I am hoping that the weather will remain good until I have sown all of the seed. Then I hope we will get a few weeks of rain. It is a pity that we can't order the sort of weather we need. All I can do is cross my fingers :)

See you again soon with more news. Thanks for stopping by.


Rose x

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A photo tour of my Spring garden in New Zealand

I had a lovely time walking in the garden today, taking lots of photos of my Spring flowers. The weather was just perfect, not too cold and not too hot with clear blue skies. I hope you enjoy looking at my photos as much as I did taking them.

See you again soon.


Rose x

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Progress in the vegetable garden

On Monday Dad and I planted up the main vegetable patch. We had been to the garden centre and bought some vegetable seedlings on the weekend. I kept them under the cloches on the deck until we were ready to plant them out.

I was happy to find that some of the seeds have germinated under cover outside. I would have liked to have grown everything from seed, but Dad didn't have the patience to wait for them to grow. It is really a month early for planting out. We had a hail storm yesterday, so we put cloches made from plastic water bottles over the tomatoes to protect them.

It is 14 C today and showering on and off. The other vegetables don't seem to mind the cool weather.

I have 2 silverbeet (chard) plants which self-seeded themselves next to the vegetable patch which is very convenient. We have been using the silverbeet already while the leaves are young and very tender....delicious.

Dad finished fencing around the veg patch, so hopefully it will keep the pesky rabbits and pukekoes out.

Dad also dug a small area for me to grow some more herbs in. I need to mix a sack of compost into the soil as it is very heavy clay. I plan to grow dill, coriander, basil, sage and parsley there.

I am still waiting for the contractor to come and rotavate the area for our new wildflower garden. The wildflower seed needs to be sown pretty soon while we still have showery weather. I also need to rake the soil to a fine tilth, after it has been rotavated, before I can sow the seed. It is all a matter of good timing.

Last year we were a month late in creating a wildflower bed, so it was too dry for all the different types of seed to germinate. Fingers crossed that everything will be on time this year.

See you again soon.


Rose x

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Time to prepare the vegetable patches

Dad has been very busy working on clearing and digging over our vegetable garden this past week. The Winter here in Auckland was mild and Spring has arrived almost a month early, so the weeds have been growing fast and have taken over.

The large plants in the photo above are taller than me. They self-seeded here from last years wildflower bed that was located at the side of this vegetable bed. I didn't have the heart to dig them out because they have very pretty pink and white flowers. I have no idea what these plants are called. They will be left here until they finish flowering.

There is still a lot of clearing and digging to do. Plus dad is putting up a wire mesh fence around the vegetable garden to stop the rabbits, ducks and pukekoes from causing damage. The brassicas will also need netting to stop the cabbage white butterflies from demolishing them.

I have been sowing vegetable seeds in punnets over the last few days: kholrabi, cabbage, cucumber, sprouting broccoli, zucchini, pumpkin, celeriac and artichoke. Plus we have bought punnets of leeks, chives, cavolo nero, tomatoes and silverbeet. I also sorted out seeds to sow directly in the vegetable garden when it is completed.

We bought 4 large cloches on the weekend and have assembled 2 of them so far. I have put the punnets of vegetable seedlings in one and the other cloche contains the punnets with the seeds that I have sown.

The cloches are an experiment that I hope will work, to germinate and harden off seedlings. Fingers crossed.

See you again soon with more news.


Rose x

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

More and more packets of wildflower seeds

The last of the wildflower seeds that I ordered arrived today...yaaaay! I now have enough to sow a new wildflower patch of about 50 metres long x 1 tractor width, whatever that is.

I decided not to turn over my last wildflower bed, or re-sow it. There are some wildflowers already coming up in it. So far I recognise scabious, ox-eye daisies and linum growing. I have some perennial seeds which I plan to grow in pots and then transplant them into this bed when they are big enough.

The new wildflower bed is going to be made parallel to the last one, with a grass pathway between the two.

This afternoon I checked to see if the soil had dried out enough for rotavating. It looks good to me, nice and crumbly and holding some moisture, but not claggy like clay soil is when it is too wet.

I now have to wait for the contractor to come and have a look and set aside time to rotavate the patch. The weather forecast is still good for the next few days. I do hope that he contacts me soon.

To pass the time I will make a list here of the types of wildflower seed I that I bought: (You are allowed to scroll quickly past this list if it gets too long for you).

- Dwarf toadflax (linaria maroccana) 10 grams. From past experience this will be the first to germinate and flower, giving shelter for the other seedlings.
- White cosmos (cosmos bipinnatus) 10 grams
- Yellow cosmos (cosmos sulphurous) 10 grams
- Mixed cosmos, crimson, soft pink and white (cosmos bipinnatus) 3 grams
- Cosmos Xanthos (cosmos bipinnatus) 30 seeds
- English marigold (calendula officinalis) 10 grams
- Queen Anne's lace (ammi majus) 3 grams
- Bishops flower (ammi majus) 250 seeds
- Didiscus Lace Mix (didiscus caeruleus) 180 seeds
- Soldier poppy (papaver rhoeas) 10 grams
- Corn poppy/Shirley poppy (papaver rhoeas) 10 grams
- Shirley poppy summer mix (papaver rhoeas) 300 seeds
- Plains coreopsis (coreopsis tinctoria) 3 grams
- Coreopsis tinctoria Dwarf Red 3 grams
- Californian poppy Mission Bells (eschscholzia californica) 1000 seeds
- Cornflower tall blue (centaurea cyanus) 10 grams
- Cornflower country blue double (centaurea cyanus) 50 seeds (this was a gift from a real estate agent)
- Wildflower wild blue yonder mix, (various species) 10 g
- Scabious fragrant dwarf doubles (scabiosa atropurpurea) 300 seeds
- Rudbeckia Cherry Baby (rudbeckia hirta) 100 seeds
- Tithonia Goldfinger (tithonia speciose) 50 seeds
- Purple tansy (phacelia tanacetifolia) 1000 seeds
- Zinnia Giant Lime (zinnia elegans) 75 seeds
- Zinnia Crest Red (zinnia elegans) 90 seeds
- Bees Birds and Butterflies wildflower mix, (various species) 50 grams

Phew that took some typing!

The photo above shows my last flowerbed after it was mown last week. You may just be able to see the markers at the edges showing where the old wildflower bed is and also where the new bed is going to be.

A closer look shows the damage that the rabbits have been doing to my wildflower bed, grrrrrr. I keep having to fill the holes up. There aren't any burrows....yet.

That's all my news for today. It's time now for my cup of hot chocolate and to read my book before bed.

See you again soon.


Rose x

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Self-seeded calla lilies in our gulley

The calla lilies have sown themselves in our gully and look quite spectacular with their pearly-white flowers. It is a shame that they are considered to be a nuisance weed here in New Zealand.

Bracken, manuka bushes, tree ferns and other native plants are also growing in the gully, all of which have seeded themselves there.

The ground that they are growing in is very boggy, so I couldn't get any closer to take more photos.

I must walk around the land more often. I was quite breathless by the time I arrived back at the house. That is what Winter hibernation does to me. Now that the days are getting warmer I can get out more, as long as it isn't raining.

Spring is my most favourite time of year. I am in the middle of planning another wildflower garden. Most of the wildflower seeds that I ordered have arrived. There is just one more packet to come. I can't wait!

See you again soon.

Hugs Rose x