Saturday, February 9, 2013

Garden harvest 2013 (January)

Somewhere along the way I've become a gardening nerd.  In the seven years that I have lived in this house I have indifferently gardened.  While we were still renters we did very little and then four years ago I started adding a bag of compost and mulch to the garden each year.  I've focused on growing vegetables but my desire to get a lot of variety means that I would grow too little of one thing.

This year I was organised.  I ordered the King's seed catalogue and planned in advance.  I even drew a little plan on the back of an envelope.  When the trees were harvested at the rear of our property it revealed new sunlight opportunities - we can now grow vegetables and fruit that require extra sunlight hours.  I dug two new gardens at the front of our house.  I read a lot, mostly anything by Linda Hallinan.

On holiday earlier this month I managed to get through about eighteen months worth of NZ Gardener magazines.  I'm ready!

I've planted the basics: lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries and carrots but also heritage varieties of peas, Picton Sno and Capucijners.  I learned how to get the best out of the indifferent berry bushes we have - and produced two raspberries and have about thirty blackberries ripening.  On the recommendation of a neighbour I planted courgettes and enjoy getting a new courgette to eat every three or four days.  I'm starting to get results from my rhubarb.  I've planted complimentary flowers to attract bees and have even started seed saving. I tend to take twice daily looks at the garden (this is how I know that I am obsessive).  I love ripping laterals from tomato plants.  I love that I know what laterals are.  And I love that tomato laterals will just sprout roots if you stick them in the ground.

Tomatoes ready for dehydrating and eventual freezing.

My children are starting to enjoy the garden.  Digging for jersey bennie potatoes with the children was a lot of fun - they enjoyed the treasure hunt and the youngest loved washing them in a bucket of water.  I produced a lot of strawberries - but the youngest loves them, as well as my three year old neighbour so they became experts at looking for and eating warm, ripe berries.  I barely rescued enough for a pot of jam. This evening they helped me to pull up carrots.  We brought them inside and rinsed them, then sliced them thinly for eating.  My oldest had hers on a cruskit cracker of all things. 

I'm loving making meals of the food from the garden.  Tonight we had the last of the jersey bennies and a salad including lettuce and carrots from the garden with our meal.  In the next couple of months I should be harvesting cucumbers for pickling, miniature red cabbages, bok choi and a lot of tomatoes.  A serious amount.

In a previous post I mentioned a concern about garden costs.  I'm keeping a running total of expenditure and I'll try and see how that balances out at the end of the year.


  • Courgettes = 7
  • Strawberries = 6
  • Tomaccio tomatoes = 17
  • Lettuce = harvested leaves three times
  • Blackberries = scrumped 30 cups worth
  • Carrots = 20
  • Rhubarb = 3 cups worth, stewed
  • Garlic Bulb = 1 (not an awesome amount but 100% better than previous year)
  • Herbs = I've harvested parsley and thyme three times.
Tomaccio - it is hard to see but there are about 185 tomatoes on here!

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