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!|