The Garden Chronicles

Sitting inside with a roaring fire and yet more rain coming down, it’s amazing that the garden is still thriving throughout this winter.

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In the vegetable garden the corn salad  (also known as lamb’s lettuce or mache) is providing more salad greens that we can keep up with. I sowed this about 5 years ago, and it has self-seeded every year since. It reliably germinates in autumn, perfectly timed for the slow salad season.

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The citrus is an ‘uglifruit’. It took several years before it fruited, maybe five? If it wasn’t tucked away out of sight it might not have lived for this long. However patience is a virtue… it’s loaded with fruit this year. I have to  confess that I haven’t actually tried any yet.

IMG_9684I have planted some new boysenberries – bought one of each of the thornless varieties from the nursery, will trial to see how they go. They will also be good examples for pruning demonstrations for next year’s Berry Workshops.

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The vege garden is very green at the moment! Lots of spinach and brassicas. But the one I am most proud of this year is my celery. Some of these plants are waist high! Must use them though, instead of just admiring them…. Planted some plants in complete shade to see how they did, they are about 1/3 of the size, but still of edible size, so will do this again next year._MG_9659

We’ve been clearing a new area to put in a small glasshouse and propagating benches (exciting!), but in the meantime I’ve found the perfect temporary work area – the back of my beloved ute!

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Finally got to digging up the dahlia tubers. You could store them and plant later in spring, but some of them are not completely dormant. Some new bought ones arrived sprouting too so thought best to plant them. These are destined for the new flower farm area. Lots of new varieties, can’t wait to see what they look like.

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Spring is coming…. and that means baby chickens! These are the first fertile eggs to go in our little incubator. My daughter fell in love with Lavender Araucana’s at  the Poultry Show, so they are high on her wish list. The blue/green eggs are a definite bonus. We’ve put in a dozen, hoping for a good hatching rate, although so early in the season might be a bit variable.

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And finally another sign of spring… these precious cocoons are hanging all over my wee patch of stinging nettle. These are cocoons from our native kahukura (red admiral butterfly).  I first discovered we had these when I made some nettle tea, and found the caterpillars…. after I had boiled the nettle. Now we (I) have a break from nettle tea during caterpillar (and cocoon) season.  Hopefully we will see more of these butterflies, they are fairly rare around here. Nice to be doing our bit for biodiversity.

Tomorrow looks like more rain… might be an inside day planning for our upcoming Food Forest workshops. Luckily I like doing that just as much as gardening.