Saturday, December 5, 2015

Mr Chaffinch and Update on the Secret Garden

Our Chaffinch
This little guy thinks he owns our property.  He has been Peep-Peeping around our lawn, driveway, veranda and fences for about 2 weeks now.  Every day and all day his cheerful wee peep can be heard chirping away.  He pecks at the dogfood, and their bones, he sits in the trees and he collects bits of straw.

His mate, who is very drab by comparison, has only come down once or twice, so I think they must be making eggs in a nest close to here, perhaps in our hedge.

Fearlessly he struts about on the lawn, just metres from the cat.  The dogs have taken to guarding their bones, by lying beside them, thwarting his foraging efforts sometimes, but not often!

Last night we sat in our lounge, with all the doors open and he spent the whole evening carrying on, it was so funny watching him.  He is a real delight!

Update on the Secret Garden
I have been working hard to make my Secret Garden a sanctuary, and here are some photos showing the results of my efforts.
Still trying to grow that Camomile Lawn
Fountain is looking good

My 84yr old Dad made me a China Pagoda and installed it on Thursday, thanks Dad

Visits by lots of bumblebees

Sunday, November 29, 2015

A big gardening weekend and carrot thinnings

I have planted my little heart out this weekend. Its the first quiet one in ages so I have taken full advantage.
Corgettes, raised from seed
Beefsteak Tomatoes, also raised from seed
Corn ,seed
Basil, seed
Carrot, seed
Cucumber, raised from seed

Then i thinned my previous carrot sewing. We will eat the "micro" vegetables with our tea. The tops are edible but do you think i csn get my family to eat them!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Putting a Nailgun to good use

Changable spring weather is a real promisebreaker sometimes.  Wind, then sun, then wind, FROST!  The frost fans were whirring away at 5:30am this morning, but I didnt hear them.  When I got up at 7am, I rushed outside to turn the sprinklers on in the garden, because our grapes all have flower bunches on.  Imagining the worst, I have decided to kill two birds with one stone.

Or...two problems with one net.  I was pleased with the net purchase off trademe, on a few tiny holes, which are easily fixed with a peg or two.  300m of it should do all jobs that need netting for the summer.

The netting should both hinder the frost and hinder the pesky birds who peck all the fruit and flowers!

Hubby's nailgun came in very handy, and I was very proud of myself for the design!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It's all about Seeds

This is my Garden Share Collective post for October, which this month has a theme - SEEDS

It's very timely for now it is time in our garden to prepare for the growing season by starting off seeds in trays ready for later spring planting.

My motherinlaw and I spent the afternoon with packets of seedling mix and our seed stash, starting off seeds in trays.  We have decided (or rather, she decided) that the old pigpen would be a good raising place, since it gets sun, and is warm, but seeds wont be damaged by late frosts.  In the absence of a potting shed or garden shed, I concurred.

We had quite a little conveyor belt system going, she put in the mix, I watered and put in seeds, then she topped with a small sprinkle and named the tray.

Now we have quite a collection of filled trays.

Our working table, this was the first few trays we potted up
The first of the trays on the pigpen floor
I did have to laugh about the seed collection we had.  Both of us had saved seed from plants last year, but invariably we had the same foods, always Spring Onion - I guess because it produces such a prolific amount of seed.   I found I had lots of little folded envelopes and packets marked things like, "Anna Lettuce - nice 2010" etc.  Will they still be viable? I don't know, but time will tell.  In a couple of weeks if they haven't germinated we'll try again.

Kale seedlings in the main garden, from seed I collected last Autumn
A note to YATES - the seed packets were so sparse with seed. Shame on you YATES.  We counted and planted only 19 seeds from the packet of "Summerstar" tomatoes.  Gone are the days when you got a good few tablespoons of seed in a bought packet.  Oderings gave the best value for money, with goodly numbers of seeds in their packets.
With only 19 seeds in this packet, it is hardly value for money!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

A Chicken Adventure

One of our chickens went missing this week.  It didn't come home at bedtime and I assumed it had been taken by a hawk.

Two days later look what Mark found.  Miss Chicken had fallen down between some stacked giboard . She came out all wobbly and flat on one side. But so far she is still alive and seems to be making a recovery!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

It must be Spring

We have had a week if on/off rain which i hope breaks our drought...daffodils and rain are noth wonderful!

Friday, September 11, 2015

How (not) to Grow Mushrooms

Step one:  buy your Mushroom Kit (in this case "Mushroom Gourmet") with memories of kits kept in cupboards while flatting in Sydney, which once watered produced a plethora of mushrooms.

Step two: Keeping those memories alive, open the box (easy) and start to read the 6 pages of instructions (hard).

Step three: take a small nap to recover, then tackle the first page of the instructions.

EIGHT WEEKS LATER: Moan and bitch at everyone that it didn't work

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Little Things in Life - SMALL

Indeed, at this time of year, it's the little things in the garden that matter.

After cold weather, frosts and wintry temperatures, to go out into the garden and see the small beginnings of spring brings joy to my heart.
Quince coming into bud

The vege patch is sparse, with only a few cabbages, some broccoli, and kale, mostly.  But there are signs there that soon something wonderful will come.  Small 4 inch shoots of garlic appear in rows in one of my raised beds, and there are tiny lettuces forming under protecting cloches.

The most excitement is in the orchard, where the quince, the plums and the almonds are starting to show flowers and leaves.  I hope that this year we won't have such damaging spring Nor'wester's, for last year the winds destroyed almost all the blossom in the orchard, resulting in no fruit formation.

Plum blossom starting

Plum with blossom starting
In other news, our Chickens laid the smallest, tiniest egg I have ever seen!
A Small, an Average, and a Double Yolker, all laid on the same day

There is little to do in my garden, there are very little weeds to contend with since it is too cold for growth, and little to harvest, instead we find we have time on our hands to  have a little fire in the evening to sit round with a few neighbours.

This is my Garden Share Collective post for September.  The theme is "Size" and I have chosen "little".

Harvesting Now: Lettuce, Spring Onion, Kale, Cabbage

Planting Now: Garlic, Peas, Beans, Broadbeans, Leeks

Things to Do: Prepare garden beds for spring planting, keep watering, keep up with the weeding, spray copper on the orchard trees

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

The slow creep of Spring

We've had snow recently, then warm weather, and little green shoots are springing up all over the garden, filled with the promise of spring.

The first to flower are the Crocuses, I am waiting, and hoping for a good show of daffodils...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

How to Unpick a Jumper - the Dark Art of Knitting

I have unpicked 3 jumpers this weekend, with a view to reknitting them into jumpers and hoodies for my kids.  Here's a "How To" video I made on what to do!  Note, this is the knitters "Dark Side"!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Annual preparation of the Strawberry Bed

It's 5C outside and I'm grovelling around on my knees with a weeder in my hand, preparing the strawberry beds for Spring.  Madness!  yesterday it snowed, today it's freezing.  My fingers are purple and white and I am huffing the air in and out of my lungs in an effort to warm the air up.

The reason for this is because I just haven't got around to doing this job in my vege patch yet.

After (you can see I am reluctant to pull out all the suckers, and I always leave a few, I just cant bring myself to pull them all out

What to do?  pull off any dead leaves, pull out runners and suckers, replace unproductive plants with new suckers, and replace 3rd year plants with new suckers.

When to do it?  in Winter when the plant is almost dormant (tho I see some of mine have been making flowers despite the frigid weather).

One of the best benefits of all of this, apart from massive strawberry production this coming year, is that you then have lots of suckers to give away to friends

Sunday, August 9, 2015


Not a lot of gardening going on today, despite my good intentions...its all put on hold because its snowing!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Picking today

This may not look like a very exciting haul, but what you see there are the first and only Brussell Sprouts I have ever managed to grow

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Who Needs Snow when you have -5C Frost?

The Vege Garden
I have been hankering for snow, while every other part of the country seems to be cut off with winter snow, we have missed out on the soft fluffy stuff so far.

But this morning Jack Frost made up for it by deliverying a hefty -5C frost for us to enjoy.

It really does make our garden a winter wonderland!

Mt Grey

The Paddocks

Frost adorning everything