Spring is almost here

I haven’t posted here over winter as it has just rained and rained for the last 3 months. Our backyard is an absolute bog so I haven’t been spending a lot of time out there. However, in the last couple of weeks I planted some vegetables and finally cleared out the oxalis growing in the garden. That took WEEKS of digging out soil and then replacing a whole lot of soil with vegetable mix. Here is the before photo:

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After I cleared this and dug through new vegetable mix and compost  I planted carrots, spinach, kale and lettuce. Looked so much better after the clear out:

Last year when my dad helped with out huge clean up he completely hacked back the Rhododendron – which was a shame because it’s one of my favourites. However, apparently they like a good pruning so will pay off. There are 2 flowers appearing, which I discovered today.

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My camellia tree is still blooming, and is looking absolutely amazing. It’s been blooming for ages and doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down anytime soon.

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Next on the list will be to start sweeping the paths once it dries up a bit. If I keep walking on the lawn there will be no grass left, only mud! I also got sent some seed potatoes and potato food by Tui Garden Products so I will be planting those this weekend to insure I get a nice new potato crop for christmas potato salad!

I update my Instagram daily so if you want to see more regular updates – follow me @antipodeangarden

 

Salad Greens & Herbs

There has been a large amount of rain lately so many green vegetable crops have been ruined, resulting in a shortage / price hike of buying them at the supermarket. We eat a lot of spinach and lettuce so I thought I would try my hand at growing our own.

I ripped out the dead tomato plant and gave the soil a dig over with some compost. As this planter box is half under the eaves of the house, I need to make sure I remember to water it frequently.

I bought Some Yates Spinach –  Winter queen variety and Urban Gourmet Salad Greens. For the spinach, I’ll be planting them direct in the garden. I’ll need to feed them plant food every 2 weeks. I think I’m actually going to start putting these kind of tasks into my ical… otherwise is it guaranteed I won’t remember to do it.

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The Salad greens are mixtures of lettuce seeds in a pellet. These will grow super fast so if I am organised, we will have a continual supply of lettuces and spinach for the winter.

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The other half of the planter is now home to my herb garden. I have Basil (which has been in there for a couple of months), Coriander, Thyme, Rosemary and Italian Parsley. I have sage growing in a pot on the stairs. These were all looking very sad in their pots, but are already seeming much happier.

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I’m going to start some of the pellets in these little pots just til they are big enough to plant in the garden. Then when they go into the garden, I will grow some more seedlings on the windowsill.

 

 

Cherry Tomato Mania

When I last posted in November, I had started the process of growing vegetables from seed. Sadly, most of the crops didn’t do very well, but the cherry tomatoes were great! I ended up with 7 plants initially, so I decided to plant 2 of them and give the others away.

I prepared the soil well and looked after the plants well at first, however, life just took over and I kind of just let them grow wild.

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As you can see the plants grew insanely tall, which meant I unfortunately had to restake them. We also had a couple of severe summer storms that resulted in the larger of the two plants being completely blown over. I managed to save it though and re staking didn’t seem to worry the plants one bit.

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After the storms, the rain kept coming. As a result, my tomatoes, not being used to having so much water, swelled up and split. I still ended up eating them but they had to be used reasonably quickly.

Once the rain cleared up, I noticed grey/black coloured splotches creeping up the limbs of the plant. Blight. I managed to harvest about 50 or so cherry tomatoes before the blight took over, so was quite proud of my little harvest in the end.

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not all of them, but a few of the harvested tomatoes.

All in all, it was a good experience, however there was a lot I should have done but didn’t due to inexperience.

Mistakes I made:

  • I forgot to put snail pellets in the garden, so my marigolds were gone in 2 days.
  • I wasn’t as vigilant as I could have been with plucking the arterial leaves which would have meant my plants would have grown in a more productive way.
  • I was pretty forgetful when it came to feeding and watering them, and probably didn’t do this enough.

If you’re thinking of growing tomatoes of any kind in the future here are some great resources:

  • Tui Garden’s How to Guide for growing tomatoes has all the basics, plus product recommendations to help ensure a successful harvest.
  • 6 Easy-to-grow cherry tomato varieties
  • Annabelle Langbein’s tomato growing tips and some a useful chart for how to choose what varieties to grow based on the various ways we eat them.
  • Yates guide to solving tomato problems, however I don’t necessarily agree with the last part!
  • A How to guide for growing organic tomatoes.

 

Vegetable Garden

Since labour weekend I have been getting my raised garden bed ready for use again. The summer before last, I grew strawberries there, but what I didn’t know was that underneath the garden was a massive ants nest. My strawberries started ripening so I put the bird nets over the garden.  One day I lifted the net to have a good look, and ants had eaten most of the berries!

I managed to get rid of the ants nest, but as pregnancy and then looking after a baby took over my life, a pile of weeds took over the garden bed.

I’ve had a compost bin in the garden for a few years but hadn’t looked in it for about 2 years at all. I opened the lid to find a full bin of amazing compost. It was absolutely perfect.

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Making compost is a worthwhile process. It may take a while but it’s a lot cheaper than buying it.

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I lugged compost in my grandfather’s old wheelbarrow.

 

Once I had mixed the soil and compost together, I figured out what I was going to plant. I had quite a bit to choose from so in the end I decided on Cherry tomatoes, marigolds, lettuce, spinach, basil and rocket.

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Planting Cherry Tomatoes, Marigolds, Spinach, Lettuce, Basil Rocket

I grew cherry tomatoes in pots a few summers ago, so I still had some wire frames in the garage. As the plants get taller, I will use ties to make sure the tomato plant grows straight up and has good support.

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Vegetable garden – Tomatoes, marigolds, spinach, lettuce, basil and rocket.

Now I just need to look after it and keep it watered and it should take off in no time. Next on the list is planting the herb garden and finding somewhere to plant my zucchini plant as they get quite big. I also have some chilli and capsicum seeds germinating at the moment, so will have to find some nice bright pots to plant them on the deck.