Apr 1, 2011
Autumn is actually my favourite time of the year to garden. There is something about autumn mornings. That still, blue sky matched with a crisp slightly damp air. Often warming up to a beautiful sunny day. I like that there is not the wind of spring, the heat of summer or the rain and cold of winter. Yes autumn is definitely my favourite season of the year!
In late March I persuaded my husband to purchase a wee hot house so that I can stop spending money on seedlings and grow directly from seeds. We got a great little one from Bunnings for under $100.00. It is a great size, I can work inside it standing up and I have shelves on both sides to pot onto. Another advantage is that I can grow vegetables that are a bit frost sensitive for a longer season and have a constant crop of lovely herbs. I have planted my Broccoli, Rhubarb, Coriander, Italian Parsley, Heirloom Tomatoes, Spring Onions and radishes into beds in the hot house. These are now (end of March) established seedling which I am ready to plant out.
I have also directly sowed some of my other crops. This year I have erected a series of growing frames for my peas and my snow peas. These I have directly sowed into my vegetable patch.
One issue I do have is space. I have spoken to Mike (dear husband) about extending the vegetable patch. He has agreed enthusiastically, however where I was meaning a quick conversion of the front utility area, he has more grander plans of more raised gardens. Don't get me wrong his ideas are great and will be both functional and fabulous to look at, my concerns are about when he will be able to get these done! So at the moment I am waiting and squeezing seedlings in where I can.
Problems in the Garden this month
There are still a lot of pests out there attacking the garden. Remember to get rid of slugs using little lids of beer, egg shells surrounding seedlings or slug pellets. I also have a wee problem with mites across the garden and have decided to spray my Tamarillo tree and my Passionfruit (which did not fruit this year) Drastic action as I usually prefer to use chemical free options but the bugs are just doing my head in at the moment. I have opted for an organic Pyrethrum which is not quite so horrible.
Lack-lusture soil needs a boost after hungry summer crops have used up much of the nutrients. You can either dig in some compost, black gold or garden mix (all available for pick up or by delivery from us at Auckland Landscape Supplies)
Existing crops will benefit from a good feed. I like Living Earth Liquid Compost which is a great all rounder and can be used on other ornamental shrubs as well.
On the left my peas, snow peas, radishes and broccoli. On the Right my Beetroot, Lettuce and Broccoli. Below my Aunty's Vegetable Garden in Katikati - very motivating to see such a mature vegetable and fruit fulled property!
How things are growing now
The lettuces and the beetroot are looking great, as are the radishes which I have already planted out and the peas and snow peas which I sowed directly.
A little while ago I sprayed my citrus with Seaweed and they have now taken off.
I have tomato seedlings popping up everywhere, I have transplanted a few of these to grow in my hothouse just to see what they end up like.
Baby spinach is taken over, I have pruned a whole lot of this and given much of it away to friends.
Two weeks ago I went to visit my Grandfather and my Nana who are living in Rotorua. They are from a farming background and well into their 80's they are both raving vegetable garden enthusiasts. While there I spent time looking through Nana's recipe book. Many of her recipes have been handed down through generations of our family from both her side and Grandad's side. What I like about these is that they are simple, tasty and make great use of crops that are commonly grown in New Zealand. I am going to share some of these with you over the coming weeks.