It’s the shortest day… Well I think it is…

When I Googled it I got conflicting information:  it was either today or tomorrow and the sun was shining today – well kind of – when it wasn’t raining.  So there was nothing for it – it was garlic and onion planting day!

Onion Seedlings

Onion Seedlings

This is such a special day anticipated from the day when the weather first started to get cold… from here on its downhill to summer!  YAY!  It makes the cold, wet days more bearable knowing the days are going to start getting longer and eventually warmer.

Garlic and Shallots

Garlic and Shallots

Onions and garlic can be planted any time from May to September, but I love the ritual that is getting out there in the dead middle of the year and doing some purposeful gardening.  It makes a change from all the pfaffing about that I’m normally doing to make myself feel like I’m gardening.  So today I dressed warmly and put my gumboots on and squelched across the garden to the lovingly pre-prepared bed.  It was all soft and fluffy, with lime, blood and bone, general fertilizer, sheep poo, and a dash of ash for good measure all dug in and left for all of 3 days to settle in, with 3 days of heavy rain assist in the process.

Garlic in...

Garlic in…

Onion in....

Onion in….

Then I completely immersed myself in the task of planting out my seedlings and cloves that ended up taking most of the day.  Which doesn’t really surprise me as I planted 14 elephant garlic and 90 normal garlic cloves, 144 Pukekohe Longkeeper Onions, 33 Sweet Red Onions, 12 Borettana Onions, 16 shallots I grew from seed  this year and 15 shallots I grew from seed last year.  They are probably squished in a little closer than recommended, but not half as bad as in previous years.

It doesn't look too bad considering it is the middle of winter

It doesn’t look too bad considering it is the middle of winter

The last thing I had to take care of was the pest control.  I think the biggest risk to my onions are the family of pukekos (birds) that have taken to hanging about.  They don’t actually eat seedlings – they just get curious and pull them out to see what they are and then leave the seedling on top of the soil so dry out and die.  So I put some bamboo stakes about the bed and tied plastic bags to them.  It’s not all that pretty, but it’s worked before.

That should scare away the Pookies!

That should scare away the Pookies!                             (See how muddy the grass got! – it looked like nicely mown lawn before I started!)

Then as I stood back to admire my handiwork, my attention was drawn to the big black clouds looming down by the loud crack of thunder, that was too close for comfort.  So I raced inside knowing my newly planted plants were getting well watered in.

This determined daffodil thinks spring is just around the corner!

This determined daffodil thinks spring is just around the corner!

Come again soon – it will be spring before we know it!

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

Brandy the Chicken doesn't like photos taken of her babies, so she hid them from me!

21 Comments on “It’s the shortest day… Well I think it is…

  1. Thanks for the reminder from the other side, we’re having the longest day. I am watching the green tomatoes and plums turn red while the grass grows tall demanding to be mowed on the longest day. Carol

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    • Hi Carol. We always seem impatient for the tomatoes to ripen – it doesn’t seem like summer has truly started until they do! Cheers Sarah : o )

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  2. I always remember the first day of summer, as it is my birthday. = ) The longest day of the year for us, but still not long enough when it’s your birthday!

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    • Hi Claire. The tradition here is to plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest day. I always leave harvesting just a little bit longer as the longest day as actually about 4 days before Christmas and there is way too much going on to be harvesting a copious amounts of garlic and onion! Enjoy your fresh garlic. Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. Love the pukeko deterant 🙂 I used to tie bags and sometimes old cds up in my plum trees to try and distract the birds from my ripening plums in Te Aroha.

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    • Hi Mel. There is a whole flock of pookies (about 6) hanging about, using our place as a corridor between the neighbours paddocks. I watch them warily when they get too close to the garden – but I expect in the spring there will be cutie fluffy long legged bubbies so I’ll let you know if this happens and you can come over and see! Baby Pukekoes are way cuter than baby chickens! Cheers S x

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  4. It’s really interesting to hear about gardening over the other side of the world. I’m watching my garlic and onion growing fast and hoping the badgers don’t notice my growing peas! And yes, birds and foxes like to explore and dig things up so I try to deter them with netting and homemade cloches, I will
    try the bags too. This is my first year as a vegetable and fruit grower and I am learning all the time, I look forward to reading your posts.

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    • Hi Viola. I guess we are a little lucky here as we don’t seem to have half the pests others have. I have seen huge hares in the field, but fortunately they haven’t found my garden. Good luck with your first growing season. I hope your harvest is bountiful and delicious! Cheers Sarah : o )

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  5. I love your picture with the baby chick poking out from under the hen. Too cute!

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    • Hi there. There are another 5 baby chicks hiding under Brandy the Chicken, but she really hates having photos taken of her babies so always hides them from me! Cheers Sarah : o )

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  6. Hi, thanks for this and best of luck…we are thinking of doing a paddock (small) with garlic. How is it going with the Pukekeos, chickens and rabbits? Our garden is fenced in from these guys but our paddock is not

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  7. New Zealand and Australia gets my weather sense all messed up; Summer, for you, is in the Winter? or is it my Winter is in your Summer? oh well, good luck with your garden. You have it layed out nice from the pictures. I’ll be reading your posts.

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    • Hi there. I love how we are opposites. I get my gardening fix in the winter by reading about other peoples summers! Hopefully I can repay the winter reading in my summer. Cheers Sarah : o )

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