Officially it is the first week back in the garden after the holidays. Last week didn’t count even though I did loiter in the garden a little, but as the first week of the year it was only a half one and to be honest I wasn’t up to gardening much as I have been struck down with a nasty head cold that has plagued me for this entire decade except for a few hours at the start. I’m still a bit stuffy but I am pushing through. Oh and storm number seven (although the number could be higher because in an exasperated state in the middle of spring I stopped counting them, but when they didn’t cease into the summer I started counting again.) rolled on through wreaking havoc, although compared to other areas we got off lightly. So early on in the year gardening was pretty much off the table, and probably would have been even if it was nice and sunny and I was well as it was summer holiday time.
However I have been back at work in the garden since Monday and have been trying to develop a good routine between writing in my shed and toiling in the soil. To start with I was a bit overwhelmed with the garden as there was so much storm damage to deal with. But instead of jumping all about the place I stuck to my sector system and each day have taken care of the needs of all the beds in each group, including weeding, liquid feeding, watering and any maintenance. But none of the others, except for harvesting and keeping new sowings and plantings moist. So now we are in Thursday I can proudly say 80% of the garden is back in control.
There is just all the small beds around the dome to take care of but to be honest they have been neglected much longer than just the festive season and so it will take more of an effort – so much so a chicken has taken residence in one beds and is trying to hatch a brood of chicks that will never be as we no longer have rooster, in the privacy of a weedy mess.
Peas: These have been tied back to their support after the winds and are almost ready for another harvest. I even ripped out the old dead and dying row and sowed more. They don’t normally like growing through the heat of summer but the weather is all over the place and it was ‘socks and beanie’ cold the day I sowed the seeds so I figured it was worth a shot.
Tomatoes: I am so pleased I spotted the TP Psyllid on New Years Eve and took action. The withholding period for the spray is over and the plants look great. Three plants do look a little peaky but I think that might be something else. I tied them in to the frame and feed and watered them and the fruit is ripening. I don’t think it will be my best season for tomatoes but it will certainly be better than my worst.
Onions: I pulled out the Pukekohe Longkeeper onions. They had bent over although I’m not sure if it was because of the wind or not, but time wise it was close enough and they were a good size. They are now drying in the dome. The bed didn’t stay empty for long as the corn in sector 2 has been damaged by the wind and so we installed a wind break along the fence and have decided to swap the brassicas for the corn in the next crop rotation cycle so it gets the benefit of the shelter. But in the meantime, not wanting to be without corn this season, I nipped up to the garden centre and bought all their corn seedlings and popped them in where the onions were. Hopefully the wind will be more settled for the rest of the season.
Brassicas: These are doing ok. There is a bit of caterpillar damage but I gave them a bit of a spray with an organic Pyrethrum and Oil combination spray and hopefully they can continue growing in peace.
Squash: They were looking good before but their great elephant ear shaped leaves make great sails and so in the wind they got significantly bashed. There wasn’t much I could do but give them a liquid feed with seaweed in it an hope for the best.
Flowers: They weren’t too bad, but it took forever to do the deadheading but I’d been avoiding it as it is a tedious job. But where I had done a small patch earlier I could see the benefit as that bit looked so much better than the rest.
Herbs: I pulled out the gone to seed coriander, dill and parsley and popped in a new parsley plant, and sprinkled dill and coriander seeds liberally about. I planted basil seedlings as I have really struggled this year to get them going, and then I gave everything else a bit of a haircut and it all looks presentable again.
And now I’m rambling on and on and still have much to tell you about, so I’ll break this up so I don’t bore you to death.
Come again soon – I’ve done so much in such a short space of time.
Sarah the Gardener : o)