Sunlight on a weekend? Yayyyyy! And about bloody time. Didn’t think it would happen after the atrocious weather on Friday in Wellington, but Kapiti really has shone this weekend in it’s white and crisp winter sunlight.
I’m thrilled to report that my garden, despite excessive moisture and neglect is doing really well. Daily, we’re pulling out a wide variety of greens – collard leaves, kale, parsley, spinach, chard, herbs, celery, rocket, beetroot leaves, lettuce, mustard – for fresh and delicious meals. I’m supplementing with the odd head of broccoli, fresh fruit, organic potatoes and carrots from the supermarket. We’re still working our way through stored Jerusalem artichokes, shallots, onions and pumpkins. Quinoa, preserves and bottled cherry tomatoes are going strong.
Last year saw some great broccoli precoce romanesco success but this year we’ve got stunners. Big solid heads with tightly formed fractal patterns that just look beautiful.
So given the gift of sunshine, I’ve weeded the vege beds around the house, which didn’t take long at all. The chickweed may be abundant but it’s easy to get out. Some of it goes into salads. It does cause issues if there’s too much growing around the veges and getting too wet – it holds the moisture and causes rot. But it does provide a nice mulch for bare soil and I felt a little guilty after pulling it all out.
To absolve myself, I invested in some peastraw pellets (pricey at $20) to put around my garlic on the north facing wall. I choose this over any other mulch because as they expand they mat together and don’t blow around. With careful placement, they aren’t in risk of rubbing up against and damaging my precious heirloom garlics.
In the last year I’ve tried to cut down on mulch use – I’m a bit iffy about it. It’s killed far more plants than it’s saved by rubbing against stems, causing rot and harbouring pests and disease. I can see how mulch works really well in tropical climates where it breaks down more readily but I’m cautious about it’s use on NZ gardens. I realise this is going against the zeitgeist, but hey, sometimes I’m a rebel. I prefer to plant things closer together. Overplanting doesn’t work with garlic so I’m making an exception for my 3 special heirloom varieties.
I’ve got strawberries in winter!
Painting the house a much darker shade has done wonders for the side gardens. It’s trapping so much heat that’s being radiated back into the gardens. How can I tell? I have strawberries in July! Admittedly, not many but they are red, zangy and yum. They’re tiny but that’s because they’re wild strawberry plants – never big but full of flavour.
Borage, pineapple sage, helleborus, feverfew, calendula, marigolds, alyssum, violets, heartsease, penstemons and one single nasturtium.
It’s three days before full moon – perfect for seed-sowing. But I’m taking a break this month – instead I’m looking through my collections, checking seed catalogues and planning for sowing next month.
More leeks and cavolo nero.