Unfortunately I still have the virus with the annoying cough that never goes away, that has been going around during winter. I don’t know about other countries but it has been going around Australia as I’m doing Weight Watchers to try and help me maintain a healthy weight and look after my health. My personal coach is in Sydney and when I asked, she said it was going around there, too. I’ve had it for six weeks now. For the first four weeks, I remained in bed all day because I was so determined to recover completely so I could get back into the garden. But that didn’t happen and it got worse. In the end, I was so fed up that I decided to just get on with it, even though I think you’re supposed to rest when you’re sick. A friend told me that her father had the same virus the entire winter. If everything comes to a standstill simply because I’m sick, I won’t be able to have a summer garden. I was really looking forward to having one, even if it’s on a smaller scale than previous years to make things easier for me to manage.
New veggie seedlings
Because I was sick with the virus, I was unable to start sowing seeds early in August and September, in order to avoid buying plants which has become very expensive these days. Sowing seeds then means that my plants will be large enough to plant outside when it is warm enough and not too late as the plants need enough time to grow and develop before they crop. If you leave it too late, you risk them not maturing in time, especially since our summers have been getting shorter in previous years. I was therefore in the unfortunate position of having to purchase veggie seedlings, which I did last weekend as Kings Plant Barn had a 25% off sale. Even with the discount (which I was grateful for), it was pretty expensive. These days, 6-cell punnets are $4-5 each. Potted veggies range between $3-5 each, sometimes more if they are special varieties or large grade plants.
Most of the plants are being kept in our greenhouse until it is warmer, after which time I will move them into our patio to harden off (become exposed to outdoor temperatures) before being planted outside. Here is a picture of the herbs and spring onions I have planted in containers in our patio, which is outside our kitchen, for convenience. I planted Italian parsley, curly parsley, chives, thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary.
Seedlings I raised from seed
About a fortnight ago, I sowed some seeds and I have just started potting them up. The plants I purchased will give me a head start and these ones will follow. I like to stagger my sowings and plantings so I have back ups incase the plants I put in early die. It also helps to have a continuous supply of crops during the summer.
A week ago, I harvested these bananas from our tree that had been growing on top of the roof! I had to saw the branch down, which was a really hard job and I had to be careful not to get injured in the process. The hardest part was sawing it down into small pieces so they could be disposed of in our garden waste bin. Although it was only an hour's work, it was incredibly labour intensive.
I have been busy harvesting more early Liseta potatoes. This is what I dug up by using my hands and feeling around the base of the plants the other day. I left the plants in the ground and will harvest the rest by the end of the month. Liseta is my favourite early variety. It has waxy skin and is best used for boiling rather than baking. It’s better to use main crop varieties such as Agria which are floury in texture for that.
Our Agria potatoes are developing nicely and I look forward to harvesting them towards the end of November. I will use the space to plant my dahlia tubers, which have started sprouting in the greenhouse. As you can see from the photo, our cat Ginger adores sleeping there amongst my tubers.
We have been busy harvesting veggies from the garden bed that I planted my seedlings from Awapuni in back in June. Awapuni kindly gave me a voucher as part of our collaboration. I highly recommend their high quality and large grade seedlings. Their service is excellent and they deliver on the overnight courier. Keep an eye out for specials on their website. You can sign up to email notifications so you don’t miss out.
I signed up to Google analytics so I can see where my readers are from and what blog posts and articles get the most views, so I get a sense of what people find interesting. At first, I was very surprised that my audience was so diverse and global, as I thought my readers were mostly in New Zealand. Don’t worry, I don’t know who you are! I don’t think you can find out nor do I want to know. People are entitled to privacy and should be able to browse my gardening blogs and newsletters in peace. When I checked today, I had visitors from the following countries (in the order of number of visitors): India, NZ, US, Australia, UK, France, Sweden, Ireland, Nepal, Pakistan, UAE, Canada, Argentina, Bangladesh, Singapore, Thailand, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, French Polynesia, Germany, Greece, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Malaysia, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka. I didn’t expect to have a global audience so I try and bear this in mind when creating content.
Kuipers Family Farm
A girl called Sheree who used to be a PT at the gym I go to and is now a nutritionist is spending three months in the US with her clients and friends there. She went to this really cool place in Illinois called Kuipers Family Farm. It's really interesting because I don't think there are places in NZ like this that are open to the public, at least not to my knowledge. They have fields with sunflowers and zinnias and they also grow pumpkins which they turn into an event in the harvesting season. I am going to catch up with Sheree via Zoom to follow up on some advice she gave at a health seminar held at the gym. I look forward to hearing about where she is now and what she is doing.