chrysanthemums salvia cut flowers

In a Vase on Monday, one month apart

It’s a month since I brought home flowers. Time is ripping past and there is so much to do on the house, in the garden, and at work that there just doesn’t seem to be time.
fruit and flowers with pumpkin
But yesterday I decided to pick some Mother’s day flowers for a close friend.
So here are last month’s flowers and yesterday’s flowers.
fall flowers and pumpkinsChrysanthemums are flowering now, the last of the pumpkins are inside, and the anemones are almost gone.
anemone roses and dahlias cut flowersWeirdly, I found the first of the Paper Whites flowering yesterday – although the weather is unseasonably warm.

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Organically grown tomatoes in trug

Peak Bruschetta

Finally, enough big tomatoes! We have had a grafted sweet100 giving us buckets of little tomatoes since November, but I was late getting the big toms in so we have been on Bruschetta rationing until now.
Big orange tomato saved seed organically grown

I like bruschetta to have one thick slice of raw tomato covering a full piece of sourdough toasted on the barbecue with olive oil and balsamic, topped with basil and Parmesan. This is the best way to appreciate the lovely patterns on the inside of these big tomatoes, but it’s very messy to eat.

Tomatillos to Green Sauce

I saw canned tomatillos in the shop the other day.  Aside from the fact they had travelled for miles and were $11.00 a can (!), they grow like weeds, and are so much better fresh. And if you are going to bottle them it makes sense to me to do them as green sauce – ready to make enchiladas or tacos when you open it.

tomatillos with lime and chiles

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Cool Summer

I’ve got myself in a state where I don’t like my photos any more, so I’m using  C’s photos until that changes.

The long hot days of summer have not really materialised this year, and a flock of baby crickets in the bed last night signal the end wIll be starting soon. The weather has been patchy and cool for what should have been the warmest months. We have had mists and rains, while the East coast has been verging on drought. Never-the-less it was a treat to have enough water to water plants that needed it, and there is always something that likes the weather.

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Many of our fruit trees are just starting to really produce, including the grape vine, and the cool weather doesn’t seem to have worried them. The plums have been fantastic this year, and I made a beautiful jelly yesterday from the Louisa plums which had fallen off the tree or cracked in the rain. The Satsuma plums have produced heavily and don’t seem to crack. They are delicious dried so we have had the driers running flat out. I’ve made verjuice with the grapes, and it’s lovely.

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The misty weather caught us out in a couple of shortcuts we thought we could get away with in our frantic haste this spring. One was to to plant an early Agria potato crop using potatoes left from last year, the other was to re-use last year’s tomato frames without moving them. All spring and early summer we had lots of yummy chips, but a couple weeks ago the potatoes all got blight and had to be dug up, including the Red Fantasy (strange name but a beautiful potato) which could have produced more.

Everything is late, with our first pick of enough tomatoes for sauce only 2 weeks ago, and chillies and peppers just starting to flower. The tomatoes are showing signs of blight, but if we can only have a stretch of warm dryish weather we can still get a crop I think. The parsnips are only small still, however they can last well into winter.

Kumara and Zucchini are doing well, and the watermelons in the greenhouse are getting good sized melons, but our most successful crop this year has been micro/mini greens. We started growing these in the greenhouse in raised beds last Autumn , and it worked so well that we built some more outside. In the photo you can see a newly planted bed and an older one.

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We have had fabulous salads all summer with baby amaranth, radish, beetroot, chicory, lettuce, basil, corn salad, coriander, mustard, sorrel, purple cabbage, and pea ‘feathers’. It would be nice to cut them every day, but a big container full lasts all week if kept in the fridge. It does use a lot of seed, so I have been rescuing some of the mini greens when they are finished harvesting and growing them on for seed. This looks a bit messy in the garden, and I have to fight the birds for the brassica seeds, but I have been successful so far with mustard, cabbage, radish, coriander, ruby chard, and beetroot.

 

bumble bee on dianthus

Flowers for Bees in mid Summer

Artichokes, scarlet runner beans, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatillos and other vegetables,  herbs, and flowers were full of bees in January.

Scarlet runner beans are so pretty and useful. This year I collected the mature beans to try as dried beans, since they get past it so quickly. The dried beans are very pretty, but I have yet to taste them.

bumble bee on scarlet runnerOregano flowers are extra popular.

honey bee on oregano

bumble bee on oregano

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Hokianga Red and gold corn for drying

Kumara, Corn, Zucchini seeds: too late, too late

It’s December and suddenly it’s almost too late. The lack of shelter makes it risky planting early, wet soil can’t be dug, and then suddenly it’s a race.

I’ve only just planted the zucchini seed – 2 types: Zephyr(F1) and an Italian – Costasta romanesco, in pots in the greenhouse . I’m not crazy about F1 seed because it can’t be saved, but Zephyr is very sweet, keeps producing over a long time, and is pretty: bright yellow with a green end, looking like they’ve been dipped in a pot of green paint. And zucchini crosses madly anyway, so saving seed leads to surprises and not always nice ones.

I found today that the mandarin we call ‘Richard the Ungrateful’ has died.

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tomato seedlings

Tomato transplanting, it begins

I arrived last Friday at the end of the day and the Moonglow tomatoes clearly needed transplanting. Their roots were small but their tops were tangling together. There was an extra hour of daylight thanks to daylight saving so I got into it and transplanted about 50 seedlings into separate pots.

I start to feel like the magician’s apprentice at this time of year, no sooner have I transplanted one flat of seedlings the next one is needing attention, and as I finish the last flat the first lot of small pots need to go into bigger pots, and so on. It’s not going to stop until I get everything into the ground sometime in November.

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Tomatoes seedlings

Seeds are up, and more chiles on the hot pad

The Moonglow and Golden Grape tomatoes are up in the greenhouse. These are the special healthy orange tomatoes; I saved seed from them last year. They are good for you to eat raw, they don’t need cooking to have good levels of lycopene. The golden Grape are small in every way, the seeds are small, and the seedlings are tiny compared to the Moonglow.

Continue reading “Seeds are up, and more chiles on the hot pad”