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The Garden in Mid Winter

 

2 July 2012

It’s mid-Winter here right now and the garden has slowed right down, taking a big breath. There is a load of food in the garden, and not much work in the garden for a few weeks yet. Winter here is a lot colder and far more frosts than Northland!

We are eating a huge range of winter salad greens, endive, Winter lettuce, Joe’s lettuce, Miner’s lettuce, parsley, coriander, fennel, corn salad, spinach. We’re also eating a range of carrots, beetroot, Aomaru Koshun daikon turnips both Ohno Red and Henry’s White, plus loads of ferments made in the Autumn. And of course all the stored potatoes, kumara, pumpkins and Jerusalem artichokes. Although it was a terrible summer we are certainly not going hungry!

This is the first year in ages that we have our chickens hard out laying by early July. It has been hard looking after them well whilst shifting around so much but we got it sorted this year! We have been feeding them a little seaweed meal and chicken minerals everyday and they only took 3-6 weeks to moult. Their bright colours are back again and they are back onto the lay. We have Golden Wyandottes, and they are such beautiful birds. Their eggs aren’t as large as the Leghorns but they go clucky and hatch our replacements and fatten up well for a roast!

Over the next few weeks we will be planting our orchard. The fruit trees will go in at quite wide spacings (6m) so that we have plenty of room for all the legumes in early Spring. Our intention is that in addition to our orchard providing fruit for us, it will also provide as many seeds and sources of protein as possible for the chickens. We want to get off the ‘buying grains’ treadmill as fast as we can. We have worm farms, where we grow worms for the chickens which are fed our own cow manure, and that has proved very successful so we are going to increase the size of that operation to provide the bulk of the chickens winter protein while the comfrey is dormant.

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