It’s all on here now, straight from winter to summer, in terms of temperature!
It’s hard to believe that we may still get frosts, it is a balancing act now to get seedlings in the ground as soon as possible but not so early that they’ll be frosted. Ken Ring is predicting a very cold period in October and the possibility of snow here we are so I have frost cloth at hand this year for potatoes, early pumpkins.
My potatoes are up and have been hilled up already, keeping those tips away from the psyllid and frosts. I’ll be taking care of them like precious babies again this season. I’m following the same program as per our potato research trials, with regular foliar feeding and compost tea applications, and monitoring them for psyllids, and using our Biopesticide well before they appear hopefully, which probably means we should begin applying that about now, or at least before the end of October Our tomatoes will receive the same super nutrition program as the tomatoes.
If you come to a Koanga Guided Tour here over summer you’ll be able to check out our potato trials and our huge tomato growout this season.
Yams did very well here last year, mine are in now…. And I have my Southland Sno peas in too. The perennial runner beans are beginning to come through the mulch.. this year I’ve decided to grow only perennial runners for my green and dried beans, far less work.
Pumpkin Planting Time
It’s time to plant pumpkins… I’m always restricted by whatever pumpkins the Koanga Institute needs to be growing for seed. They cross over such long distances. This year we’ve done some bargaining and I’m growing Delicata and Buttercup, two of my early favourites, and Tes is growing Chucks Winter and Crown, two of the long keepers. I’ve persauded Franzi , who is in a house down the road to grow Blue Hubbard and other long keeper so there’ll be a good choice. We all also have Austrian Hulless, which together with linseed (Essene flaxseed) makes excellent crackers to put our herb cheese recipe below on! The Institute is growing Cocozelle for seed this year so we all have to eat Cocozelle courgettes, I prefer Crookneck by far although Cocozelle is very reliable and prolific.
It’s also not to late to plant tomato and pepper seed, so be in if you haven’t already done so. I’ve planted two cultivars that can be saved for seed for the Institute, that I also love to eat and ferment to make our tomato preserves. Island Bay and Riverside Market. I can only grow 1 pepper at home because I also save them for seed and my choice is Yugoslav paprika which I use for everything including fermented pepper sauce.
We grow hot peppers in one of the Institute isolation gardens, to prevent crossing and we’ll all use the peppers left after saving seed to make our hot sauce, once again fermented.
It’s 18 months since most of our home fruit trees went in, and 12 months since we began planting the 7 layers of support trees, bushes etc to go with the fruit trees. We have a long way to go but it’s beginning to look and feel very exciting. The Siberian Pea trees ( legumes that enjoy wet spots and are great chicken forage trees) are shooting again after the winter with their delicate foliage, the Maakia amurensis (legumes that enjoy very wet places)) are shooting up too, the Acacia retinoides are flowering as are the tagasate, which we have been chopping and dropping already several time in the first year. The cardoons, mineral accumulators are coming back after the winter, the goumi ( Eleaganus multiflora), also legumes, are flowering strongly, and the muscovies are keeping the grass down while it all gets going. I’ll be adding many more species next autumn winter. My Design Your Own Forest Garden Booklet will be available before Xmas this year. It’s next on the list after the Urban Garden Design Booklet which is about to be printed.
My first ever serious berry patch is beginning to look as though we’ll get serious production out of it. This year the raspberries will be a wall of fruit ( 8m long), and all of the gooseberries, and currants have their first fruit on them, as well as my Worcester berry. Our Pouto Blackberries will be ready for Xmas Day blackberry pie so we’ll be thinking of Logan Forest on that day. The fence between my vege garden and the forest garden has argutas being trained along it and this year they will grow to make a rail all along the top of that fence, so my new garden is beginning to take shape. The blueberry patch Bob and I Planted last winter is now just beginning to show new growth. This is the NZ heritage blueberry collection, donated to our collection by Cristina and Christopher Frey of Taranaki, so many exciting things to grow and try.
This the egg season and the milk season! We have loads of both. As we turn to warmer weather salads are welcome and this egg salad is loved by all.
Kay’s Egg Salad
Hard boil 8 eggs, cool and shell. Mash the eggs and add 1 large Tbspn of butter, 1 desertspoon of mustard ( whatever your favourite is see Change of Heart for a fermented version) , add salt to taste and cracked pepper plus as many finely chopped spring herbs as you will enjoy in the egg. I always use Multiplying Spring onions or Welsh Bunching onions finely chopped plus whatever else there, often sorrel, parsley, coriander etc etc. Mix well.
Shaked’s Israeli version of a cheese salad has been loved by all here too. We make kefir cheese but it can be yoghurt cheese as well. Take 1 cup of cheese, Add 1 Tbspn good quality olive oil, NZ cold pressed is in the supermarkets now for a good price, add salt to taste and finely chopped herbs, paprika and maybe a little fermented hot chilli sauce mix well and serve on sourdough bread etc etc.