Well, here we are, already at the end of January. I can dimly remember when I was little how a year seemed such a huge, incomprehensible amount of time, now it seems like something that rushes by dragging behind it lists of things to do, projects, plans & good intentions, followed by a breathless feeling of ‘where did the time go?’ One of my good intentions was to write more regularly in the blog, but already I am thwarted, (by myself because I follow my nose, I go into the garden to take photos & end up weeding for several hours…that kind of thing.) Enough about me, what you’re really hear to find out is what’s going on in the gardens etc.

As many of you know all too well, the weather has been erratic, how’s that for understatement? In one 24 hour period our maximum/minimum thermometer read 6 degrees& 36 degrees. We have had the impending sense of serious drought, relieved by over 100ml of rain in two nights & a day, amazingly there was hardly any run off, the land just soaked it all up, our creek barely changed. We watched in appalled shock the scenes of flooding in Australia, made more scary because we have family near Brisbane & Echuca, fortunately they were fine. It’s very sobering to see the power of nature & what helpless ants we are in the face of such large scale devastation. What amazes & touches me, is the resilience of people & communities to clean up the mess & get on with life. I am having trouble staying focussed, see this is exactly the problem I have with getting things done.

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Ok, since I last wrote we have harvested our garlic, great crop, onions: pretty crap crop, lots with bull necks & small, probably from the black mould they got. Must remember to plant well away next season. We’ve planted leeks, & now the soil is moist I plan to put in a whole lot of root crop seeds. We found an online moon calender to print off, from the New Zealand Gardener, a simple round one that you can rotate to see what to do when, ‘ideally’ Our potatoes are looking great & we’ve started diggiing the Ilam Hardys, which are an early crop. Geoff has been giving me a hard time about planting numerous zucchini, & yes we do have a plentiful supply, but I’ve discovered that not only do we have about 20 eggplants in, but about 8 cucumber plants, so we also have bounty from them. We got a packet of mixed pumpkin seeds from Niche, with 6 different sorts, including 2 french varieties & Sweet Dumpling, which has fruit on that look ready to pick, so we’ll have to try one soon.

 

The tomatoes are starting to crop, the bush ones were initially quite small, (lack of water) but are filling out now, & the staked ones are not too far away. We used to do all sorts of fancy sauces & bottling but now mostly wash them & freeze them whole to use later. I will cook some up with zucchini, if there’s any to spare, & freeze for casseroles. The herbs have produced well, St John’s Wort is still flowering & we are picking every flower to put into oil, as we’ll need about 40 litres to see us through the year.

The Arnica has been really prolific, we started a new plot & the plants are obviously very happy. Also picking German Chamomile to dry, & have made up tinctures of Hypercal & Arnica.Now is the time to pick herbs to dry for the Winter, ideally just before they flower, Sweet Marjoram & Lemon Savory are drying in our garden caravan, out of the sun, but nice & warm.The plums are a bit sad this year, because they got so wrecked last year, but looks like we’ll have lots of pears & apples, & masses of walnuts, I love walnuts, can’t bake cakes or biscuits without them.

We bought some Cannas on Trade Me, about 6 different colours, they are growing on in pots for the time being, we’ll plant them next Spring, they are perfect in our garden, cover up the couch grass, & look spectacular in late Summer.

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