Well it’s been an amazing Spring so far, with beautiful rain at just the right times, spectacular thunder storms, & mostly warm nights. Our vege garden must be a month ahead of our usual production.

We are just starting to pick Zucchini, there are lots of tomatoes forming, the early spuds are ready to bandicoot a few off, we harvested the early garlic, just as we ran out of last years crop, & the Elephant Garlic, which is dotted all around the garden, is about to flower, the long stalks look very cool.

Herb garden, Potatoes & Elder Tree at back Tomatoes Lizzie's Bumpy Beans

The fat frog we had hoped would lay eggs in our pond, disappeared, so we have resorted to buying tadpoles. We bought 6 Bell Frog Taddies from the local petshop & 20 Whistling Tree Frog tadpoles from Trade Me. The Tree Frog tadpoles arrived safely from Nelson, by courier which was impressive. They are really tiny & very black. We have a plastic tank, which I filled with pond water & weeds a few weeks ago, so that by the time the tadpoles arrived it was a perfect environment for them, with plenty of weed & algae to eat. It’s on the deck where we can watch them, & I’ve taken the precaution of wrapping three sides with tin foil, so they don’t get too hot.  According to info I have gleaned so far, the tadpoles can take about 2 months to turn into froglets. I seem to remember from school biology that they are vegetarian until their legs appear & then become carnivorous. I must check it out, because I don’t want the Bell Frogs eating the tiny tadpoles, & I can give them raw mince or fishfood when the time is right. (I’ll get back with more on this later)

2 large Bell Frog Tadpoles & small Whistling Tree Frog tadpole about halfway up on left. Half Barrel Goldfish Pond

While I’m on the topic of things in water, we’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon, since we have been topping up our half-barrel with the water that we run through the copper still for cooling, there has been hardly any stringy green algae growing, which is great as it usually gets so thick the fish get tangled in it.

I picked the first of my beetroot babies today, to roast for a salad, they look very good, & I salvaged the young leaves to put into a green salad. We’ve finally forced ourselves to stop picking the Asparagus & already the ferns are over 1metre tall, this is their 3rd Spring. In contrast, the Asparagus seeds I sowed about 6 weeks ago are now tiny, tiny little ferns. I sowed one seed in each cell & had a great success rate for the Green variety, & the Purple ones are still germinating. These seeds came from Kings Seeds, really good value, if you don’t mind waiting a couple of years to harvest them.

Rhubarb & Asparagus Ferns Baby Asparagus Plants

Our new strawberry patch is cropping well & looking healthy, the Raspberries are a bit behind, because we transplanted them & cut them right back, but they will give us a good Autumn crop. The Rhubarb is huge, we’re going to have to get creative to use it up. The Globe Artichokes have got away on us, I must cut off the heads that are overblown to encourage new growth, we don’t eat them that often, but I love to have them in the garden.

Now is the time to take cuttings of Lemon Verbena, using the semi-hardwood stems, trim the leaves in half, & snip off the top, tender growth. Put them in a sandy mix, in a shady spot, where you’ll remember to water them. With luck, in a month or two you’ll have some young plants to pot up. I’ve been pruning a Variegated Elder by the workroom, which must have grown 2 metres this Spring, so I have used the prunings to turn into cuttings too.

We have had an interesting breakthrough for sinus problems. Geoff has had bad sinuses for 2 or 3 years now, off & on, but mostly on. He’s tried every supplement, herbal & homeopathic remedy he can think of, plus antibiotics & predisone, & an operation on one side, all to no avail. Through a series of conversations & lateral thinking, we came up with the idea that it could be a fungal problem. Research on Google confirmed that many sinus infections are in fact fungal in origin.

What we had to hand was the ointment we make for Athlete’s Foot, so Geoff started putting tiny dabs of that up his nose. Within a few days, most of the symptoms had abated, & he has been pretty much trouble-free since then, six weeks perhaps. We’ve tried the ointment on a couple of other people with similar success. We are planning to make a slightly modified version, which has coconut oil in it. In the meantime if you would like to be a Guinea Pig & try it out, we are happy to send you a small pot to try, if you are happy to cover postage, or we can add it to your order from our online shop for no charge.