Sunday, July 3, 2016

First frost of the year

Yesterday it dipped to 0, this morning it was -1, Brrrr a bit crispy for old gnomes. Luckily we were well warned so both the yen ben lemon and the clementine mandarin both slept under a nice cloth net. So far they look as though they have survived unscathed.

Frost fringing the lettuce
Tenderstem broccoli head lightly frosted

Pizza thyme with an edge
The cold start makes for for wonderful clear sunny days and the bees were doing their duty on the broad bean flowers

Bee forcing it's way into the broad bean flower, they are tightly closed

Posing praying mantis
This is a South African mantis, they are killing off the native New Zealand variety. The native mantis has a much wider neck, is always green in colour and has a distinctive large blue spot inside the front legs. The casings of eggs are also slightly different, the South African casing has quite pointy ends whereas the New Zealand ones are neater and rounder. The idea is to kill off the intruders eggs when you come across them.

This is the pointy ended egg casing the South African praying mantis hides under things, squash them when you find one

Invasive South African egg case, note the pointy ends, the NZ one is rounded

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Onward and upward

Now that the hump/hollow of the shortest day is behind us I am looking forward to longer evenings and spring in the near future
It has been remarkably warm and there is a self seeded tomato plant proudly showing off a bunch of flowers!

Self seeded tomato loves the weather

The nice fat bulbs of garlic have responded well, the trick to good fat bud growing is to keep the leaves nice and healthy, I shall do my best

The garlic is up and at it
The wonder of tenderstems broccoli, what a great plant/vegetable, when they start producing it is an all on effort to eat everything. Just had to cut out the largest of the new crop and they are large and lovely :)

The wonder of broccoli

Go the patch!

Lovely mesclun lettucci :)

and last of the autumn leaves in the gold bowl

Monday, June 6, 2016

Actual winter

Early June and the temperatures have finally started to drop, we haven't quite had a frost so far but I'm sure they can't be far away. The new yen ben lemon tree will need protection for a year or two so I'll have to keep an eye on the forecasts.
I noticed today the tenderstems broccoli are just showing a small head in the centre. I planted 18 nice fat garlic cloves in a sunny bed with compost and some blood and bone.

Up the garden path to the broccoli

Funny carrots and beetroot harvest

Rose hips for winter

Bees loving the gordonia flowers


Thursday, May 12, 2016

The month of May

We are still in a gentle state of early autumn, 21C during the day rarely dropping below 11C at night. Having to puff Derris Dust all over the things that the white butterfly seeks out (in the mornings when there is a bit of dew). Things like the tender stem broccoli which are growing amazingly well in these conditions

A fortnight ago

The tenderstem broccoli this evening

It was great to have my blog mentioned in the online version of NZ Gardener Magazine ( check out this Mags4gifts NZ gardener magazine )

Broad bean plants beginning to grow and show
Feijoa feast

Parsley forest canopy
An old bee in the grip of a praying mantis

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Preparing for winter

Have been busy spreading sheep poo pellets and compost around in the areas that will have things palnted like the tender stems broccoli seedlings that are almost ready. Just put in 20+ red onion seedlings as well as 1/2 dozen broad been babies. Need to pick them nice and young so they are tender and tasty without having to boil them to a standstill.

 Captured a nice image of good insects creating more good insects :)

Lady birds at it
Have been researching a new lemon tree and it sounds like a yen ben is the way to go, thin skin, the zest is excelent and few seeds, a lisbon variety. It is also a true lemon so the flovour is superior. Never realised that the popular meyer lemon is a mandarin/lemon hybrid, so it's definately gone as soon as we harvest the lemons it is now producing. The bit of vege garden will benifit from the extra space and light without it. In three weeks new yen ben plants will be available grafted onto trifoliata rootstock to make them even more frost resistant. They grow quite large up, to 4 meters, so the front lawn is definately the spot. If we bother with another lime tree it will be another bears for sure though.

There are things I find in the garden that get saved till I can think of an image for them :)

A collection of dead monarch butterflies in an abandoned waxeye nest