My dahlia pre-order finally arrived from GardenPost a couple of weeks ago. I ordered three dahlia varieties from them back at the beginning of June, and I had been impatiently waiting for them to arrive since then.
After taking them out of their courier box, the instructions on the bags said to plant them straight away.
I dug all their planting holes in various parts of the garden according to my dahlia planting plan I had scribbled on a post it note months ago, and then opened up all of the bags.
All the dahlias came with healthy looking growing shoots at the tip, and there were a number of healthy tubers inside, with no sign of rot or disease. The only thing left to do was to plant them in the ground. The instructions on the bag said to plant them 5 - 10 cm below ground level, so after checking that would be the case for each dahlia planting hole, I carefully covered the dahlias over, taking care to not damage the shoots, and then I labelled each of their positions.
I still have another dahlia pre-order waiting to arrive from Bulbs Direct, but they haven't sent out their pre-orders yet.
I am looking forward to them sprouting, growing, and then flowering over the coming months.
Have a wonderful day
When we moved from Wellington back to Dunedin in October 2019, our new home came with a large outdoor aviary. At first I really wasn't sure what to do with it, but after a couple of weeks I came up with a perfect idea—if birds couldn't get out of the bird cage, then that meant that birds also couldn't get in. It would make a great berry cage to protect all the precious strawberries, raspberries and blueberries I wanted to grow in the garden.
Over the next couple of months I removed all the nesting boxes and bird related stuff, and began turning it into a berry cage by making sure that light and rain could get in. When all that was completed, I then planted a raspberry bush, multiple strawberry plants, and three varieties of blueberries. All these plants have grown very well in the last three years thanks to the previous inhabitants droppings, and it has now come to the point that the blueberries have outgrown the small space that I gave them in the berry cage to live.
So this meant that I had to find somewhere else to grow them in the garden. There is a section of the garden down near the clothes line that already had a gooseberry bush, a giant blackcurrant bush, rhubarb, and a dwarf apricot tree I planted last year. I had began clearing up all the overgrown weeds in that section of the garden last autumn, but after my sinus operation that all came to a halt.
By the time I got back around to tidying that section of the garden this month, the weeds had all returned in a vengeance. Hubby has helped me tackle this area over the last couple of weeks, and last weekend he dug four holes for me, three for the blueberry bushes, and one for the tea plant I had ordered online, but hadn't arrived yet.
As you can see from the above photo, Luna, our neighbour's cat came and helped me with the transplanting. She is a very good girl, who I will miss very much, as her owners have just sold their house, and Luna will soon be living elsewhere. I think she mainly helped because I have catnip growing in the berry cage, and she wanted to partake in its benefits...
It didn't take long to transplant the blueberries, and they have bounced back quite quick, which is great. I have also transplanted some natural dye plants I had growing in the vege garden, into this garden space as well. I am growing St Johns Wort, Woad, Madder, Tormentil, and Lemon Sorrel to hopefully dye with later on in the growing season.
I know that I will now have to net my blueberries from the birds, but I will deal with that closer to the time. I hope that very soon my blueberry bushes will provide me with lots of delicious blueberries to eat and put in smoothies over the coming summer.
Have a wonderful day
I finally started planting out my potato tubers for the spring growing season. I meant to do it a couple of weeks ago, but more urgent gardening tasks got in the way. Every year I grow four different varieties of potatoes in the garden, and each variety we use for different reasons.
The first potato variety I grow is Rocket, it's a 1st early potato which only takes 60 - 70 days to maturity. I like planting these in early to mid-September as it means they will be the first potatoes to be ready to eat in mid-November for boiling and roasting. The second variety of potato I grow is Jersey Bennes which is a 1st early potato that reaches maturity in 80 - 90 days. When planted at this time of the year the potatoes will be ready to eat in time for Christmas, and we eat them boiled and also in potato salads.
The other two varieties of potato I grow are Ilam Hardy and Haylo, but they won't be planted until October. Ilam Hardy is a 2nd early/main potato that takes 70 - 80 days to maturity, and is great for mashing, baking, roasting, chips, and wedges. We mainly use this potato for turning into gnocchi, and also in potato and leek soup. The last variety of potato I grow is Haylo, which is an improved variety from the Agria variety potato. It is in my opinion the best roasting potato, and we in fact did an experiment one year to test this. I grew Ilam Hardy, Agria, and Haylo one year, and compared roasting them using hubby's double cooking method for making roast potatoes. Haylo was by far the best tasting roasted potato variety. Haylo is a 2nd early/main potato, and matures in 80 - 90 days.
With these four varieties of potato growing in the garden, we are self sufficient in eating potatoes pretty much throughout the year in various forms, thanks to storing gnochhi and potato and leek soup away in our chest freezer.
I began chitting both the Rocket and Jersey Bennes potato varieties back at the beginning of August, and it wasn't long at all before they started growing, and by the time it was actually time to plant them, they'd unfortunately gotten too big. A disappointment for sure, but they were still fine to plant into the ground, I did so very carefully, taking care not to break any growing shoots.
After digging two trenches in an area of the vegetable garden, I sowed five of each of the Rocket and Jersey Benne tubers into the ground. I always plant them in order from right to left, with the Rocket on the far right, then the Jersey Bennes to the left of them. Experience has taught me that the Rocket variety will indeed rocket up and produce a copious amount of leaves which will smother any other growing potato plant varieties, and block them from sunlight given half a chance. If I do it this way, any new rows of potatoes will get morning sun preferentially to the rocket potatoes.
It didn't take very long to plant those potato varieties, and then gently cover them over with soil. For the next few weeks as they grow up they'll be safe from any late frosts, and once they're above ground, I'll cover them with frost cloth every night until the last frost has passed.
In a couple of weeks it'll be time to plant the Ilam Hardy and Haylo potato varieties, but before that can be done, I need to transplant some dye plants I have in that part of the vege garden. But before that can be done, I have to prepare another area of the garden for the dye plants to move into...
It's pretty much a big juggling job in the garden right now, with the most urgent tasks being done first, even though they may not be the tasks I want to do. And I'm now behind in seed sowing as well, but I will get there I'm sure. The next rainy day in the garden will be a huge seed sowing session, and my aim will be to sow everything else that needs to be sown.
Have a wonderful day
It's been another busy week in the garden, with warm and mild weather to welcome the start of spring.
I had to repot my chilli, capsicum and tomato seedlings in the last week, as they'd gotten too big for their plastic small glasshouses in the dining room. They're now happily situated in their now bigger pots with potting mix in the glasshouse, and are sitting in a frame which is wrapped up with multiple layers of frost cloth each night. If there's even a hint of bad frosts or snow, they'll be back inside the house in our spare bedroom until the bad weather passes.
Seed sowing is still underway, and will continue through spring.
Vege seeds sown this week:
- Pumpkin Crown Prince F1
- Pumpkin Musquee De Provence
- Pumpkin Baby Bear
- Pumpkin Marina Di Chioggia
- Maize Manaia
Herbs sown this week:
- Chamomile Roman
- Chamomile German
Flowers sown this week:
- Eupatorium Hemp Agrimony
- Gypsophila Snowflakes
- Gypsophila Deep Carmine
- Yarrow Summer Pastels
- Valerian officinalis
There's so much more seed to sow, and things to do in the garden, but work is also busy right now in the lead up to the Christmas season, with me preparing eco textile products for inclusion in the online craft artisan website Felt gift guide. I hope I can balance the two between now and Christmas.
Have a wonderful day