My winter citrus gardening project is finally completed. A couple of weeks ago, I dragged the citrus trees out of the glasshouse, and gave them each a trip on the wheel barrow out onto the patio. The next task was digging three very big wholes into the ground to make space for the citrus trees.
The first tree to go in was the lime tree. It only took a couple of bangs on the outside of the pot, and it loosened up enough for hubby and I together to lift the heavy plant into place.
Then it was just a task of filling in the hole, sprinkling both citrus fertilizer and water retention crystals onto the soil, and then watering the lime tree in.
Next up on the list was to do the same to the lemon tree, which is now sitting quite happily underneath the kitchen window in the herb garden.
And last of all was the mandarin tree, which is now sitting in front of the newly painted white fence in the front garden. If you've noticed the three green pegs in the ground, they're soil water monitoring sensors, which I can keep an eye on to see how much water each plant is getting. The pegs are connected to our weather station system, and I can check them online whenever I want.
I've repurposed the now empty large pots, and they're now housing three of our tomato plants, a yellow Honey Bee plant, a Pomodoro plant, and a Juane Flamme plant.
And last of all the planter box has been painted a pretty shade of sage green, and it is now full of annual herb plants.
I'm really happy with how this garden project has turned out. Now all I need to do is paint our patio garden furniture sage green, and then the whole area is spruced up. Over the summer I need to come up with a plan to protect the citrus from frosts and snow over winter, but for now I can just enjoy the fruits of my labour.
Have a wonderful day
Tomorrow may be first official day of spring, but out in the garden, spring is definitely already here. I thought I'd share with you what's happening here in the garden right now.
Daffodils: In my opinion the more tiny or frilly a daffodil is, the cuter they are. And they look even better when they're in a bucket.
Crocus: A number of crocuses are flowering in the garden, but I don't know what varieties they are, they were planted by a previous owner,
'Roses: My hybrid tea and floribunda roses have burst their buds, but as yet my new damask roses and climbing roses are still slumbering.
Blackcurrant: My huge blackcurrant bush has bust its buds as well, and it won't be long before it starts flowering. Its fruit is usually ready to harvest the week between Christmas and New Year.
Apricot: My two year old dwarf apricot tree has burst it's buds, and has started flowering. We will have more frosts between now and October, so I don't know if we'll get any fruit. I'll try and remember to put frost cloth on it in the meantime.
Rhubarb: My rhubarb plants have started to grow, I really do need to finish their garden bed. Hubby started "fixing" it last autumn, and it still isn't finished...
Quince: My quince tree has also bust its buds. It's still too small to carry any wonderful fruit, but I'll still be happy to see it flowering this spring.
Elderberry: Our self-seeded elderberry plant that grew all on its own in our garden has burst its buds as well. Elderberry shrubs grow wild all around Dunedin and Mosgiel, it's technically a weed, but I love popping out in the garden to collect elderflowers in late spring, and then elderberries in autumn. I love getting free food.
Plum: The plum street growing out on the street outside our home is now flowering, and its petals are like pink snow blowing all around. I love spring blossom.
Do you have signs of spring in your garden yet? I'm loving the longer, sunnier days...and I can't wait for summer to get here.
Have a wonderful day
It was a busy week seed sowing for Spring. I like to sow a mix of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds each week, so no individual job is too big at any one time.
Vegetable Seed Sowing this week:
- Pearl Drop Onions (for pickling)
- Italian Long Keeper Onions
- Pukekohe Long Keeper Onions
- Long White Spring Onions
- Santana Spinach
- Space Saver F1 Cabbage
- Summer Sprouting Purple Broccoli
- Coastline Lettuce
- Drunken Woman Fringed Lettuce
Herb Seed Sowing this week:
- Gigante Italian Parsley
- Celery for Cutting
Flower Seed Sowing this week:
- Alyssum Painters Palette
- Alyssum Carpet of Snow
- Pansy Imperial Antique Shads
- Pansy Purple Lace
- Viola Clear Colour Mix
- Viola Frizzle Swizzle
- Viola Imperial Antique Shades
- Calendula Dwarf Colours Mixed
- Calendula Nova (herbal variety)
- Snapdragon Potomac Lavender
- Statice Apricot
- Night Scented Stock
- Spring Sparkle Stock
- Allium Purple Sensation
- Allium Showy Persian Onion
I have super easy way of seed sowing annual flowers, a cheat way really. I have a lot of self seeded annual plants in my flower garden beds, and I keep an eye out in late winter to see when plants like calendula, pansies, and alyssum start germinating. Once I see that the ground is warm enough for that to happen, it's time to sow annual seeds.
I gather all my annual seeds, and start opening all the packets. Here is where the lazy part is, I dump all the seeds into one container. And once all the seeds are mixed in all together I go out into the garden and start sprinkling seeds around where I want my annual plants to grow.
Within a couple of weeks all the annual seeds start germinating, and since I know what the seedlings all look like, I know not to weed them out of the ground. It may be lazy, but it saves me heaps of time in not having to sow each seed out by hand. I also like the wild, non structured feel of where the plants grow, as compared to all my other plants in the garden.
I have also just popped all my poppy seeds into the fridge to vernalise for two weeks. After that I will sow those seeds in a similar manner. I already have poppy plants that have self seeded into the garden as well, but I wanted to add even more coloured varieties this year.
How is your seed sowing going? With sunrise coming at least a minute earlier every single day, I can just feel the coming of Spring deep within my bones. The sky is no longer dark when I wake up in the morning, and I look forward to seeing the sun pop over the hills as I make breakfast each morning.
Have a wonderful day
I can't resist a good plant catalogue, well any plant catalogue really. If one shows up in my mailbox with the plants all decked out in bright and colourful flowers, how can I resist buying bulbs in autumn for the coming spring?
Well I can't of course, and especially when they're tempting me with miniature plants. As you will see in spring, for some time I have been adding to my crocus and Tete a Tete daffodil collections. The tinier the plants the better, in my opinion.
Well this time the Garden Post plant catalogue offered me miniature irises. Teeny tiny irises that would be only 15 cm tall at most, and would be one of the first bulbs to flower in spring. Before I knew what I was doing, four different varieties were in my online shopping cart, and it wasn't too long before 28 bulbs arrived by courier. I ordered miniature irises in shades of blue and purple (Alida, Blue Note, J.S. Dijt, and Painted Lady).
The next weekend I weeded an area of the back garden, near a very small plastic pond with a waterfall that is solar powered. I pulled out my trusty bulb planter I bought a couple of years ago, and got to work.
I use my bulb planter for not only flower bulbs, but garlic bulbs also. The planter has a handy measurer on the side, so you know how deep to dig the soil depending on what bulb type you are planting. When you pull the plug of soil out of the ground with the planter, you just pop your bulb of choice into the hole, and then by squeezing the handle, it will release the soil back into the ground. If you are planting large amounts of bulbs, the planter will not only save you time, but also wear and tear on your joints too.
It wasn't long until all my new precious bulbs were in the ground. And now I wait, through all of autumn, and then winter, and hopefully fingers crossed, as we move into spring, my new miniature irises will appear. I can't wait to photograph them in all their glory.
Autumn has been such a busy time of year with many harvests and processing of produce happening at the moment. But not only that, I've recently had sinus surgery, followed, by a small complication, and now a sinus infection. I'm hoping to continue recovering from both the surgery, and the infection very soon, so I can get back out into the garden. The weeds are taking over, even though the weather is cooling considerably.
Have a wonderful day.Julie-Ann
Back in early September 2022, I had a hope as I do every year, that the tomato seedlings I was sowing into seed raising mix would grow strong and healthy, and would provide us with food over the summer, and then into autumn and winter as well.
Every year when the Kings Seeds catalogue arrives, I open it with glee, pouring through the pages, and circling all the many seeds I wish to purchase. My particular favorites are tomatoes, and I love to grow a wide variety for both eating fresh, and in cooking.
The tomatoes I chose to sow for the 2022/2023 growing season were:
- Tomato Juane Flamme (Orange, very tasty)
- Tomato Andy's Red F1
- Tomato Grosse Lisse (Beefsteak)
- Tomato Pomodoro (Cherry)
- Tomato Thessalonki (Beefsteak)
- Tomato Andiamo F1(Italian Cooking variety)
- Tomato Cocktail True Red F1 (Cocktail)
With all the many tomato seeds sown in domed seedling trays they were safely placed in the dining room in the sun, and close to the warmth of our woodburner.
In very early October, the seedlings that had come up were transferred into bigger, single pots, and transferred out into my glasshouse so they could continue growing.
We installed my glasshouse when we moved back home to Dunedin in 2019. It's an Allen Christie Regal Glasshouse, it's 2.4 m wide by 3.6 m long, and is zinc-alum coated with automatic vent openers. It really isn't possible to grow plants like tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, capsicums and chilli peppers in Dunedin without a glasshouse, so while we were house hunting we made sure our new home would have space for a glasshouse.
At the end of the first week of October, Dunedin got a snow warning. I wasn't overly optimistic that it would snow, but I didn't have a choice but to transfer all my seedlings that were in the glasshouse, into our spare bedroom for safety. If it did snow, the snow part wasn't what I was worried about, it was the frosts that would follow the snow that would kill all my seedlings off...
it started snowing the next morning. And the snow stuck around all day,
with numerous snow showers off and on between sunny spells. I was very
grateful for having brought all my precious tomato seedlings inside...
And when we woke up the next morning, we had 8 cm of snow on the ground.
It was like a winter wonderland, except, it was the middle of spring, and we never usually get snow this late at this time of the year. But at least my tomato seedlings were safe and warm, all tucked up in our spare bedroom. The snow slowly melted that day, and after a couple of frosts, normal spring weather returned to Dunedin.
My tomato plants were transferred into their final positions in the glasshouse, along with cucumber, basil, and capsicum and chilli plants.
It didn't take too much time before my tomato plants reached for the sky thanks to the warmth of the glasshouse, and by the first week of December, the first flowers had appeared.
Tomatoes began forming, and ripening, and on Boxing Day, our first ripened tomato (a Juane Flamme) was harvested.
As per my usual tradition, the first tomato is always eaten on some fresh, hot toast, with just a sprinkling of salt on top. It was delicious.
We're now into peak tomato harvesting season, and while some tomatoes are eaten fresh, most are frozen away to be used later. Later on in the season, some of the frozen tomatoes will be made into Tomato, Capsicum and Lime soup, and also turned into tomato sauce. I'll share both recipes with you when it is time to make them.
There really is so much to do in the vegetable garden at this time of the year, I really should get into the garden and harvest some more now...
Have a wonderful day,