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
Yes, I've been buying more plants, and I know I don't have anyone to blame but myself.
I've been looking to buy a Camellia sinensis bush, aka the plant Tea comes from, ever since we moved back to Dunedin. I've always wanted to grow, process, and then drink my own tea. Except I've never found the plant for sale at all in my many trips to local garden centers over the past four years. It finally came to the point that I started looking online, and luckily I found that The Plant Store did indeed stock them. So I handed over the expensive shipping fee, and within a week my new tea plant arrived. It's not very big at the moment, but it's now happily sitting in the area of the garden where my fruit trees live. I'm hoping in the coming years that I can indeed enjoy a cup of my own tea.
I also have recently bought two more dahlia plants...and they arrived by courier this week. Yes, I have no where to grow them at the moment, but I will squeeze them in somewhere I'm sure. I totally blame the email from Bulbs Direct which arrived in my inbox last week. They had just restocked their most popular dahlia bulbs, and I managed to get two of the dahlias that I missed out on earlier this year.
The first one is dinner plate dahlia Arthur Hambley:
And the second one is dinner plate dahlia Cafe De Paris, a sport of Cafe Au Lait:
I also wanted the dahlia bulb Cafe Au Lait Royal to add to my collection of Cafe Au Lait dahlias, but it had sold out in the minute between the email arriving, and me getting onto the website. Maybe next year I'll get one...
Have you been plant shopping recently? I'd love to know what plant goodies you've picked up.
Have a wonderful day
It's now the part of spring where everything is growing quickly, and unfortunately that also includes many weeds. The good thing though is that we finally have stuff to harvest in the garden.
Our rhubarb plant has shot away and has produced many leaves, so it was time to harvest the first of the stems. We mostly use our rhubarb for our rhubarb and ginger meringue pie.
I pulled a bunch of rhubarb out off the plant, cut off the leaves,
and then cut the stems up into pieces to freeze away in our chest
freezer. I find that six stems of rhubarb are enough to make one rhubarb
and ginger meringue pie, so I freeze them away in batches of those. The good thing about freezing them is that the process turns the rhubarb into mush, which makes them easier to cook with afterward.
The next thing to harvest is peppermint. I like to harvest our peppermint in early spring for making dried peppermint leaves for peppermint tea. Our peppermint patch pops up everywhere in the herb garden, and beyond, so I just find whatever is on the edges, and then harvest them. It's really easy to do, just pull out any rogue peppermint stems, rinse them, and then pull off the leaves to slowly air dry, or by putting in the dehydrator. I dehydrate ours, and it doesn't take very long at all.
The first harvest of calendula flowers was also ready, and it is one of my favorite plants. Not only do bees love it, but you can use it in all sorts of products around the home.
I just pick the flowers when they're fully open, and then rinse and pat them dry before putting them in the dehydrator along with the peppermint leaves.
The last thing to harvest was the first of our strawberries. They weren't the most prettiest strawberries in the world, but they were good enough to put in the chest freezer for making strawberry jam later on in the growing season.
Are you harvesting anything in the garden yet? Labour weekend is this weekend, and it's a pretty busy time in the vegetable garden. All the garden beds have been dug, and I can't wait to get stuck in and plant everything currently sitting in our glasshouse.
Have a wonderful day
During last year's growing season I had a Serrano chilli plant growing in our glasshouse, and over summer it gave me an abundant harvest of both green and red chillies. I picked so many chillies that I had no idea what to do with them all. I gave away as many as I could, and then with the rest I decided to dry them. We mainly use chillies as dried chilli powder in the kitchen throughout the year, so this method to prepare them was the best way to use all the left over chillies.
I waited until I had a big chlli harvest (some had already started drying out whole), and I cut off all the tops off before splitting them down the middle and removing the seeds (while wearing gloves). I then dried them in our dehydrator on trays at a temperature of 50˚C.
The smell was quite pungent, so initially the dehydrator was sitting outside under our veranda for the day, and then in the garage after that.
Once the chillies were dry, they were stored whole in a plastic container until it was time to grind them.
Last week, I finally got around to actually grinding them in our coffee and spice grinder. So as not to stink out the house with powdered chilli, I placed the grinder under the rangehood with it turned on.
It didn't take very long to turn the chilli into powder. It didn't make as much as I thought it would, so I think that this year I won't give as much away, so we'll have more chilli powder for ourselves.
And we've already used our new chilli powder in a meal, we made chilli con carne that very night. It wasn't too spicy, but it had a really great flavor that we liked. I'm definitely happy to make even more chilli powder this coming growing season.
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