Over Labour Weekend in October hubby and I planted our vegetable garden for the summer.
My first task was to weed the garlic growing in the smallest vegetable garden bed, and then also sow onions, carrots, beetroot, radish, sugarbeet and carrot seeds as well.
Hubby then dug over the two remaining large garden beds, and I added sheep pallet fertilizer for the soon to be growing plants.
For the next bed, which was already growing peas and potato plants by now, I added lettuce, rocket, black turtle beans, summer sprouting broccoli, and cabbage, that I had been growing in the glasshouse.
With the last large garden bed I planted maize, corn, and pumpkin plants in the top half. In the bottom half of the garden bed I sowed wheat and linen flax seeds, while hubby acted as a scarecrow to keep the birds off them, and then we double bird netted the seeds to protect them from the birds.
With most of the glasshouse now empty of plants, we emptied out the space, and hubby dug over the garden bed. After that there was just the task of fertilising the soil, and then planting cucumbers, basil, chillies, capsicum and many tomato plants. There was also the big task of setting up all the climbing frames for the growing plants.
It's been a few weeks now, and everything is growing nicely in the garden, despite low snow falling the week after we planted everything. I can't wait to feast on all our vegetables over the coming summer.
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
We're now into the last month of winter, and it's finally time to start sowing seed for spring. It's a tricky time of the year, as it's possible to get snow here in Dunedin even into the first week of October, so there's nothing worse than sowing seeds too early, and then having to try and keep them alive if there's a late frost or snow in early October. Last year we had snow laying on the ground the first week of October, and a couple of frosts the weeks after that, so it was a stressful time trying to keep all my seedlings alive, looking after my growing potato plants, as well as my new dahlias which had just popped out of the ground. Seedlings don't get transferred outside and into the vegetable garden until Labour Weekend, which is the third weekend of October, so that's a long way off right now.
I have a specific order in which to germinate seeds, so that I don't have too many plants sitting in the glasshouse for such a long period of time. The first seeds sown are my tomato plants. I grow enough plants for our own needs, but also for family members as well. I usually have at least 12 plants growing in our glasshouse, and poke any others that are spare in free space I have in the vegetable garden. We eat a lot of tomatoes fresh throughout the summer, but the bulk of it is frozen away for using in autumn and winter cooking.
This year I'm growing the following tomato varieties:
Franchi Sementi Pomodoro Red Cherry - A red cocktail tomato with great taste. This is no longer for sale in New Zealand, I save this seed every year.
Kings Honeybee F1 - I haven't tried this one before, I wanted to try another cocktail tomato, we'll see how this goes. One of my sister's grows her tomatoes outside, and it's far easier to ripen smaller tomatoes in Dunedin's short summers.
Kings Tomato Juane Flamme - Our favorite tomato, an orange tomato with the best taste of any tomato I've ever grown.
Tomato Grosse Lisse - A beefsteak tomato that was a favorite of my grandfather. The best tomato for putting a slice on a hot piece of toast, and eating it with a pinch of salt on top.
Tomato Island Bay Italian - I haven't grown this tomato variety before, but I've heard good things about it. Good for eating fresh and processing apparently.
Tomato Lebanese - Also a new tomato variety this year, I'm hoping it will have good disease resistance, and tastes good too.
The next seeds to be germinated are my chilli and capsicums plants. I've successfully grown chillies in our greenhouse, but I haven't had any luck with the big traditional bell pepper capsicums.
This year I'll be growing the following chillies and peppers:
Chilli Serrano - I had a huge crop of chilli last season, so I'm growing this variety again.
Alma Paprika Pepper - Trying once again to grow my own paprika. Last season they didn't grow as well as I hoped, am trying again for the last time.
Capsicum Marconi Red - A prolific sweet Italian variety. I'm hoping that it's narrow shape will mean it ripens faster.
Capsicum Orange Sun - My last attempt at growing a bell pepper variety.
Capsicum Red Bell F1 - Also another last attempt at successfully growing a bell pepper variety.
The tomato and chilli seeds were sown into two mini greenhouses, and placed in a warm sunny spot in our dining room. It's warm in there on sunny days, and also thanks to the benefit of our wood burner being in that room, they're kept warm in there every night in winter. I'm eagerly waiting for the seeds to germinate.
The next seeds to be sown are all my sweet pea varieties. I've collected quite a lot of Keith Hammett varieties over the years, he's a New Zealand breeder who produces the most stunning sweet peas. Sweet peas germinate in cool temperatures, so they are now potted up and put into the glasshouse.
The last of the seeds to be sown for now are the herbs coriander and dill. Coriander prefers to grow in cool temperatures, otherwise they will bolt, so I sow one lot in late winter, and another in early autumn. They don't like to have their roots disturbed while planting into the ground, so I sow a bunch of seeds into a biggish pot, and then when it's time to transfer them into the herb garden, I plant the whole container worth in one spot, I don't separate out the seedlings at all. For the dill seeds I do the same thing as with the coriander, it ensures I get a relatively big crop of leaves without the problem of using up a lot space.
The sweet peas, coriander, and dill are all now sitting in my glasshouse. We're were expecting snow down to 200 m last night, so I've put off doing any more seed sowing tomorrow. Hopefully soon they will be joined by a lot more seeds as the month goes on.
Have you started seed sowing yet? I'm interested in what choices you've made for the coming growing season.
Have a wonderful day
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,