You know how on some days, you achieve almost nothing, but occasionally, you have a day where you get so much done that you can’t believe it? Well, today, I had one of those golden days. I just wish that they occurred more often.
The day started with a trip to the garden centre at Bunnings to purchase more seedlings for our winter garden. In an earlier blog post, you may recall that I belatedly set up a winter garden. As I had been sick in February and March, I was a bit late in planting a winter garden and annoyingly, I wasn’t able to raise seedlings myself, meaning that I have had to purchase plants from the garden centre which I try to avoid wherever possible. I find raising seedlings myself incredibly gratifying. Furthermore, sowing from seed means that you’re able to grow all different sorts of varieties of vegetables that you wouldn’t find in garden centres. However, I accepted the situation and have thrown myself into this mini project. Felia, our previous wwoofer, planted an assortment of winter veggies – parsley, spinach, silverbeet, pak choi and kale – into the patch that she had helped prepare for this purpose. Today, I purchased more pak choi, bok choy and kale to go into the garden.
I also scored an absolute bargain at the garden centre. Remember my earlier post about how much I enjoy economising in the garden? Bunnings Manukau had packs of six green stakes of various sizes for just $1. I have seen individual stakes like this sold for about $3 each in the past. I do have lots of these for use around the garden, however most of mine are broken from the wear and tear of being outside year after year in all kinds of weather. Needless to say, I bought the lot. I also popped into Mitre 10 to pick up three different types of lettuce as I wasn’t happy with the quality of the lettuce at Bunnings. In winter, we enjoy leafy salads (we omit tomatoes as they’re too expensive and hot house grown ones from the supermarket are tasteless). We also use lettuce in our green smoothies, the recipe for which I have posted here.
Before returning home, we stopped by the supermarket to pick up some things we needed for dinner. We were expecting our new wwoofers to arrive today and we needed some ingredients for dinner. Tonight, we’re having hamburgers so we needed some lettuce and bread rolls.
When I got home, I had a quick snack and then went to Hayman Park for a walk. The day hadn’t gone quite as planned. I was expecting to go straight from Bunnings to the gym (you can read about my latest gym here) but the process of purchasing plants and buying tonnes of garden stakes had taken more time than expected. As the weather was absolutely beautiful, after days of nothing but rain, I thought I would take advantage and exercise outdoors instead of going to the gym. The park was gorgeous. As some of you may recall, I have diabetes, so it’s important for me to try and fit some exercise into my day. An hours walk in the park is the perfect way for me to keep my blood sugar under control. Some of you may have read my recent post about how I fell off the fitness wagon while I was sick during February and March. Since then, I have been working hard to put the past behind me and get myself back on track.
Around midday, soon after I had finished eating lunch, our two wwoofers Pia and Kilian arrived. I have written a post about wwoofing last year. In a nutshell, we host travellers with working holiday visas who help us around the garden in exchange for lodging and meals. Both mum and I really appreciate the assistance around the garden and it gives mainly young school leavers (mostly from Germany on their gap year) a place to stay while they travel around New Zealand.
By 1 pm, we were all outside. I instructed the wwoofers on their task, which was to cut up the stalks of our giant sunflowers and fit as much waste as they could into our two enormous garden waste bins. While they were doing this, I managed to plant all of the additional plants to go into the winter garden and gave them a bit of water. By April, the weather cools considerably and with the amount of rain we had been getting, it isn’t necessary to water the garden. However, since these were new plants, I gave them a little to help them settle into their new location.
I also sprayed my roses with Super Shield, taking advantage of the day being sunny (although that would later change and we did have a slight drizzle, which turned to rain. Nevermind, these things happen, hopefully the spray had dried by then, although it is ideal if it doesn’t rain for the next 24 hours). While I endeavour to be as organic as I can be with edibles, I do spray my roses. Auckland is dreadfully humid and roses are very susceptible to black spot. By adopting a regular spraying regime, it is possible to minimise this terrible looking disease and have lush, green healthy foliage on your roses for most of the year.
I also fed some of my dwarf fruit trees (you can read about my mini orchard here) with slow release citrus food and gave some of my vireyas some slow release food specifically for azaleas, rhododendrons and other acid loving plants). Remember that potted plants should get slow release fertiliser in pottles (pottles for pots, as the assistant manager of one of my local garden centres reminds me) while granular fertiliser is fine for fruit trees in the ground. If you try to give potted plants granular bagged fertiliser, you may find that it takes a very long time to disintegrate.
In the later afternoon, I spent some time writing blog posts for my website. I also had a look on Awapuni’s website (www.awapuni.co.nz) for further plants to purchase to put into the garden. As you may recall, I am a brand ambassador for Awapuni. You can read more about my ethos regarding being a brand ambassador here. One of the best things about Awapuni is that they deliver direct to your door. Plants are also a large and healthy size, making it easy to plant at this time of the year, when the weather is considerably cooler and it takes a longer time for plants to develop.
I also spent some time looking through my seed collection to find carrot seeds to sow in pots in the garden, as well as some poppies which will go into the area along the pathway to the front door, infront of our row of seven roses, which was the first rose garden we established.
In the evening, we’ll spend some time getting to know our wwoofers over dinner around the table together. Then, it’s off to bed before 8 pm to get some much needed sleep before it starts again the next day!