Today was unusual because I didn’t do much in the garden. With the clocks going forward last night, I woke up uncharacteristically late at 7.30 am (I’m normally up at 4.45am). After having breakfast, I went for a walk in Howick. The sun was out and it was just lovely. After lunch, one of my best friends visited me. She lives out in Waiuku as she teaches at the local secondary school and I only get to see her once a year, twice if we’re lucky. It was really nice catching up. Afterwards, I took her for a walk around the garden. I was incredibly happy to see that my spinach and silverbeet seedlings are doing well (see picture). I am also really happy with the progress of some Margaret Merrill roses that I grew from cuttings last summer. In order to boost their strike rate, I dipped the stems in Yates Clonex Purple Rooting Hormone Gel. They aren’t in flower just yet but have lots of lush, healthy foliage and have been re-potted into larger pots. I gave my friend some dutch irises from the garden and picked some late flowering daffodils for our vase in the kitchen.
If you feel like the gardening is taking over your life (which is quite normal at this time of the year), take some time out to catch up with people close to you who you haven’t seen for awhile, or do something else, whether it be exercise, listening to music or seeing a movie. Sometimes, I suffer from gardening burn out in spring (especially when I was selling plants last year), but over the years I’ve come to appreciate the importance of having balance! It’s perfectly okay to have a day off every now and then. Go on, you deserve it! After my friend left, I spent an hour harvesting some kale which looks like it’s about to go to seed, as well as lettuce. Our kale leaves are enormous, making them perfect for kale chips which we have been having with our dinner over the past week.
We have wwoofers arriving on Tuesday, so I drew up a task list of things I hope to get done over the next fortnight with them. We really appreciate having the extra assistance at this time of the year, as there is so much to do. I’ve been on my own over the past three weeks, so I’ve had to prioritise potting seedlings and put some less important tasks like weeding on the backburner.
I also spent some time unpacking some bags of seed potatoes and storing them in the crisper compartment of our two fridges. In my post on Friday, you may recall me mentioning that I’m going to try growing potatoes in autumn as we never have enough potatoes from summer to last over winter and in any event, they don’t store very well. Like growing potatoes in winter, which I did for the first time this year, it’s a new gardening challenge for me. Bunnings had seed potatoes on clearance for half price, so I picked up quite a few bags (6kg of Liseta, 3 kg of Jersey Benne and 6 kg of Rocket). Mum always jokes that I plant enough to feed the nation! I grabbed these while I could not only because they were on special, but also because it can be hard to find seed potatoes early in the year. They are usually only available from June onwards (Newton Seeds normally has them in April). They are sprouting but I won’t plant them until March. I wasn’t sure how best to store them so they don’t perish in the heat of summer, so I emailed Wally (the super knowledgeable gardener who I purchased liquid frost cloth spray from which I used on the tamarillos successfully). He responded and recommended that I store them in the fridge, as apparently that’s what Morton Smith-Dawe do. Wally also told me not to remove the sprouts as they won’t re-sprout later on, which is good to know. He said that the crop might be smaller when growing spuds in autumn due to the fact that the days will be shorter, but it is possible even where he lives in Palmerston North. Even so, I think it’s still something that’s well worth doing as the price of potatoes is astronomical during the winter and I’m getting tired of us having to buy them from the supermarket out of season.
Collette, in response to your question, Swift matures in 60 days.
What did everyone else get up to today?