I thought that I’d do a blog post on what has been happening around Anita’s Garden recently so that you can all stay up to date.
All of the vegetable seedlings that I planted in the garden in mid- April are flourishing, as you can see from the picture below. I liquid fed these plants weekly to give them a strong start to life. Now that they are a bit more established, I have reduced this to liquid feeding on a fortnightly basis.
You may recall my previous blog post on how to grow garlic. I mentioned that I had purchased seed garlic from Newton Seed – some Printanor garlic and some Elephant garlic. Following on from that, I purchased four lovely varieties of garlic from a company called Catos Seed on Trade Me – Printanor, Ajo Rojo, Kakanui and Takahue. I planted the cloves about three weeks ago. Last weekend, I also found some lovely organic garlic on special at Countdown (a local supermarket) which I purchased and planted in the garden as well. I’ve noticed that some of the garlic from Newton Seed and Catos has sprouted and started growing so I’m very excited. I hope to have a successful growing season for garlic this year following two dismal years.
Here is a photo of the wonderful garlic I purchased from Catos on Trade Me.
Although Roses are meant to bloom in summer, some of our roses have been producing wonderful flowers in winter.
Here is a photo of the beautiful rose Golden Gift which I purchased from Kings Plant Barn two years ago.
About a month ago, I discovered some fantastic gardening specials at The Warehouse in Mangere. There were punnets of established lettuce plants for just $4 each, ready to harvest. I decided to plant some in containers and keep them near our front door, making it easy to harvest for salads and wraps over winter. Here is a photo of our lettuce, planted in circular plastic containers.
About five weeks ago, mum and I hosted a lovely French couple called Ivan and Berengere who were wwoofing around New Zealand. Berengere sowed some Easy Peasy peas from Egmont Seeds out the back against a trellis supported by a fence. Here is a picture of the progress. As you can see, the peas have grown beautifully in that time.
Around the same time, while Berengere was sowing peas at the back, her boyfriend Ivan sowed some poppies in the front garden, infront of some of our roses. The variety was Poppy Peony Formula Mix from Kings Seeds. Here is a picture of the poppies that have emerged.
You may recall me mentioning that I’m determined to get a head start on seedling raising for summer and have produced large plants by Labour weekend. I’ve therefore already started sowing seeds for heat-loving plants such as capsicums, chillies, eggplants and tomatoes under cover.
Incase other gardeners are curious about the varieties I have decided to grow this summer, I have decided to set out a list of what I have sowed so far here. As many of you will notice, some of these varieties were on my list of top performing veggies in the summer garden, which you can read in this post here.
Alma Paprika – Kings Seeds
Chinese Giant – Kings Seeds
Colour Salad Selection – Yates
Cornos Red – Kings Seeds
Double Up F1 Hybrid – Egmont Seeds
Dulce Espana – Kings Seeds
Jingle Bells – McGregors
Mama Mia Gialla – Kings Seeds
Mama Mia Rosso – Kings Seeds
Muscato F1 – Kings Seeds
Palladio F1 Hybrid – Egmont Seeds
Arapaho (Cayenne) – Egmont Seeds
Bird’s Eye – Egmont Seeds
Cayenne Seed Mat – McGregors
Jalapeno Early – Kings Seeds
Red Scorpian – Kings Seeds
Sky Hot – Kings Seeds
Thai Super Chilli F1 – Kings Seeds
Lombaro – Franchi Seeds
Long sweet red chilli – Seeds given by Cesare Stella
Topepo Rosso – Franchi Seeds
Sweet Banana - McGregors
Asian Bride F1 – Kings Seeds
Dok – Kings Seeds
Florence Round Purple – Kings Seeds
Ping Tung – Egmont Seeds
Tsakoniki – Kings Seeds
Big Beef F1 – Oderings
Big Beef- Yates
Big Beef F1 – Egmont Seeds
Big Boy F1 – Egmont Seeds
Black Krim – McGregors
Chocolate Sprinkles F1 Hybrid – Egmont Seeds
Costoluto Fiorentino – Franchi Seeds
Dr Walters Special – Egmont Seeds
Dwarf Maja Seed Mat – McGregors
Gardener’s Delight – Kings Seeds
Heirloom Marriage Big Brandy – Egmont Seeds
Heirloom Marriage Genuwine – Egmont Seeds
Heirloom Mix – McGregors
Heirloom Red Pear – Egmont Seeds
Heirloom Yellow Pear – Egmont Seeds
Italian Dwarf Romadore F1 Hybrid – Oderings
Jaune Flamme – Kings Seeds
Lady Bug F1 – Kings Seeds
Moneymaker – Egmont Seeds
Mortgage Lifter – Yates
Oaxacan Jewel – Kings Seeds
Principe Borghese – Franchi Seeds
Rapunzel F1 Hybrid – Egmont Seeds
Red Cherry – Franchi Seeds
San Marzano Redorta – Franchi Seeds
Tumbling Tom Red F1 Hybrid – Egmont Seeds
Tumbling Tom Yellow F1 Hybrid – Egmont Seeds
I still have to sow the marvellous chilli Piccante Calabrese from Franchi seeds. I haven’t done so yet because I ran out of room on my heat pads!
Last week, I caught up with my law school friend Ben Mayson here at Anita’s Garden. Ben is married to Vicki, another lawyer in my cohort. They live in Waterview, Auckland with their three children. Ben and his family recently returned home after living in Singapore for four years. Ben recently started a business called Farmster, which caught my eye because as you all know, I’m absolutely crazy about gardening. I wanted to write a blog post about Ben’s start up because I think it’s a wonderful idea and I’m keen for others to learn about it, too.
The way that it works is that people can sign up to receive a box of fresh, homegrown veggies each week for just $25 per week. People can also sign up to essentially “lease” their backyard to Farmster, who will convert lawn into a veggie garden. Ben plants a garden and tends to the plants, harvesting them when they are ready for his deliveries. These people receive a $10 discount, reducing the price of a veggie box from $25 to just $15 per week. The idea is to continually supply subscribers with homegrown veggies, from their garden and also from other people’s when veggies in their own plot might not yet be ready.
At the moment, Farmster is restricted to Waterview, Ben’s neighbourhood and surrounding suburbs. He has been absolutely overwhelmed by the response, so much so that he’s had to stop accepting both deliveries and land/garden conversions while he catches up!
I think Farmster is a brilliant idea, as it better connects individuals with their land and enables the use of land which might not otherwise be occupied by a garden as a lot of people are simply too busy on weekends or don’t have the inclination to care for a garden. As you all know, I launched Anita’s Garden as a business in October last year and am currently taking a hiatus while winter approaches. In the future, Ben and I may even collaborate, as our businesses are in the same sector and we share the same values and beliefs about gardening. Watch this space!
Carrots are a staple vegetable in the New Zealand kitchen. Children love baby carrots. They are so versatile. Carrots can be used in salads, soups and other dishes. Traditionally orange, carrots come in a variety of other colours, making them a colourful addition to dishes. Try purple and yellow carrots. They’re absolutely beautiful and full of beta carotene.
Carrots can be a little tricky to grow well. However, with a few tips, you’ll be on your way to growing perfect carrots this season.
Carrots can be sown in spring and early autumn. Avoid sowing carrots in the height of summer, as germination rates can be low due to high temperatures and dryness in soil. Carrots might not form a strong root if sown in winter due to difficulties with germination and cooler temperatures which might stunt their growth.
Egmont Seeds have an incredible range of carrots seeds. You could try growing Purple Haze F1 Hybrid, Rainbow Mixed, Resistafly F1 Hybrid, All Seasons, Amarillo Yellow, Baby, Chantenay Royal, Ladies Fingers, Manchester Table, Romance F1 Hybrid, Senior F1 Hybrid, Topweight and Touchon.
Franchi Sementi also have a lovely range of carrots. The New Zealand supplier is Italian Seeds Pronto. Try Nantes di Chioggia, Parisier and Foraggio Jaune du Doubs. These varieties can be sown in autumn and in spring.
A convenient way of growing carrots is to use seed tape instead of loose seeds. There is no need to worry about spacing seeds too closely, as they are already spaced the perfect distance apart. Seed tape is biodegradable, so it will disintegrate in the ground and the seeds on the tape will germinate. Egmont Seeds have the varieties of carrot seed tape Purple Haze F1 Hybrid and Resistafly F1 Hybrid which are worth trying. I have grown Purple Haze in the past with great results.
How to sow
As a root crop, carrots should be sown direct. Do not transplant, or you will end up with forked roots, a bit like with carrots. Don’t worry if some seeds are spaced too closely. You’ll need to thin your carrots out and remove some of the weaker seedlings in order to allow the stronger ones more room to grow.
Digging the bed to a depth of 20 cm should be fine to accommodate carrots.
As with all root crops, in order to form a large, strong root underground carrots prefer soil which is well composted. I therefore advise not adding fresh compost or sheep pellets to areas where you intend to sow carrots.
You may however wish to sprinkle a little Superphosphate and blood and bone fertiliser where you intend to sow carrots and mix into the soil. This will encourage strong root growth and healthy green tops.
Growing carrots in buckets
Every autumn, I sow carrots in large 35 litre buckets. Reasons why you may wish to try sowing carrots in buckets include getting a head start on the seasons at a time when the ground might still be quite cool (such as in spring) and space limitations in the garden. Sowing carrots in buckets are also perfect for people who don’t wish to dig up their lawn like us! Just remember not to use fresh potting mix or you may end up with weak or forked carrots. As with sowing carrots in the ground, try to use old potting mixture. It would be ideal to recycle potting mixture from, for example, summer crops such as capsicums, chillies and eggplants grown in pots.
Sown at the right time, carrots should be ready in 12-14 weeks.