I have been very busy again in the garden during June. We have started hosting wwoofers again (despite what I said about never again!) to help us, as our belated annual clean up has been quite a mission! At the moment, we have a Taiwanese boy called Ray staying with us. He is here for a fortnight, to be followed by a German lad called Marlon. Wherever possible, I’m going to try and get boys to stay with us instead of girls. They are much lower maintenance and so much easier to get along with!
Here’s what Ray and I have been doing around the garden in the past fortnight:
o Planting strawberries – I placed another order for bare-rooted strawberry plants with Shanberry following an incredibly successful crop last year. On his first day, Ray helped me plant 200 strawberry plants into black polythene in four rows. The idea behind the polythene is to warm the soil and keep the weeds down. Two commercial growers have recommended using this method, which I am trialling for the first time this year. I will report back later in the season on the success of using this method to grow strawberries
o Planting garlic – Because I have a bad back at the moment and find bending over very painful, Ray also helped with the back-breaking task of planting our annual crop of garlic. This year, I’m growing five named varieties – Printanor, Elephant, Kakanui, Ajo Rojo and Turban – as well as some very large, healthy cloves mum gave me from some organic supermarket garlic, as well as some garlic I purchased from Farro in Orakei. I have also been looking ahead to disease control for garlic as mine always suffers from rust every year. Wally gave me the excellent advice of using a mixture of Liquid Sulphur, Liquid Copper, Potassium Permanganate, Raingard and Vaporgard, all of which he stocks. Wally suggested diluting these products separately and then spraying garlic every 14 days once it surfaces. This morning I placed an order for these products and will adhere to a strict spraying regime in winter and spring, in the hopes of beating rust this year. I will report back on the effectiveness of these products later in the season
o Planting potatoes – Ray worked compost and sheep pellets into the soil and dug some deep trenches for me. We planted seven rows of potatoes – Summer Delight, Agria, Jersey Bennes, Heather, Liseta and Swift. I’ve still got a tray of Liseta potatoes to plant out, which I’ll do once I’ve harvested the early varieties
o Planting red onions – Ray helped me to plant four punnets of red onions in the garden, purchased from Kings Plant Barn. I have some more punnets of onions which I sowed from seed that will go out into the garden a bit later on. The seedlings are still small so I’ll wait for them to grow a bit more first
o Planting dwarf peas – Ray planted dwarf Petit Provencal and Sugar Snap peas around some obelisks. I’m pleased with how healthy these seedlings looked, especially the Petit Provencal ones.
o Planting broad beans – Ray planted some broad beans that I had grown from seed into our front garden
o Planting veggie seedlings – Together we planted more red cabbage, green cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower seedlings
o Pruning the camellia trees – Ray pruned our two pink camellia trees which had gotten quite big. They look so much tidier now!
o Clearing the back garden – Our back garden by the washing line was looking very untidy so over the past two days Ray has been clearing it of old Malabar spinach which has finished for the season and weeds. Once he has finished, we will plant some herbs, berries and grapes. I also have some tall peas (snow and podded kinds) for him to plant along the trellis, too.