Here’s a roundup of successes and failures in our garden this spring. With a garden this size, you simply have to move on and focus on what you’ve got rather than what you haven’t!
· Strawberries – it definitely paid off devoting more space to strawberries this year. I had a mad vision of having a mini berry farm on our front lawn to save us from driving to the one near the airport. I purchased 120 bare-rooted Camerosa plants from a commercial grower in Katikati back in May. Mum thought I had lost the plot. They started ripening in September and since October, we have been harvesting a big bowl of strawberries every day. The netting is draped over plastic hoops and secured with pegs, so the birds haven’t been able to get in. I liquid feed the plants with Yates Thrive Strawberry and Berry Fruit Liquid Plant Food every week. I hope our harvest continues until Christmas. After that, it gets really hot and plants stop producing fruit. Does anyone still get strawberries in January and February?
· Asparagus – while not as prolific as the strawberries, our small patch has kept us well-supplied this spring and we haven’t had to purchase any from the supermarket. The crowns are the variety Mary Washington (Kings Seeds) and were sown from seed five years ago (see photo)
· Potatoes – I discovered that it’s possible to grow potatoes during winter in our Auckland garden. I planted about a dozen Swift seed potatoes just prior to the shortest day and harvested a bumper crop in mid-September. Since then, we’ve harvested more Swift, Liseta, Jersey Benne and Agria potatoes. Heather, Liseta, Swift, Rocket and Agria are in progress
· Peas – I removed the last of our peas a fortnight ago. I grew Easy Peasy from Egmont Seeds, which I sowed in April. We had a prolific crop and I highly recommend them
· Broccoli and cabbages – I sowed a second round in June/July and they started maturing in September. Since then, we have been harvesting them every day. Last weekend, I gave the gym I go to a box full of cabbages as a gift to say thank you, as I managed to lose 20 kg over the past four months with their support and get into shape for the YMCA 10k summer series in the Auckland Domain, which I have been participating in every Thursday
· Garlic – most of it has rust, so I’m not expecting a good crop. In order to grow garlic successfully, I think I’m going to have to spray it in future. Next Tuesday evening is the Garden Club event at Mitre 10 , so I’m going to chat to the Yates sales rep about what products to use
· Radish – the radish I sowed in the ground in mid-September failed to bulb up. I suspect the reason was too much nitrogen in the soil from the compost put in the area in August
· Beetroot – the ten punnets I planted in amongst the cabbages failed to bulb up. I’ve never had much luck with spring beetroot (whereas the autumn crop usually does quite well), but I don’t think it helped having to compete with the cabbages for light and nutrients
· Kumara – back in August I buried a kilo of red kumara in a trough with some potting mix, which I kept in the greenhouse. Despite keeping the soil moist, the kumara have failed to form shoots so I guess we’ll have to settle for eating potatoes in autumn
· Pumpkins – I may have been too quick to plant our pumpkins. I started planting them a week ago, but the weather proved too cold for some of the Musquee de Provence and Baby Bear seedlings. Luckily I didn’t plant them all at once, so I have a few reinforcements
· Passionfruit – our vine at the back of the house by the clivia died suddenly, so I put in two plants that I grew from seed last spring
· Dancing Lady orchid – despite having a thriving garden full of flowers, veggies, herbs, roses and fruit trees outdoors, I somehow managed to nearly kill our only houseplant. The irony doesn’t escape me. I’m going to give it some TLC and liquid feed it weekly with Yates Brigitta Orchid Food. Hopefully that will help revive it.
What are your successes and failures this season?