Monday, 7 October 2019

Garden Diary 7/10/2019

A few weeks of settling in for most plants, and some seeds have germinated. We've had a couple of southerlies and some frosts, so not everything has survived. And the annual slug & snail warfare has begun.
We have 3 raised beds like this; two have covers made from alkathene pipe, cable ties, and bungy cord, with mesh to keep the worst of the weather away. Even so, frosts and snails cause some failures. Oh well, it's early yet.

A simple and effective way to keep the covers in place - 5cm lengths of pipe split lengthwise can snap over the cloth and grab the pipe arch. Thanks to Simon Guthrie for the suggestion.

A sad tomato plant - a gap in the cover let a cold southerly wind get in, and it probably won't survive.

The open bed has more established plants - spinach, white turnips, assorted herbs.

Meet the enemy - snails by the dozen. I don't like using chemicals, but chemical poison baits seem the best way to stop these beasties in their tracks. I tried pine needles, as snails supposedly don't like sharp spiky surfaces, but they still got past. I have found some slug/snail trap designs online, so that is the next project.

Heather's raised garden - strawberries at one end, beans racing away at the other.

The mint is having a great spring.

Radishes and rocket - this area will get frequent re-plantings of short term salad greens.

Even the "healthy" tomato plant is looking a bit sad. I really shouldn't plant these until after Labour Weekend, but Garden Fever took over. 

Sunday, 22 September 2019

Garden Diary 22/9/2019

After a couple of weeks of spreading compost and soil, planting has begun. This year we've been a bit discerning about what we grow, as we've had gluts of some crops when the produce is cheap in the shops. So we're just going for the favourites - at least, that's the theory. We even have a plan.
A sketch plan - which we are already disobeying!
Two of the raised beds have net covers, which really help get plants off to a good start. Once they get bigger and well established, we'll start removing the covers for half a day, then during daytime, then they'll be removed altogether in another month or so.
Two covered beds, each 3m*1.2m. Another bed the same size is at right rear, and visible through the mesh you can see a larger bed, 2.4m square. 
My #1 raised bed. From near to far, there is an area of herbs (close to the path for quick picking), then the middle section has mesclun lettuces and rows of rocket and radishes. At the far end, near the trellis, are two MoneyMaker tomato plants. The blue stuff is slug & snail bait, slugs love baby plants.

Heather is in charge here; strawberries growing in upside-down buckets with their bases cut out, beans and peas, and baby white turnips. (Though they might go in another plot, we'll have to buy seeds for those.)

The last 3m long bed has a permanent rhubarb plant at the far end, a row of beetroot plants, and some perpetual spinach. A few extra herb plants have also ended up here, as my planter was getting rather full. This bed will also get a few rows of white turnips.

The 2.4m square bin was already here when we bought the house, but it is a bit inconvenient to use - you can't really get to the very centre without clambering up onto the soil. So it makes sense to plant things that don't need frequent visits, like pumpkins. We can use the edges, though. The front corner is a seed bed at present, hatching some zucchini plants. When they sprout I'll select one or two to plant along the left side. These will produce green fruit, I want to buy a yellow one as well. We'll plant 2 or 3 butternut squash and one pumpkin plant in the centre, and Heather has placed a cucumber in the other corner. It may survive... The bench between the bin and the fence will hold a plastic planter with peppers and chillis - later in the summer. 

Sunday, 5 May 2019

The cycle continues

Areas of Bottle Lake Forest Park that were milled for timber two years ago are now at the start of a new cycle. Young trees are approaching knee height, and all the slash from the logging has been bulldozed into long lines. As time goes by, sandy tracks will be developed through the area, and in thirty years or so the trees will again be harvested. I know most of the timber will probably end up as Chinese packaging cartons or newsprint, instead of NZ made furniture or housing, but in the meantime it does good things for the environment, and provides recreation for hundreds of walkers, mountain bikers, and horse riders.

New pines grow among the stumps and debris from logging.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Look up!

We've had some interesting and spectacular north-west clouds in recent days.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Still here

I don't want to delete this Blogger site, there may come a time when it's just what I need. In the meantime, you'll need to follow me on Facebook.

Brief update for the curious: Heather and I are both retired, but we're both still doing a few days' work here and there. I'm doing 3 days a week until Xmas at Lincoln University, in their e-learning unit, doing staff support for their Blended Learning Project. Heather is going to spend August being the front office receptionist for Shirley Boys High School.

Physically, we're well - Heather swims a couple of times a week, I walk our mini schnauzer Lotte in the mornings (Heather does afternoons) and bike a bit - plus sailing in the summer. We still ski occasionally, but I'm slowed down after a ruptured knee tendon accident in 2014, so my skiing is a bit limited. I have an e-bike to get around town, and a mountain bike for dog exercising in Bottle Lake Forest. Cycle touring and tramping have been relegated to the list of Things I Used To Do...

In summer we intend to do lots of camping trips, usually 3 or 4 days in duration - we have a really comfortable two-room tent, plus tables chairs stove etc, so we can quickly set up a temporary base (with dog, of course). We also have a 12ft Sunburst yacht on a trailer, which is a great way to carry tents, tables, etc - and to go rowing, motoring, or sailing when we get to a destination. That lets us explore all sorts of places - watch this space.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Grey in Christchurch

It's very grey in Christchurch, and may remain like this for a week. Don't bother clicking, it's just pine trees and clouds.

Garden Diary 7/10/2019

A few weeks of settling in for most plants, and some seeds have germinated. We've had a couple of southerlies and some frosts, so not ev...