Monday, 23 January 2012

Top crops and flop crops

 This morning as I walked around the garden, I looked at my flowers and crops and realised it hasn't been the best season for a lot of things. It's been a cool and windy summer which, coupled with water restrictions, has been stressful for a lot of plants.

My biggest flops so far have been:
:: Tomatoes. Blossom end rot has struck in both the glasshouse and outside. I was expecting this to happen since I just haven't been able to water well and consistently, but it's still frustrating! The cool temperatures have meant they are also slow to ripen.
:: Rainbow carrots. I've had a low strike rate on all the ones I sowed. The few I've harvested were lovely though!
:: Outdoor chillis and peppers. Slow to grow and set fruit.
:: Leeks. I transplanted a punnet out a couple of weeks ago so they will have time to fatten up for winter. Some are ok but most of the smallest ones shrivelled in the hot sun. Guess I'll be buying a punnet after all to bulk up the stores!
:: Apple trees. Most of the trees (I have 4) decided to give themselves the year off by not setting fruit. The 2 that did then dropped most of it.
:: Blueberries. Again, not much fruit set, then the little that was set got eaten by birds.
:: Hollyhocks. I had 3 different kinds of seed to sow, and not one came up in spring! I'm trying again for autumn.

 So, boo to the weather and the birds and the capriciousness of nature. Fortunately some things have been doing really well, including:

:: Brown Berry and Green Grape cherry tomatoes. These are in the glasshouse where it's warm, and haven't sustained any blossom end rot. They are also ripening quickly. Yay cherry tomatoes! 
:: Spring onions. They are growing reliably well, what else can you ask for?
:: Strawberries. Also reliable. Also sweet and delicious.
:: Boysenberries. Doing good for their first year in production.
:: Dwarf lavender. The tray of seeds I sowed is loving life in the glasshouse. (I'm going to use these to edge the potager.)
:: The beans are all growing well and looking lush. I'm enjoying the green wall made by the runner beans.

One benefit of this cool season is that I haven't seen any caterpillars around, so that's definitely a plus!

 The flower gardens are filling out, and I'm making the most of it, spending a lot of time just walking round looking at things. It's nice to just be in the garden.

These are my water storage bins, tucked in beside my homemade rustic bench. (Please ignore the crack in the wall... it's only from where our house has sunk a bit! EQC should have it fixed within the next decade!)

 Due to damage sustained in the earthquakes to pipes and drains, and the water reservoirs, we have been on water restrictions since October. Sprinklers and unattended hoses are banned, and you are only allowed to hand water your garden from the tap on certain days. So for those days when I can't use the tap, I have these bins. We keep a bucket in the shower to fill up while the water warms, and I also use that cut down milk bottle you see there to hold under the pipes in the drain and scoop up washing machine rinse water. Yep, you bet that's a tedious job, and there really are a milllion other things I'd rather be doing. But one rinse cycle fills a bin about three quarters, so it's worth doing it. Then it's easy just to dunk my watering can in to fill it. Quicker than filling it from the tap actually! Still. I'm looking forward to the day that sprinkler comes back out.

16 comments:

  1. The earthquakes have certainly affected everything. I would be tempted to blame any plant growing difficulties on the earthquake as well...
    New Zealanders (Christchurch ones in particular) seem very stoic in the face of tremours and cracks....

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    1. Yes you can blame pretty much anything on the quakes if you try! Liquefaction definitely has affected the soil all around town though, I hear stories from friends about weird plants that have popped up, or lack of drainage, or hills and holes and cracks and things... not much we can really do about it though in the short term.

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  2. At least the rain we have had this week will have given the soil a good soaking, though it might be worth thinking about a rain barrel to collect of the gutters when it rains. It may be a long time before the pipes are repaired properly especially if we keep getting these silly earthquakes!

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    1. Yes I suspect it will be ongoing for the next few years at least. A rain barrel would be good but expensive! Might have to see if I can rig up one of my trusty bins!

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  3. Never having been in a major earthquake, it's these little things that aren't 'newsworthy' that I have never given any thought to. What a horrible thing to have to deal with, and for an extended time frame. I hope things get back to normal for you soon.

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    1. Thanks for your good wishes. Picking up the pieces is definitely taking longer than any of us realised I think, and like you said it's the little things you don't think about that can be the most frustrating!

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  4. I love looking at the second picture.... It tells everything about vegetable gardening... sharing space and how plants lean on each other in a friendly manner.

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  5. Ruth have a look on the internet, people use all sorts of things as rain barrels you might be able to use something you already have at home, we have broken guttering on one of our out buildings and often I just pop a big bucket under it to catch some of the overflow to use on the garden beds.

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    1. We do have a downspout on the garage that one of those bins could go under, it will need to be shortened though and as such it's on my neverending list of things to do in the future! Haha one of these days...

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  6. Oh my gosh, sweet peas! How I love reading about New Zealand blooms in my USA January winter. Makes the planet seem big, for one thing. That first picture of the pink roses-- I could almost touch them Ruth. Sorry you are struggling for water. I have done that thing where you capture the kitchen water for the beds, very difficult. I wish you rain, and then sun again. All the best from far away-- L

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    1. Yes I'm loving the sweet peas, I have a big vase of them in the bathroom (which seems to contain the scent best). One of the best things about late summer is the abundance of flowers to pick! Thanks for your weather wishes - it's been cold and grey today, but no rain! Stupid bloody weather, grrr.

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  7. Ruth, I enjoy your blog so much that I want to give you a Versatile Blogger Award. I've announced the award and linked to you on this post, which also has instructions on passing the award on if you wish to:

    http://theamateurweeder.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/surprise-from-becky.html

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    1. Wow Lyn, thanks so much for the award! I'm thrilled! Off to check it out at your blog now :)

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  8. Hi Ruth: I just discovered your beautiful garden through a web search for potager gardens. email to follow. Love the garden!

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    1. Welcome to my blog Layanee! I'm glad you enjoyed the photos.

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