Saturday, January 30, 2016

January

Hello and a very happy new year to all!



I have been away in England for a month and am slowly getting back into the swing of farm life again!

The main adjustment has been the weather. Coming from a UK winter (albeit a mild winter) to the peak of NZ summer with 100% humidity and temps up in the late 20s has not been easy! The morning I left England it was minus 4 degrees C! We are however enjoying some beautiful sunny days, mostly with a slight breeze and some lovely sunsets at the end of the long summer evenings.

In my absence, the garden has been growing like crazy. Hubby did a great job of watering my plants in the grow tunnels, and harvesting the produce as it ripened. The Brandywine Pink heirloom beefsteak tomatoes are doing really well, I have picked several kgs of these already with many more to come. We've had some nice homemade tomato soup and they are also getting used up at every meal, fried with bacon and egg for breakfast, sliced up with cheese inside a bread roll for lunch, and made into sauce for pasta for dinner.



We're also harvesting cucumbers (Indian variety - Poona), Italian zucchini, peppers, scallopini (patty pan) squash and potatoes.


The plums were very good this year, we had lots (most of these eaten while I was overseas!).


 A handful of blueberries from off our young bushes, not many at a time but they are very tasty!

The pumpkins are growing well, this variety is Musque du Provence a very large French heirloon variety, it will turn yellow/brown when ready. I also let some self-sown pumpkins grow where they sprouted so will be interesting to see what type they are. Can't have too many pumpkins as they also make good stock food for when we are raising pigs.


Scallopini or patty pan squash

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Update

As always time is whizzing along very quickly. My blog posts are now very few and far between. So sorry for that and for this longish update.

Next year I'm thinking I may be changing the way I present this blog, perhaps just a monthly round up (might be more achievable) and possibly more photos than text.
   
The first of the Early Red peaches

Anyhow at the moment in the garden we have growing:

Tomatoes
Sweetcorn
Yard long Beans
Melons
Pumpkins
Zucchini (harvesting now)
Potatoes
Garlic
Kale
Strawberries (harvesting)
Raspberries (harvesting)
Coriander

Jocky cap flower



In the polytunnels we've got:

Tomatoes
Basil
Peppers
Chillies
Eggplants/Aubergines
Yakon

Pepino
Coffee plants
Curry leaf plant
Ocra
Galangal cuttings

All doing well although I did have a few aphids attack my eggplants, the ladybirds took care of those though! The coffee plants are ones that were planted outside but had not thrived. They are now doing really well although still a long way off producing berries!

We also had our large heifer butchered in November, and now have plenty of delicious beef in the freezer. As she was part Jersey the fat is very yellow, the meat is still just as tasty however!

Our own beef fresh from the butcher.
 In November we also enjoyed a visit to the wonderful Hamilton gardens.

The Indian garden - very pretty

The rose garden was spectacular in full bloom

The Italian garden - fabulous pergola with grape vines
This was our second visit to the Hamilton Gardens and will not be the last. The first time we were there it was pouring with rain so we didn't stay all that long. However, the Japanese garden was especially lovely in the rain as it had a large pond. This time round we saw some of the other areas we'd missed previously. Still at lot to see though and I could have spent ages smelling the roses! Hoping to get back there again at the end of summer.

Meanwhile our excursions are closer to home, namely walking the dog! Not that walking the dog is a bind though as we get to enjoy the beautiful Kaipara harbour only a few minutes walk from home.

Roxy enjoying 'walkies'









Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cabbage tree flowering season

It's mid Spring and right now the cabbage trees are in blossom. Not only do they look stunning, but the air is full of their sweet scent. I love to come outside especially in the evening when the wind has dropped and enjoy their perfume. It is truely a delight for the senses.





Close up view of cabbage tree flowers


It's hard to capture the scale of these lovely trees (actually they are giant lillies). They are quite tall now, approx 4-5m, hard to believe they have only been in the ground for about 12 years, so quick growing.

Also fast growing are these native 'Puka' trees. Just look at the size of the leaves! They are huge. Looking totally tropical and awesome.