Monday, 10 September 2012

Goddess of Wind

Even Josephine, our "scarecrow" is wind-blown and weary!
The Spring equinox always bring a mixed bag of weather conditions.  The wind is blowing a hurricane outdoors and we watch with resignation as the blossoms are ripped off the plum and nectarine trees before even having the chance to be pollinated!  Oya, the Brazilian Goddess of Wind is indeed a fierce warrior!  Her destructive nature is thought to make way for new growth and development.  Mmnnn.  Thus I expect a bumper crop of fruit and veg this growing season!

Building activities have been underway last week and one forgets how much mess it brings!  Mike and I spent our weekend tidying up (our builder is neat, but the process creates so much fall-out!).  I had to find places to put all the plants I pulled up for the building process, and Mike moved the mound of grass and soil created with digging out of the foundations.  On the plus side, the extra soil created a lovely impromptu bed to plant my seed potatoes in, with two heaps on the side for mounding up. As this area was covered in weeds and we were feeling a tad tired from the extra work, we thought we would try to experiment: Mike laid down cardboard (reducing need to weed), onto which we made two rows of soil mounds for my potatoes to sleep in (using the soil from the building project).  Two birds, one stone.  (Seems a strange idiom for a vegetarian???  Maybe I should start a new saying - one pull, two carrots?)

Given that the wind lent a hand to plucking citrus off the trees and throwing them to the ground, I worked with the windfall, rather than curse the hand that helped............ made lemonade and limonade!
Did you know that lemons are the signature food for breasts?  Yep, if you look at a half lemon, it resembles the mammary glands!  If drunk during menstrual cycle, it reduces breast pain often associated with it.

Dissolve one cup of sugar in one cup of hot water (can boil it on stove till dissolved), then add 1 1/2 cups lemon juice (or lime juice).  Voila!  Bottle and keep in fridge, to dilute roughly 1-6 parts water for a refreshing drink on a hot day!  
I have poured mine into plastic containers which can be frozen till needed on elusive hot days.

Making Lemonade

Lemonade on the left, Limonade on the right.
After initially misunderstanding the seedtrays were not the latest in inside kitty litter, Miss Shanti, the cat, now eyes them curiously.  At first she would try to step onto the soil-filled trays but got a few smacks on her bottom.  Now she knows that it is a no-go zone!  They are doing well, albeit a little leggy from being indoors.  The thrill of new growth never ceases to amaze me.  I keep on looking, tracking their growth, several times a day.

Shanti guards the seedlings

Violet Sicilian Cauli - so beautiful, it seems a shame to eat! It is an authentic Italian purple cauliflower.  Great flavour.
Garden harvests include citrus, cauliflower, radishes, artichokes (last of), chicory, salad ingredients and parsley.  The leguminous cover crop in bed one was beginning to show gorgeous purple pea flowers, so it was time to cut it up this weekend and put the chook tractor onto it, to clean up and dig it into the soil as a great soil conditioner and nitrogen fix for my summer crop of tomatoes.  Crop rotation is essential to good crops and healthy soil. 

Cover crop of blue peas, hairy vetch and oats.

Plum blossoms in the calm before the stormy winds of Oya arrived.....

Lemons to last through most of Spring and Summer....

Chook tractor over the cover crop, with rain jacket to protect entrance to sleeping mezzanine.
On Friday, Mike arranged for a stump grinder to come and grind out our old oak tree stump, so that we can plant a Luisa Plum tree nearby.  With space being at a premium in our small edible landscape, we have to undergo drastic measures, like stump grinding to make space for new!  The resultant sawdust/soil mix was put to good use, in the chook bed, the compost bin, the pathway in the hothouse, and extra for layering between kitchen scraps in the compost bin.  It's great when there is a no-waste feel-good factor involved in demolition!
Where once was a stump.............
And all around the garden are signs of Spring!  I planted some tulip bulbs mid winter and this is the result.................

One white frilly tulip

A cerise-pink tulip, with more buds opening to reveal their colours..


Purple bonnet-like flowers that seem to spring up (no idea what they are)

Tubular miniature agapanthus


The hothouse has 3 new little additions - tomato plants, a month earlier than outdoor plantings.  Not home-grown seedlings but ones we bought from the local market.  22 October is the "traditional" tomato planting window (Labour Weekend) in New Zealand.  The following weekend, we will begin to work on preparation for our tree planting community project.  I saw an online video clip about a small town called Todmorden and their response to economic downturn.  Brilliant!  Inspiring!  If you have 14 mins to spare, watch the clip!  

The salad ingredients that have seen us through the winter.  
The changing face of our porch.  New insulated
 foundations for solarium.

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