Monday, 23 June 2014

Notes from the Garden in June

My favourite fruit and veg harvesting basket was looking a little tired and grubby.  It is a special one, given to me by an old friend (not in age, but in connection), Karrie, from her trip to Malawi.  I wonder if she knows what a cherished and useful item it has been over the years!  Well, I thought it was about time I pimped it up, so I found a few old scraps lying in my fabric pile, stitched them together and 20 mins later, I could wander into the garden and fill her up!  Oh, I do so love pretty, practical things!

Before the pimping...

My veggie and fruit ride, all pimped!
Another new addittion to our home, is the arrival of hand-knitted socks!  If anyone remembers my previous sock blog, well, suffice it to say, I am not a sado-masochist, so no, I did not personally knit these new arrivals!  These have a little story to them....... they were knitted by a Swiss lady, living in Italy, using German wool!  She then onsends them to her daughter in New Zealand, who sells them on her behalf for the princely sum of $24.  My hand-knitted pair, cost me about $70, after buying the needles and wool, and paying for the workshop.  Not to mention my time.  They took about 5 weeks!  And much frustration and bad words to express my annoyance.  Mike and I both have a few pairs and they really have revolutionized our winter cold feet syndrome!  Beauty!  They feel so great on, real warm and cosy.  And there is the added benefit: my hubbie declared they don't give him stinky-feet syndrome.  

A collection of Internationally-connected socks!
Finally, we have gifted one other our long-awaited belated Christmas present; a 2000L rainwater tank.  Yay!  We normally don't do the mandatory gift exchanging at Christmas, opting rather to agree on a combined gift.  One year it was a flat-screen TV, one year a portable back massager cushion that performs our daily morning coffee/massage ritual, the previous year it was the solarium build.

We waited a while for this gift, as we had to first solve the challenge of where to put it (all our gutters were running the wrong way and we needed the water supply to be closer to the garden for ease of use).  Lots of discussions, talking with experts, comparing tanks from different companies etc. and then waiting for a plumber to schedule installation in.... brings us to 2 weeks ago.  Perfect timing, to gather the tonnes of rain that fell and filled it in 2 days!  Why the water tank, when we have relatively cheap water (costs about $1 per day)?  Well, we figured we could survive in a natural disaster and eat happily from our household and garden food supplies for a few weeks.  We have enough drinking and household water supply to last perhaps 3 weeks, but this big un is for the garden, to keep it alive, which will hopefully in turn, keep us alive!  Planning ahead...
Our wintery Christmas present, all installed and ready to use.
2 weeks ago, I noted that it was a pruning window according to the Lunar Calender, so I tackled my 2 plum trees behind the cottage.  In no time at all, I had reduced them both by 1/3 and had a great big pile of branches to show for it.  They will be mulched in our trusty little Masport mulching monster.
Pruning; figs are born on new wood.

2 fig trees now shapely skeletons

The trusty little Masport which turns pesky prunings into compostable
material, or ground mulch to suppress weeds.  Magnificent stuff.
The next project was to reduce the rather overgrown feijoa which was almost totally clouding the grapefruit tree at the bottom of the garden.  A bit of huffing and puffing, and a couple of hours later, the feijoa looks like it has had a great grooming session.  The grapefruit tree was struggling to get it's fair share of sun, so I think it's one happy grapefruit maker now!

Before:  Overgrown feijoa crowds the other trees.
 Note frost damage to bananas on left.

After:  Feijoa greatly reduced in size allows sun to penetrate to grapefruit.
The main harvests in the garden have been straggly last-of-season guavas, persimmons (yum), green apples, lemons, limes, chillies, chokos and mandarins.  Orange fruits mostly.  I have been making lots of fruit juices for breakfast, combining much of the above fruits, adding a little ginger zing to boost the immune system.
I have planted more silverbeet, kale, leek, spring onion and brassica seedlings.  The garlic is starting to shoot.  This time I have only planted half a bed as I overdid it last year with 1 1/2 beds.  We have garlic for Africa!  I've also sowed green peas in-situ.  Am patiently awaiting their birth, and watching for pesky snails.  Nothing nicer than snacking on fresh peas in the pod in Spring.

Stunningly beautiful sun fruits.  Persimmons.  Radiating health.
Lemonades.  A tangy cross between a lemon and navel orange.  

Grapefruit relishing in the newly acquired sun aspect!
The afternoon light in winter becomes so soft that colours seem to intensify.  It is a wonderful time to wander aimlessly through the backyard and capture some images that sing out to you in passing.

Beautiful wood fungus growing on an old tree stump.
Stunning colours of Bright Lights Silverbeet.

Josephine, our non-scarecrow, may need a Spring rejuvenation.  Hair, make-up
and a new necklace, maybe.  The harsh weather had chipped away at her appearance.

Colours of Autumn.

Autumn gives way to Winter in the garden.  The last of the leaves cling tenaciously, still.
The silvery threads of a hungry spider.  Fine workmanship.
There is not much more I can plant at this time of the year, besides a few sweetpeas and calendula.  I shall just keep the weeds in check and prepare the grounds for the business of Spring planting.  Gives me a thrill just to think of it.................

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