Monday, 10 November 2014

For the pruning NOVEMBER

its late.
So late, in fact, I feel the urge to just not do it, but I am digging deep and trying to scratch together some plan and just post.
In all due haste.
Much too late.

My appologies November, you are so full of promise and I have been slack.

Thankfully not too much has been missed in the way of vege gardening by the moon.
The short lived productive sowing time on the first few days this month have already gone, as have the first couple of days for root crops, but fret not, your root crops can go in again on the 17th and 18th as the moon wanes and the new moon approaches (23rd marks its arrival)
Before and after that it's all about weeding, watering and hoeing.
Spring is a prolific growing time for everything and the easiest way to keep your vege plot weed free is to plant and/or mulch any bare patch of dirt you have. The weeds will have nowhere to grow if you beat them to the vacant ground.
I have gained rather a bit of growth from my agria potatoes that I popped in last month and have already mounded two seperate last of dirt atop their shoots and I am planning on at least three goes at plopping dirt on top of the shoots, aiming for a huge crop this year. Hopefully my best yet.
From the twenty fifth until the second of December get more sowing done of any above ground cropping plants. The water tables are ideal at this time to give them the best start in life.
Also, any strawberry plants should be up and fruiting starting now. I was told last year from a reliable source that you should pluck off the first set of flowers from a plant and they will continue to fruit harder, sweeter and longer. This year I have done just that I half of my robust patch and will wait to see how they fare and re post later about it. I am aiming for a bumper crop of these too. We have a massive stack of plants and they are all flowering profusely.
Fingers crossed. I love a good strawberry or 65.

That's all folks.

Keep watering. A long deep water makes for strong roots and healthy plants!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

For the pruning OCTOBER

These sunny days whipped with the chill of the mountains breath are amazing.
This month is a busy one in the garden, especially if you didn't get the most out of september with your prep, sow and weeding goals like me.
Best get stuck in then!

The start of October is all about getting leafy crops into the ground team! From late September until the 5th get as much as you can in. Think variety not quantity though and you will avoid having all your lettuce ready for harvest at the same time. Best to pop a few in every phase and insure that you have an abundant supply all season rather than feast to famine style harvesting.
This month in canterbury I am sowing peas, beans, lettuce, zucchini, a handful of various brassicias and basil galore indoors.
I also rather neglected my rhubarb crowns in August and September and they are really beginning to start a growth phase so I will split any yet un sprouted crown off at this time too. Be sure to lay down a rich bed of manure for them to go nicely back into. They love rich soil, I have mine In a very shaded spot in our current house and expected them to hate it but they have really thrived, throwing up the fattest sweetest stalks. The variety I have currently is missing that lovely rhubarb ruby blush and the stalks remain on the greener side but the flavour more than makes up for it, plus I have been given some skinny red stalk variety crowns which will be mingling in the patch and hopefully coming up just as happy and delicious as the tasty green ones.

From the 6th til the 11th weed and prep any up and coming beds. Lay down compost, plenty of manure and dig in any mulch that you have left from holding the weeds at bay over winter. If you have leafy crops awaiting some liquid feed between the 6th and the 9th is the perfect time to give it to em!

Root veges have the best chance for success if you sow them either side of the last quarter of the moon phase, so pops em in on the 12th and 13th and again on the 19th and 20th. If you mix carrot and radish you maximise space in the beds as your radish will be ready to eat earlier and harvesting them will act as a thinning out process for your slower growing carrots.

Sowing take centre stage again at the end of the month and from the 27th up through to early November it is again time to get and leafy of above ground harvesting seeds in.

Happy planting for summer


Monday, 5 May 2014

Awaiting the new little

Hi all, apologies for the delay, but I will not being doing any posts for the next month or two. Freya Bo and I are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our second child who will If all goes to plan, grace us with his presence in the next week. Needless to say I will not be heading out to the garden for a bit and have given myself permission to not feel guilty about it, which is a lovely feeling indeed. With a tyke under two and another on the way I have my usual concerns as to how my brain and emotional health will adjust, but I am happy to say that with one child kept alive for just over nineteen months, I have a bit more faith in my ability to successfully mother than I did last time!
Anyway, I am off the get Freya ready for her morning at Montessori - see you guys in a wee while, take care, plant some winter vege and stay warm xx

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

for the pruning APRIL

bah! another month bites the dust and i am still behind on my cooking updates.


ok folks, here is a quick update for your gardening list this coming month.

from the 3rd until the 12th is the time you want to get any fruit bearing or leafy crops sown. this month i will be adding to my already planted seed some silverbeet in both the regular white stalk and rainbow colored varieties - this is a go to on our table over winter and i have been remiss not to have planted some already. i thought the stash we had would replenish itself as it usually does but i seem to have managed to dig over it rather too vigorously and it has yet to show is face above soil. (as soon as i plant though, i bet all those dormant seeds will be springing up all over the show....oh well, more to share around the neighborhood i guess...
and, i have digressed, back on track.... so, silverbeet, more peas (i have been having the worst luck with remembering to water the seeds i sow lately and am putting the lack of germinated plants down to pregnant-slash-baby brain) mustard and/or cress can go in any as yet to be assigned bare patches of dirt to replenish nitrogen content in the soil for spring, spinach by the tonne and broad beans ( because they also bring up great things in the soil, but i just love to eat them on sushi nights, freshly podded, lightly steamed then saulted with a hint of butter, salt and rice vinegar. yummo.

liquid feed your plants from the 12th until the 15th and get your spade and fork out on the 15th and dig deep down in the dirt to  prepare any beds you have still remaining for planting ( great time to pay extra attention to where your soon to be sown rot crops will go, dig deep and rake well, the less clumps and stones in your soil the better your drops will be!)

root crops go in on the 18th and 19th and again on the 25th and 26th when water tables are at the best place for them to take off and if you have any bulbs waiting to go in, the 25th and 26t will do the job well for them too, though i will leave mine till next month and give them a good week in the refrigerator first to get them really gunning for success.

thats it for this month, the new moon strikes on the 29th, so get digging again over that time and if you intend to leave any beds bare fro the winter try covering them in pea straw or dead leaves, then a layer of manure, more pea straw and/or dead leaves and water in well. pop large sheets of plastic over this and weigh down wit rocks or stakes to gather heat and compost - i hear it will all be worth it in a couple of months when you find it wonderfully ready to dig through and plant in - i am gonna give this a try if i can manage to have spare un-planted areas in our patch.

take care all, and please feel free to comment.

autumn splendor and baking with the little

dont look at it.
just ease yourself back onto the sofa and, purposefully choose not to look it.
ignore the laundry pile
piled high on the chair
silently accusing you
crinkled and tangled into a chaotic mess of you-are-not-domestic-enough heckles and taunts
look at your book
look at your computer screen
look at the floor you vacuumed yesterday and the load of laundry you folded yesterday and have yet to put away
sigh loudly
at least loudly enough for the clothes to hear and feel ashamed for draggin your pregnant ass of the couch to fold it
fold it
put it all away (except for the little's stuff cos she is sleeping)
feel much more brilliant and bliss-filled as you smell caramel slice in the oven
realize a split second later that you in fact, smell burnt caramel slice in the oven
swear a few times to make yourself feel better and make a cup of tea
go back to the couch to drink it and nibble on some elderflower loaf and relax a while, waiting for the rain to ease enough for you to make a dash to the garden for peas, beans and spinach for dinner.

i found this recipe in a book called 'french children dont throw food'
i was visiting friends who were getting ready to welcome their first child and picked it up off the coffee table - i found it a rather interesting read. it is all about the differences between french children and their american or english counterparts. the authur tells us how french children have a certain calmness and manage to control themselves better than most other children she has come into contact with in both the usa and uk.
as with most books however that advocate various fool proof methods for raising children, i found it a little lacking when it came to applying it to our household, and, as with most self help books i took it with a grain of salt and used what i wanted, ignoring the other parts that didnt really mesh with my parenting technique.
what i have applied again and again from the book was a recipe that she included for kids to make.
it is a basic yoghurt muffin recipe, but i find it works really well as a loaf and is rather tasty when coconut and elderflower cordial (which i make myself every spring) are added to it. the relatively low sugar content means it is not too much sweet for the little to have as an occasional treat and the better she gets at the baking process the more involved she becomes at helping put it together. we have made this loaf together about 4 times and so far each time she gets better at not creating a huge mess and gets a little more responsibility. this time she did all the stirring without my cautionary hands fluttering near by, next time i think she will even be able to help with the scooping of the dry ingredients!

so, if you leave out the elderflower cordial and coconut threads you can keep it plain or add what ever else you fancy to this wee gem of a recipe.

and so, here it is.....


turn oven onto 180'C

3/4 cup of yoghurt (or milk kefir)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup oil
3 Tblsp elderflower cordial

1  1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup coconut thread

mix together wet ingrediants

in a seperate bowl sift flour nad baking powder and add sugar and coconut thread. mixing well.

add wet ingrediants to dry and gently fold though until just mixed.

pour into pre-greased loaf tin and bake at 180'C for 45 minutes or until skewer comes out just clean.

head outside to enjoy the last of the sun for the day and watch little show the visiting cat how to catch bugs.... or was that the other way around....

cool, cut and eat for afternoon tea with some fresh milk from the farmer down the road.

thansk for reading - please feel free to comment and come visit again


Monday, 3 March 2014

for the pruning MARCH

it catches and whips back and forth. smashing the wall with its arms and sending fragments of branch and leaf away from itself, mustered up onto a wild ride over the yards and beyond into the vast space of canterbury.
from my warm shelter i spy letters sweeping by, borne on unseen arms to rest in unexpected places never to be read. i witness the tops of mighty gums trees, thrust back and forth like river weed and my cup of tea warms my scratchy throat as i watch a long gummy arm in the distance come loose and swing its way to the ground.
last time there was a childs paddling pool held aloft in that same tree, maybe even by that same arm and i am reminded when, as a child, i was told during a visit to malaysia that repeat offenders had their hands removed for stealing.
i remember to secure the trampoline, so i pregnant waddle out into the wild, fumble and grunt and flip it upside down in some effort to keep it in our yard for the next 24 hours.
bo is away in the field on army drill - he was away in the last wind storm too. that one scattered tiles from the roofs and uprooted trees from almost everywhere, sending them careening through houses and over fence and power lines in a fierce display of natures strength and brutality.  i hope this one leaves us unharmed and with power once it has passed, though i do feel secure in the knowledge that there is a newly replenished emergency supply kit at hand, enough fire wood for the wet back and plenty of kind hearted neighbors close by.
a bucket careens down the street and March continues its steady pace towards April.

if the weather allows you get your gloves on, head out doors and start planting today, now even.
it is time to get yourself set up for winter in the southern hemisphere, before it gets too cold for seed to germinate properly.
from the 3rd until the 10th of march it is planting time for leafy or fruit bearing crops.
sow celery, leeks, spinach, cabbage, lettuce, peas, broad beans, silver beet, and of course get your bulbs in too so you can have a nice array of spring colour once winter begins to fade away.
i dontt hink i can be bothered with brassicas this year. every time i decide to plant them the white butterflies decend and my aversion to pesticides provide ample opportunity for their wee, green offspring to eat their merry way through my crops, making themselves fat before cacooning up in the crevice of a leaf to begin the cycle all over again. i dont have the grit (or the time) to pop out there and pick the little bastards off and squish them one by one, so this year, i think i have given up on them. with the exception of kale. i will always plant that, and it seems to prosper year round so will wait until the white bombers have eased off before getting a fresh lot in.

with the full moon coming on the 17th get your hoe out and strike down any weeds that may be taking hold, before applying liquid or other fertilizer to your plants on the 14th and 15th.

any root crops for winter can go in on the 20th and 21st, along with another round of liquid feed, and if your lawn is looking a little patchy or worse for wear grass will take really well if you sow it now too. but really, you cant eat grass, so it takes a back seat on my books and our patches will likely stay exactly where they are, year in year out til long after we have moved on.

i will be bringing the last of my spuds up on the 22nd-26th as the tops have almost died down and those skins should be hardened off micley. this means they can be better stored in a dark cool place for use over winter - though i am not expecting a huge crop, i didnt plant as much as i should have and we have been steadily raiding them for new potatoes to go with our salad and steak dinners over summer. hopefully the last late ones i planted will help out as they look to be thriving! i have already mounded them up with a mixture of wood ash and manure 3-4 times already and now they are looking lush and healthy with flowers aplenty beginning to open, along with the promise of a late run of new potatoes to come to the table soon.

your last lot of root crop sowing for the month is on the 27th and 28th. i will be planting turnips (if my seeds arrive in time, along with another run of radishes and some onion (lots of red this month i think as the brown ones are always so cheap at the supermarket and i will give the space i would have used for them to shallots next month.

the full moon hits on the 31st, so after your root crops are in take a well deserved break (or just a regular break if you got too busy with other things to do much this time around)

if you havent already got your fire wood sorted, now is defiantly the time to be getting it delivered. anything you decide to ring or split now will likely not be dry until later in the winter. (we were super lucky on this front as the last massive wind storm in september smashed trees down all over the place and bo got right to work on the carnage in and around the horse paddocks, clearing, ringing and splitting the lot of it. what we didnt need we left ringed and gave away, and i am resting easy in the knowledge that we have ample supply of dry wood to keep the new baby and the rest of us warm 24-7 over the frosty months. ah, he is such a good provider that man!) we are still collecting pine cones that came down then. every few days we get another couple of sack fulls to use to light the chippy and heat our how water cylinder. so far we havent had to use electricity at all to keep our water toasty hot since we moved in over a year ago. this saves us anywhere from $30 to $60 a month on the power bill if my reckoning is correct, and all it takes is a sack full of pine cones every other day, which freya and i collect when feeding the horses, or freya and bo collect on the weeeknds, while i pick up the copious masses of horse crap (bloody animals wont stop shitting, no matter how much i beg them too)
keeping up with the poo from 2 horses is starting to get difficult, and as my belly grown ever bigger and my hips and back grow ever more fragile i find it more and more of a chore! if there is anyone in caterbury after free manure, get in touch as i have a HUGE pile of it in the paddock just waiting to make its way to your vege patch, just bring a trailer and take as much of it as you want away for FREE!!)

anyway - thats it for the month folks.
still attempting to sort out my new camera hick-ups, but i do have a delightful rhubarb and dark chocolate meringue recipe to come, hopefully very soon along with a post on kefir, both water and milk varieties (amazing stuff if you havent heard about it already get your google on and find out about the benefits!)

happy winter preperation and thanks for taking the time to stop by


Monday, 3 February 2014

for the pruning FEBRUARY

another month rolls by and the grass here continues its golden fade into the dust.
i drive past my neighbours house and look in envy at her green lawns.
watering the grass is the last thing on my priority list, and so, the grass that is not lucky enough to abide near the raised garden beds within range of the sprinklers, is pretty much on borrowed time.

this month hurls us right into it with the moon approaching the first quarter on friday 7th its time to sow and transplant seedlings to try get a little more in before summer has faded and set up your winter supplies.
i am sowing more peas (god i LOVE them!) dwarf green beans along with leeks, cabbage, a small amount of bok choy, silverbeet, spinach and kale. the sowing period starts from monday 3rd (yeah, yesterday. i was too busy in the garden doing stuff to give you a heads up yo!) and continues through until the 10th.

fertilize your garden on the 12th and 13th to give your crops a much deserved boost.

the full moon is on the rise on the 15th so stop sowing, and get the old hoe down on any weeds that may be sticking there heads up. adding a bit of mulch after this will help your garden keep the moisture in and weeds somewhat subdued as well and, if you put in spuds last month, be sure to start adding more soil to the top of them once the sprouts start pushing up. doing this will insure you get a more bountiful crop, allowing the potato tubers more shoots to grow from under ground. i have been pushing dirt uphill over mine every few days and am hoping my second go at potatoes will give me more gold than the ones i had previously planted. i only have enough to dig up for dinner as new season potatoes and nothing left for storing. hopefully this way i will be able to actually have some left over to let the skin harden off and squirrel away for later....fingers crossed....

get root crops in over the 18th and 19th along with another run of liquid fertilizer. i will be sowing beetroot, swede, carrot, parsnip and onion (the onion will go into the same section i have just dug my new season potatoes out of as they should go rather well there i am told. the potatoes bring up something that the love out of the earth, and your onions should thrive. sorry, i forget exactly what nutrient this is, but i did read this somewhere, so i am giving it a go.)

thats pretty much us for the rest of the month folks. february ends on a rather chilled note, though you can get your spade and fork out over the 26th-28th to dig and prepare a section for sowing at the start of next month.

happy digging friends