More work in progress

Four more rows of seed potatoes go in

I’m getting quite a kick out of my decision to grow everything in rows this season. For some reason it’s ridiculously satisfying to look back at a perfect line of transplanted seedlings, or seed potatoes in a straight trench, and think… job well done! I might come to regret it later on, when there’s a neat row of weeds between every row of veges and flowers, but for now I’m feeling very industrious. And let’s face it, it’s much more fun having a tidy garden than a tidy house (which, for the record, I don’t).

The weather was a game of two halves this weekend: picture perfect on Saturday and wild, wet and windy today. On Saturday I was a bit late opening the flaps on my seed raising house. It felt like a furnace when I unzipped it; I’d fried my honeywort seedlings, the rocket had collapsed and the pot of crocus bulbs I’d popped in there earlier in the week to speed up their growth had sped up so much that all the flowers had opened up and promptly shrivelled up. Oops.

Vege seedlings transplanted: 1 tray of swedes (Lucas better like mashed swedes because I’ve sown dozens of them), 4 parsnip seedlings (not a great germination success), 24 ‘Buttercrunch’ lettuces, 18 ‘Cheddar’ cauliflowers (impulse shopping), 18 red cabbages (I’ll end up giving most of them away, but I just love the look of big purple cabbages in vege gardens) and 2 rows of ‘Pearl Drop’ onions (never again: separating and spacing out the little seedlings is such a boring job that next time I’ll just sow them direct)

Flower seedlings planted: 3 punnets of delphiniums, 2 punnets of dwarf marigolds, 2 bundles of pink honesty, 2 bundles of red stock, 2 bundles of bupleurum (I don’t even know what this is, apart from the fact that it looks like a euphorbia and is apparently good for picking, but Awapuni Nurseries now does home delivery so I went a bit mad ordering from their website), 1 bundle of giant pansies (I hate pansies but they came free with my order and I didn’t have the heart not to plant them!)

Seeds sown: 2 packets of ‘Dwarf Early Green’ broad beans and 1 packet of ‘Dwarf Massey’ peas (frozen peas are the only frozen veges I buy, so I’ve set myself the challenge of growing all my own this year); plus 2 packets of Made for Shade wildflowers

Seed potatoes planted: 2 bags of ‘Cliff’s Kidney’, 1 bag of ‘Ilam Hardy’ and 1 bag of Tui’s new ‘Summer Delight’

Bulbs planted: 15 dark purple ‘Flevo Waris’ and 15 white ‘Flevo Dancer’ gladioli

Mystery disappearances: 1 x row of dwarf marigolds and at least 30 of the Russell lupin seedlings I finished transplanting last week. They’ve been eaten by something. My bet is slugs and snails. Rotten sods! (Although our two Pekin ducks appear to be taking a suspicious interest in my new garden too. Does anyone know if they wrap their sticky beaks around vege seedlings?)

24 thoughts on “More work in progress

  1. Good evening -How can you possibly not like pansies? Their little faces look up at you so beautifully when in the garden and the colours are amazing.I have lovely blue lupins sprouting in my small frame but the self sewn one on the path already has a flower on. I am eating broccoli and my caulis are coming soon after. Sopring onions up and lettuce and my new Black Boy peach is flowering I now have two as I love them so much and they freeze well. My Arigula has served me well all winter and is thriving.

    • Hi Ann,
      I just don’t like plants that sit so close to the ground – pansies just end up splashed with mud every time it rains. They are nice in containers though. Your garden sounds like it’s going great guns. My ‘Black Boy’ peaches from last year are budding up but haven’t burst yet. Can’t be far off though!

    • Hi Ann, Your growing a Black Boy peach…I have looked high and low for this tree. Do you know where I would be able to purchase this tree?

  2. Slugs and snails hate me and my plants in pots, whether they are seedlings, vegetables, herbs or flowers, because I know of a demon deterrent — petroleum jelly. The slimy ones absolutely will not cross it to gnaw on a plant, no matter how tempting it is. But I have never found a good way of transferring the petroleum jelly technique to my in-ground garden. On my pots, I finger-stripe the jelly in an unbroken circle around the pot somewhere, usually near ground-level. It is clear, so it is not unsightly. If the pot is near a wall the gliders may climb to outwit me, I’ll put another stripe of jelly on the pot near the wall to deter them from crossing onto the pot. Any ideas about how to transfer this handy deterrent to a full-scale vege garden — it would save so many seedlings, if nothing else!

  3. Our peking ducks are just as naughty as the chooks… only they dont tend to look for trouble so much as stumble upon it. They have very innocent looking faces…

  4. Hello Lynda, Sian from Pukekawa here.
    I have raised a heap of tomato seedlings and potted them into bigger pots. When would you think the best time to plant them into the main garden would be? I have also cleared a large raised bed of a very strange shape and I wondered what would be a good thing to use to walk in between the patches? Do you spray your peach trees? Crikey lots of questions but the climate wouldn’t be too different in Hunua would it?

    • Tomatoes can be planted now if it is reasonably sheltered or you can protect them from the wind, as the wind still has a bit of chill in it still it will damage the leaves.
      Peach trees can do with a spray pre bud burst or when the buds swell a lime sulphur spray helps to reduce curl leaf and black spot in fruit aftyer bud burst at new leaf stage copper or similar mixed at the recommended rate on the bottle , again to help control leaf curl and blackspot.

      • Hi Alan,
        We’re still getting frosts here so I’ll wait a few more weeks to get my tomatoes in. The peaches, peacharines and apricots are in blossom now. Can’t wait to get the first crops off them this summer.

    • Hi Sian,
      Wait till Labour Weekend. It’s still too cold at night for tomatoes. Do you mean some sort of path material, like mulch, to walk on? Or pea straw? I haven’t sprayed my peach trees this year, but I should have. Copper’s all they need to stop leaf curl and brown rot spores.

  5. Wow you have been industrusteous, I hope the result is successful – you make me feel lazy but I do not feel confident planting seeds and buy seedlings of flowers, I must take the plung oneday.
    Thanks for your update. Regards, Dawn

    • Hi Dawn,
      I have bought dozens of punnets of flower seedlings this season. I’ve never really bothered with bedding flowers before but I’m having fun popping them in between the rows of veges. And now I’m recycling all the empty punnets by sowing flowers too. It’s a whole new ballgame. My rudbeckias have just germinated and they are like small green specks – I really can’t see how I’ll be able to nurture them from such tiny things into fully grown plants by summer.

  6. Oh yes Linda ducks eat grass so go for your seedlings. I have lost a few punnets of salads left on the ground level and when the ducks spotted them in a second they were all gone. I made the same mistake last year to have my tunnel house left opened and I had a duck raid in it and all my salad seedlings were eaten too…
    Do your ducks go for polystyrene boxes? mine love making holes in them. We are wondering if it is their way to be able to float (Joke)

    a bit a wet day today here in Piopio King Country

    • Hi Noelle,
      So far I haven’t spotted any obvious duck damage. I watched them waddle through my potato patch this morning. We’ve mounded up the plants and they appeared to be doing their best to unmound them. Digging for worms maybe? Do ducks eat worms?

  7. Linda, Lucas is so not going to like mashed swede, he’s a kid – heck who does like mashed swede? Just thought you might need some time to start looking for other options for all your swede…

  8. Mashed swede is 100 times nicer if it’s cooked with and mashed with carrot and a knob of butter or suchlike. That’s how I got my husband to eat it. Boy, veg are eye-wateringly dear to buy. My normally dependable beetroot, seedlings planted before winter, are still more or less roots, about twice the thickness of a piece of spaghetti. I can’t figure it out.

  9. Hi Lynda,

    Susan from Dunedin here. Just wanted to tell you how much I’m enjoying your blog. I have a class blog as I teach five year olds, and know how much work is involved in keeping them current. I have recently watched your Get Growing TV series ( both families) and found them very inspiring. My 13 year old daughter loved it too so here’s hoping she’ll love gardening one day. I didn’t develop the interest until an adult despite my mother and grandmother being “experts”.
    I am now really jealous of the gorgeous garden you’re developing on the farm. My husband and I would LOVE a farmlet and hope to purchase one before we are too old to do the physical work involved. ( We are ONLY in our 40’s !!!! So a bit of time yet I hope.) I love the idea of making the garden as big as you want because of the seemingly endless space available when you have “land”.
    At the moment I need to be content reading about the wonderful areas you are developing. I love the garden you are developing on the horse arena and will look forward to seeing it develop.
    Thank you for an informative and inspiring blog 🙂

    • Hi Susan,
      I didn’t develop an interest in gardening till I was a teenager, and even then it came out of the blue. My grandparents were all keen gardeners but my parents weren’t fussed, though Dad is a keen tree planter. It is good fun starting a big garden from scratch, though I suspect I may have to rein in some of my ideas or things could all get out of hand. My husband looks increasingly nervous everytime I suggest a new project…

  10. Lynda, your photo of the potatoes ready to plant in the trenches. Do you just cover them where they are, or do you put them into the mounded up part? They seem close – how much? Maybe I’m planting mine too far apart. How are you going to deal; with psyllids? (I hope you don’t have to?
    Carol, Levin

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