Belladonna Bess

An edible garden in Wellington, NZ

Shivering June 19, 2009

Filed under: Garden — belladonnabess @ 6:07 pm

Today is not a gardening day, as much as I really want it to be. While I sit and wait for the fine weather, here is an inventory of what I have in the garden already.

Fruit

Blackcurrant: possibly variety Magnus but I can’t remember. I had this in the ground a year and a half, but it spent last summer in an old potting mix bag on my deck, due to garden construction. In the first year I got a few fruit off it, enough to nibble and cook up with stewed apples. In the second year I got very little due to misreading the pruning instructions in a book.

Redcurrant: possibly variety Gloire de Versailles. I’ve had this two seasons – I has the same history as the blackcurrant. Nothing much in the first year, but got a bit more the next year. I ate all the fruit straight off the plant.

Gooseberry: unknown variety, but most likely Invicta as that is the most common. Given to me earlier this year, all it has done so far is lose its leaves.

Raspberry: variety Waiau. I’m excited about this one. I’ve had it two years and it seems to do well here. I planted one little plant in spring, and got a few fruit in summer. Then it put on lots of vigorous new growth, which surprised me by producing quite a few fruit in the autumn. Well, about one a day for a few weeks. For the first season I thought that was pretty good!

Last summer, it was in a pot on my deck and I got several berries a day for a few weeks. However I didn’t get anything in the autumn as it got a bit dry and had probably used up all the nutrients in the pot. Now it is back the ground, and I hope next year I will get more fruit from it.

A warning – the spot where I originally planted it and then dug it up from still has more raspberry plants coming up. Raspberries have fairly invasive roots so plant them where they won’t bother you, or anyone else, if they spread a bit.

Raspberry: variety Ivory. Been in the ground a few months, done nothing much so far.

Rhubarb: variety Victoria. This got smothered by weeds for the first couple of years and hasn’t done much. I just planted it out in it’s nice new bed with lots of compost, sheep manure pellets and thick mulch a couple of months ago and it’s looking very happy. Or rather I’m interpreting the fact that it is growing very well as happiness, which is silly really, but you know what I mean.

Passionfruit: Robinson’s black passionfruit and red banana passionfruit (Passiflora antioquiensis). Both in pots, I’ve had one fruit off each over 2 years and I really need to get them in the ground. I’ve got a spot in mind, and it didn’t even get frosted in the heaviest frosts I’ve had over 3 years so should be good for them.

Lemon: Meyer. Planted about January I think. Spent the summer being smothered by tomatoes and the autumn smothered by broccoli. Doing very well thank you. Not sure I’m recommend the “smothering” approach to citrus growing, but it seems to be working.

Mandarin: Miho. Planted at the same time as the lemon. The leaves seem rather pale and it doesn’t looking like it has done anything. Doesn’t look half as happy as the lemon despite apparently having a better spot. Clearly it hasn’t been smothered enough. It might get moved if it doesn’t pick up. I have a spot that I think might be more sheltered, certainly a little bit warmer, so perhaps that will help.

Strawberries: Chandler. Taste good and grow well. The best thing I have learned is that catnip is a great companion plant for strawberries. Or at least it is if you have two catnip-loving cats who spend all day by the catnip bush! The birds won’t go near the strawberries, or rather they won’t go near the cats who don’t even notice you have cunningly put them to work as strawberry guards.

I discovered this accidentally, when I went away for a couple of weeks and put the cats in the cattery. All my strawberries were eaten when I got back.

Strawberries: white alpine. Excellent little strawberry, with a delicious fruit with a far more complex and interesting flavour than the big red ones. Easily seed propagated (just take a fruit that ripened too much) and produces fruit for more than half of the year. I had one planted in a spot where I liked to sit and I would sit beside it, picking and eating the fruit straight from the plant. This has reminded me to make sure I locate some white strawberries in some nice spots for sitting in my new garden design.

I should add that I eat berries (and other things like beans, various greens etc) straight from the garden and never bother washing them, although if I’m offering them to visitors, I do. You know how it is, your own dirt always seems cleaner!

No time today to write about my vegetables. Another day.

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