Belladonna Bess

An edible garden in Wellington, NZ

The rain held off… June 27, 2009

Filed under: Garden — belladonnabess @ 10:17 pm

Bitterly cold southerly and a horribly dull day, but it didn’t rain.

Eating: vegetable soup made from bought pumpkin, onion and leek (and bacon), plus my own celery, silverbeet and herbs.

Nibbling: self-sown salad greens – lettuce, rocket, chickweed and…

Tasting: the first miner’s lettuce for the year. This is my favourite salad green – I’ve now got it wild in my salad green bed, coming up amongst the parsley. Naturally it seems to germinate in the early winter and then disappear by mid-spring, but it is possible to get a longer season if you plant seed. I think it is mostly water so I don’t think it would be worth cooking, but it is a lovely mild, juicy leaf that I enjoy in salads, sandwiches and of course just munched straight from the garden.

Planting: blueberries. I mixed in coffee grounds, compost, peat and sheep manure pellets (plus the alumimium sulphate I added yesterday). Hopefully that should have the soil at a suitable acidity. I don’t much like using peat as I don’t think it is particularly sustainable, but it is the best for blueberries, so I use it for them. The last time I grew blueberries, I also used aluminium sulphate and peat in ordinary garden soil, and they were doing well 5-7 years after planting, without any additional help. Of course they were in beautiful alluvial soil on the Canterbury plains, not Wellington.

The blueberries are on a low terrace above my strawberries. Standing on the path below looking at the blueberry bed, I have Blue Dawn and Blue Magic (northern highbush) front left and front right, with Misty and O’Neal (southern highbush) back left and right. Theoretically, the northern highbush require more chilling as it comes from further north in the US, but the label says that it fruits well in warmer climates, so hopefully it’s ok.

Buying: one more southern highbush blueberry (Petite Blue) to pollinate Misty.

Also planting: seedlings, mainly brassicas (savoy cabbage, ordinary cabbage, cauliflower and a couple of silverbeet that came in the pack with the other seedlings). One of the local garden centres sells the seedlings that come wrapped in newspaper rather than in plastic punnets.

Experimenting: I’ve read that coffee grounds repel slugs and snails, so I planted two rows of savoy cabbage and spread coffee grounds around one row only.

Muttering: more evidence of digging in my garden, suggesting that the dog made a repeat visit in the last 24 hours.

Investigating: what apple trees are available in the shops. So far, most of the ones available are the same ones that are grown and sold commercially. That’s a bit of a shame, as most of those varieties are bred for characteristics that make them useful commercially. What they aren’t bred for is disease resistance, so they need a lot more spraying. They are hard work for a home gardener and really not suitable for an organic gardener (or a mostly organic gardener). I’m still hunting for more of the old-fashioned or modern disease resistant selections.

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