Belladonna Bess

An edible garden in Wellington, NZ

Snip snip July 3, 2009

Filed under: Garden — belladonnabess @ 11:56 pm

Pruning: I had a visit from a friend who knows how to prune stuff, so now all my berry and citrus fruit has been neatly pruned. From what I can remember the principles are – aim for an open vase shape, so remove anything growing towards the middle of the plant, remove anything dead, and remove any branches that are growing parallel to other branches.

Replanting: onions. I think this time it was blackbirds, surely it can’t have been a dog again with the gates up. No further sign of dog poo, so let’s hope that frustration is behind me.

Pinning: netting over the smaller plants that I suspect the blackbirds have been digging at.

Noticing: no sign of digging, ripping out, burying or general messing up of the mulch in areas where I put coffee grounds down. I’ll keep a watch on that – and maybe try some more experiments with coffee grounds. I’ll be most happy if I discover coffee to be blackbird repellent.

Saving: cucumber seeds. Last year I managed to germinate one cucumber seedling out of my last few remaining seeds of a cucumber variety I bought a couple of years ago from Koanga. The sold it under the name “Port Albert” and thought it may have been a German variety, all I know is it is exactly the same as my Dalmatian grandfather used to grow, so I wonder if it is a Dallie variety. I was thrilled to rediscover it, and grew some the summer before last, but was disappointed that I couldn’t get any more seed last year. So I planted my few remaining seeds, gently nursed my one precious seedling along, planted it out near the zucchinis in a special windbreak cage, and it rewarded me with one cucumber, which I left on the plant until the plant died back. I just left it, not quite sure how to get the seed out, but my friend cut it up and spread the seeds out on newspaper. Now I’m drying them off. The seeds look promising, so maybe in spring I’ll be able to get more seedlings.

Packaging: I bagged up the bean seeds that I saved. I’ve got Dalmatian beans that I managed to grow from one seedling I grew from a batch of very old seed from an old Dalmatian relative; Fardenlosa which is a common variety, but again something I always had as a child so I like it –  I’ve still got commercial seed of that, which is probably better quality; scarlet runner because it’s just really easy, ditto commercial seed though; and my random bean. I think it must have come in a packet of random old bean varieties I had from Koanga. It has huge, shiny flat pods, almost scarlet runner-sized but definitely not scarlet runner, it is an ordinary green bean but with a brilliant flavour and strange, faint purple speckles on (usually) only one side of the pod. The speckles aren’t really dramatic like the Dalmatian bean, it’s more subtle than that.

Eating: parsley, silverbeet, broccoli (fresh – I got a few more sprouts off my plants)

Foraging: lettuce, chickweed, rocket and miner’s lettuce. Just enough for a nibble from my feral salad bed, but I do love foraging straight from the garden.

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