Belladonna Bess

An edible garden in Wellington, NZ

Hardly any gardening September 26, 2009

Filed under: Garden — belladonnabess @ 9:54 pm

After all the work last weekend, I didn’t get much done in the garden in the last couple of days. Hopefully I will only need to put in a normal amount of effort now to keep it under control.

Weeding: the garden where the fig tree used to be, and my salad greens bed. The main weed in the salad greens bed is chickweed, plus more miner’s lettuce than I can eat, so I was eating as I went.

Planting: a third (and last) pepino, this one “Ruby”. That’s filled up the bank in the frost free corner.

Breaking: the pear has now past budbreak. Also, I’ve shortened the strings tying the side branches to the wire every few days, and while the branches aren’t horizontal yet, they are close to it. I’m not sure what to do with the rest of it though. I need to remove some bits, but I don’t know enough about how they grow to know what I need to cut off.

Budding: there are two more buds on my Initial apple showing some signs of green. This is good news, as so far only one bud has done anything. Also, tulips in bud in the berry garden.

Setting: fruit are setting on my strawberries (at least on a couple of the Chandler). The first fruits have set on my gooseberry. But no sign from the broad beans.

Spotting: a bench that might do in the corner of the garden. It’s macrocarpa, with a nice curve on it.

I think that’s about it really. Oh, and I tidied my sunroom yesterday, not gardening, but I keep a lot of plants in there, so it is nearly gardening. Sort of.


I will probably wake up and find I was dreaming September 19, 2009

Filed under: Garden,Photos — belladonnabess @ 11:41 pm

Why do I think I might be dreaming? Because today, my garden is the closest that it has ever been to tidy. No bags of weeds solarising in the sun, no piles of concrete that I don’t know what to do with, no old potting mix/ garden bags that I can’t decide whether I should store or throw away, no bits of old wire and plastic that I dug up, no plants still in old potting mix bags from when I dug up the garden. Basically, nobody who knows me will believe it’s my garden.

Admittedly, some of the things mentioned above are still lying around on the deck, but the garden itself is tidy. It’s almost the “f” word, but of course no garden is ever really finished. So here it is.

OK, here it isn’t. For some reason I put the photo in, it appears fine, and then it disappears a day or so later. I’m afraid I don’t understand how the images work properly. So the picture is down the bottom with the Antarctic ones.

Planting: pepino “Blush”, Chandler and Lipstick strawberries

Repotting: two orchids that I badly neglected over the winter, the maidenhair and birds nest ferns from my bathroom, one strawberry that I have decided to keep potted.

Moving: my redcurrant cutting. I thought I had it in a spot where it could grow by the broad beans, but Faust has taken to sitting in, or on, the broad beans, and he was also squashing the poor little redcurrant.

Buying: some decent bypass secateurs (ambidextrous ones, as there weren’t any left-handed ones for under $130).

Pruning: my pear espalier. I got bold and cut the top off it, plus pruned off a few bits I definitely won’t need.

Trimming: my lawn, only it is far too weedy to be called lawn so I always have to call it a “lawn”.

Discovering: the bags of weeds were largely dead and well on the way to becoming compost. I won’t say all the couch grass was dead (yeah, right), but most was. Not bad going, most of them were bagged up at around the end of July I think.

Piling: the mostly dead weeds up with compost from my bin, coffee grounds, blood and bone, organic trace element mix and old potting mix to make a big heap in the middle of my “lawn”.

Covering: that heap with old sacks.

Sowing: various cucurbit seeds into small patches of seed mix, in holes on the sack-covered pile. It’s an experiment – I’ve never grown cucurbits like that, but I think it should work. I’ll see in a few months.

Sprinkling: more diatomaceous earth. I read  a tip that you should mist plants before applying and it will stick better (therefore you use less). I’m trying it on scale (orchids) and aphids (the grey ones that attack brassicas in spring). Not sure how it will work on those, but at least the slugs and snails won’t get those plants. I’m trying not to use too much though, because it is non-selective, apparently it does affect insects that are beneficial in the garden.

Wearing: shorts and t-shirt, and even sunscreen. Since I used the sunscreen that I took to Antarctica, and I haven’t used it since, I kept feeling like I was somewhere on the Ross Ice Shelf as I got wafts of a smell that I associated with that place. So instead of more garden pictures, here’s a small gallery of Antarctica shots. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.


Won’t be getting scurvy today September 18, 2009

Filed under: Garden — belladonnabess @ 10:40 pm

Today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Me celebrations were a bit restrained, but I ‘anged a new pirate flag above me vege garden and ‘ad Cook’s scurvy grass in me bread roll for lunch. So really I celebrated the day by not gettin’ scurvy, and writin’ me garden diary in pirate.Nice new flag

Potterin’: couldn’t be bothered doin’ too much today, I were just enjoyin’ the sun.

Repottin’: broccoli, tomato, lovage and dill seedlings

Sowin’: more zucchini and cucumber, horned melon (whatever that be), crown pumpkin, spaghetti squash

Tyin’: up me pear espalier

Weedin’: goes without sayin’ really

Addin’: more compost (me own from me compost bin) and coffee grounds to the bed where me tomatoes will be grown.

Constructin’: a frame what me tomatoes will be growin’ on once it be warm enough for them. I ‘ave two currant tomatoes what be nearly big enough to plant out, but they be needin’ another couple o’ weeks inside just yet.

Sproutin’: potatoes (not sure about the Maori potatoes, but the rest be up), oca. Polka flower buds

Breakin’: finally, a couple o’ buds be nearly breakin’ on me Qualicum raspberry, and the other cane of Autumn Bliss also ‘as signs of life. One bud on Initial broken, no sign of any others, both nectarines ‘ave lots o’ leaf, signs o’ life from the pear, Albany Surprise ‘as some leaves nearly at full expansion, Candice now broken and the unknown potted grape just at bud swell.

Germinatin’: carrots, peas, beetroot, sugar beet and lots of weeds (main vegetable garden), brassicas o’ divers kind (greens garden), pak choi, romanesco broccoli, cabbage (inside), either meadowfoam or Nemophila, I be not certain (pear garden). There be lots o’ weeds, but some “weeds” appear to be lettuce and such like, what be not weeds after all.

Buddin’: lots o’ buds on Waiau and Marcy raspberries, some be on the boysenberry too. Possibly also buds on Miho mandarin and whitecurrant but I be not sure yet. Looks like there be flower buds on me Albany Surprise.

Flowerin’: gooseberry, blackcurrant and redcurrant ‘ave a few flowers open and plenty more buds on the way. Polka in flower, the mad little thing. Chandler strawberries, Primula veris, tulips, Ipheon. Miner’s lettuce – it be so cute with its strange, perfoliate leaves with the flowers in the middle.Miner's lettuce

Eatin’: pak choi, celery, silverbeet, herbs, miner’s lettuce, lettuce, rocket, mustard, NZ spinach, Cook’s scurvy grass and the first taste of fathen for the season. Seein’ as the pak choi be nearly gone, the silverbeet be boltin’ and the celery be thinkin’ to do the same, I be thinkin’ that the garden might be a little lean over the next month. But divers salad greens abound. And there were a bumble bee in me broad beans so per’aps I be gettin’ pods soon.

Wonderin’: what be this fungus. There be more than one patch. Not accompanied by any obvious dyin’ goin’ on among me plants so far, so I be hopin’ that it be a good one.

fungus with alpine strawberry


Trying to keep pace with the weeds September 12, 2009

Filed under: Garden — belladonnabess @ 9:53 pm

It was an eventful weekend, but most of those events had nothing to do with gardening. However I did manage to get some work done today.

Raining: about 30 mm yesterday, but today was fine.

Reconstructing: did some repair work on the asparagus windbreak and the pea and bean structure

Weeding: lots of weeding. Couch grass mostly, plus a lot of small seedlings of things like fumitory.

Remulching: the area where my cucurbits are supposed to go in a month or so. Blackbirds had dug up most of the mulch.

Netting: trying to thwart the blackbirds.

Sowing: asparagus (in asparagus bed and pots indoors), broccoli (Precoce Romanesco), pak choi, mini cabbage (in garden by steps and pots indoors), aquliegia, black viola, black cherry tomato, ladybug tomato, fardenlosa beans, Dalmatian beans (all in pots indoors), sweet peas (outside).

Repotting: cucumber and currant tomato seedlings, into larger pots (yesterday)

Planting: violets (double mauve and double white), salad burnett

Sprouting: I used pruned pieces of redcurrant to try and stop the blackbirds digging up the garden. I went to pull them up since they weren’t working, and one wouldn’t come out easily. I dug it up carefully, and it had little roots starting and a bud breaking. I put it back in the ground, in a better location.

Flowering: Anemone blanda. I hadn’t even noticed it up.

Eating: celery, silverbeet, broccoli flowers, miner’s lettuce, lettuce, pak choi. Finally, a new vegetable from my garden. It was planted as a seedling in July 4th.

I’m particularly enjoying the broccoli flowers. They taste so nice, and they are also rather abundant.


I got what I asked for September 5, 2009

Filed under: Garden,Photos — belladonnabess @ 11:00 pm

Another stunning day.

Sunny morning

Planting: coloured silverbeet/ chard, pepino El Camino, black passionfruit “Black Beauty”

Buying: beet, pepino and passionfruit, plus a Boronia megastigma which I’m going to try in a pot with a low phosphorus potting mix.

Germinating: radishes, one zucchini (it was the one that wasn’t under the plastic cover. Not what I expected).

Eating: same

Budding: Primula veris

Hanging: a codling moth pheromone trap in the fivefinger. I actually put it up yesterday but forgot to write it in..

Basking: Faust sat among the blueberries and enjoyed the sun. I decided that I need to get a bench at the far end of the garden – first thing in the morning it is shady and cold on the deck while the back corner of the garden is lovely. But there’s nowhere to sit.

Faust and blueberry


I’ll have a few more like that please… September 4, 2009

Filed under: Garden — belladonnabess @ 10:03 pm

Nemophila "Penny Black"

Stunning day.  Started with a frost and continued with the lightest of wind and not a cloud in the sky. I’d love a few more like that.

Wearing: shorts, t-shirt and a sunhat. With the sun shining down and completely sheltered from the southerly, it was actually hot. Out of the sun it was COLD.

Freezing: heavy frost this morning, much more than the last one. Similar distribution over the garden, but it was harder, and it got into my potatoes. Hopefully they will be ok, but a couple of them a looking rather mushy.

Planting: Doyenne du Comice pear. Eventually this will be espaliered along the fence. I’m not quite sure what to do with it at this stage, but at least it has the bottom two branches in the right place.

Constructing: a bamboo frame for my peas and beans. I’m hoping that once it is complete it will be quite robust and stand up to the wind. It runs north/ south and there is green plastic mesh on the east side for the peas.

Recycling: old pantyhose. On the west side of my bean/ pea frame, I’ve got old pantyhose running from the bamboo pole along the top to the ground. Or I will once I’ve got some more weedmat staples to hold them down. Right now they are just hanging and look really silly. It’s a bit of an experiment, but I’ve tried beans on bamboo poles, but the bamboo is a little slippery. They like to have something for the main stem to twine around, but climb better up something rough. Here it is half-finished.

Strange construction in my vege garden

Sowing: peas (south to north), Alderman’s tall climbing, sugar snap, Chinese snow pea and Carouby. I think some of the seed is oldish, I noticed that the sugar snap said sow by Jan 2009. Oops. If it isn’t up in a few weeks, I’ll buy some more.

Also sowing: beans (south to north) scarlet runner and Fardenlosa. It may be a bit early, since I had frost this morning, so I’ve put in a few and if that doesn’t work I’ll sow some more later. I’m also going to do some in pots, as that seems to work ok last year with the Dalmatian beans.

Sprinkling: diatomaceous earth over my brassicas and anything else I thought might be tasty to a snail.


Germinating: my yellow cucumbers. These are from saved seed, the original bought seed had pretty slow and unreliable germination. So I’m pleased that the seed I managed to save is good.

Also germinating: more tomatoes, Dianthus, lovage and celery. I think that there might be a couple of radishes coming up in the root vegetable garden, but I need to leave it a bit longer to be sure that they aren’t just weeds.

Checking: the wood on my Qualicum and Autumn Bliss raspberries. The canes seem to be still alive, even though there is no sign of life, so hopefully they will eventually sprout.

Noticing: spring bulbs don’t like growing through alpaca fibre mulch.

Eating: silverbeet, celery, salad greens

Flowering: tulips, daffodils, Nemophila and more strawberries.