Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Winter garden

Don't plant spring onions in winter in temperate regions. Either the chickens or the frost took most of these plants. It may be the particular bed I used, which I have noticed is more shaded so the spring onions were in frost much of the day. I have planted spring onions in raised beds before through winter so it is important to think about where these are planted. Now it is spring, I have planted more.
The leeks haven't grown much but are most are still present and not dead so I am hoping with spring they will decide to grow bigger.
The garlic is looking great and I am excited to see if we actually will have a decent garlic haul come December/January.
The shallots are not as successful. Not all the shallots have sprouted. Some have disappeared, possibly eaten by a chicken. But some have sprouted and are looking strong so we will at least get some shallots.
The red onions were only planted a few weeks ago in late winter. They are mostly still in the garden, not dead but not thriving as yet. Hopefully like the leeks they will take off with the warmer spring weather.
The garden is an ongoing experiment of trying different things, trying to repeat the same for what works and changing what doesn't. The advantage of our increasing garden space is hopefully we will have room for failures while still having enough vegetable supplies. I think I need to plant in excess, now we have the space, to see how much survives. It is definitely still a learning experience for the garden.
I have just improved our cloches from bird netting, held up by a random selection of bamboo. Now I use three hoops of flexible black pipe from the Bunnings plumbing section. It is black water pipe. It is relatively narrow, quite flexible, already cut into lengths and was only $5 something for each one. I push each end into the ground, bending it over the garden bed, then I put the next one in about a metre down and stretched the bird netting over the top, pulling it tight at each end to keep it up in the air above the plants. I was looking at buying the netting off the roll but ended up buying a 4m x 4m piece already packaged as part of my experimental kit. I used tent pegs at each end to tie it down to the ground. It looks a lot more organised than the previous set up. I use mulch across the garden so some of the bigger sticks are also now holding down the sides of my cloches to the edge of the bed.
I could buy also frost protective material for next winter and use it over the same black pipe, if they prove up to the task. My only concern is the cloche will not be tall enough for keeping my tomatoes all summer away from the birds. Once the current plants are big enough, not to be eaten by the pesky black birds, I plan to take off the netting. This won't be the case for the tomatoes, so I will need to find some long lengths of flexible pipe.

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5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.