How we get the gar­den through

NZ Lifestyle Block - - In Jane's Garden -

Hol­i­day time is com­ing, and it looks like the sun will be shin­ing for all the campers and tram­pers, the boat­ies, the bik­ers, the horse riders, and those of us who want to get out­side, soak up the sun and enjoy this fab­u­lous coun­try.

Putting in a burst of en­ergy in the first week or so of De­cem­ber will set your gar­den up for the next few weeks. It’s a weird time of year, with much more busy­ness than usual so we can go play with a clear con­science.

Our flower gar­den is look­ing colour­ful but is now past its first ful­some flush so a bit of re­plen­ish­ment work will pay div­i­dends as the sum­mer pro­gresses. In the of­ten zen quiet of an early sum­mer morn­ing we will be cut­ting off spent flower heads, spread­ing more com­post, adding stakes to sup­port new growth, ap­ply­ing liq­uid feeds or plant­ing a few seedlings for a bit of ex­tra colour in late Jan­uary. An early start in the gar­den means we can watch the day com­ing in, enjoy the bird­song and steady our­selves for the com­ing day. A bit of steady­ing can be very handy at this some­times crazy time of year. Like the flower patch and wider gar­den, the veg­etable area needs to be prepped for the hol­i­day sea­son whether you are go­ing away or hav­ing oth­ers com­ing to stay forthe hol­i­days.

Food pro­duc­tion is an on­go­ing, for­ward think­ing mis­sion, so an ex­tra sow­ing of rapid-grow­ing mesclun mix and more salad greens will help with feed­ing ex­tra visi­tors. Do this three weeks ahead of time and it should be just right for Christ­mas.

Straw­ber­ries will hope­fully be in their sec­ond flush in time for the fes­tive sea­son. My straw­berry patch has grown in size for this sea­son and I have high hopes for the plants which were given to me by my neigh­bour Jill. She has no idea of their name but for years now they have been pro­duc­ing abun­dantly and with a true old-fash­ioned straw­berry taste, the kind that peo­ple re­mem­ber from 40 years ago.

Sum­mer fruit is plen­ti­ful here, with early plums ripen­ing, straw­ber­ries, limes, the last of the or­anges, and it won’t be long un­til main crop plums and peaches come on stream. The av­o­ca­dos have re­cently flow­ered, been pol­li­nated and set fruit, and last years’ fruit set are now ready to pick, ripen and eat.

Al­though we don’t grow them here be­cause of the wet weather, there will soon be the sum­mer treats of rasp­ber­ries,

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