For a great garden in
RIGHT NOW I’m having a glorious time at a horse clinic we’re hosting here in our river paddock. It will be wall-to-wall horses and I’ll be ignoring the call of crops to be picked and processed.
However, the important work will still be done. Brett will be onto it!
1Waterflowers and herbs
This is easy in February. I pick what I want once the dew has dried off, on what will be a hot sunny day, bunch the blooms, tie them with a bit of harakeke (flax), then hang them upside down in a cool, airy place. My main dried flower is gypsophila and I thoroughly enjoy the big airy bunches hung in corners of the living room. By next spring they will be looking tired and dusty, spiders will have overwintered in them, bits will be dropping out and they’ll have lost their zest. Then they go back outside to return to the earth and I look forward to the next harvest.
Scented rose petals get pulled off their
If things are very dry at your place right now, it’s not just your flower and vege garden that are
going to need watering. Trees also suffer from a lack of water, although symptoms can take up to two years to form (eg, leaves curling, wilting and turning yellow). If you have the water, give your trees a good drink. Water directly into the ground around the drip line, not around the base. Give it a good soak – the bigger the tree, the longer the soak – and use the
hose, not a sprinkler.
stems and scattered on trays or old sheets. They go into bowls on shelves and get a finger stir every now and then to release their delicate aroma. Lavender is dried and shaken out before I use it to replenish little bags which are tossed in the clothes boxes. Hot weather and watermelon are natural partners and these big, chunky, delicious and refreshing melons are fun to grow. They do need plenty of heat to ripen so here we grow them on ground covered in black plastic with slits cut for the plants. When the melons form the plastic keeps them clean and the sprawling vines soon cover the plastic. This does cool things down a bit but not enough to stop ripening.
Apples, plums, peaches, pears, nashi, potatoes, tomatoes, pumpkins and chillies mean it’s the start of the full-on harvest for food storage. Out comes the big preserving pan, jars and lids, sugar, vinegar and spices for stewing, brewing, bottling, drying and freezing to add variety to winter meals.
We make a few different types of chutney and we freeze peaches and chillies on trays, then store them in plastic bags, cook up tomato pulp, stew apples and plums, store potatoes, pumpkins, onions and garlic. Anything cooked and intended for the freezer is cooled before being frozen in disposable plastic cups. After freezing, the goodies are removed from the cups and stored in big bags, although in my campaign against plastic I’m planning on using cardboard boxes this year.