For a great gar­den in

NZ Lifestyle Block - - In Jane's Garden -

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

the month

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.

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