Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

Over winter I dug up a few wilding apple trees that were growing at the side of the road, no doubt germinated from apple cores thrown out of car windows. Now that spring is here they are leafing up quite nicely, who knows what the apples will be like, but in the meantime I’m hoping they will help pollinate my peasgood nonsuch this year. The cuttings I took last year from that tree are flowering at the tips, not sure if that means there will be roots underneath but it looks hopeful. The greenhouse has been planted way earlier that I can outside too, it’s warm today but I’m sure we’ll get more frosts yet here in the South Waikato!

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At four and five our grand kids really enjoyed ‘doing’ these crafts with some help. The borax crystal names were ready by the next day and the miniature gardens were an instant success with their little solar light glowing at night and a swing suspended from the handle.

For the crystal names, help them form their name in cursive writing with coloured pipe cleaners, then suspend them in a borax solution: 3 tablespoons of borax to 1 cup of hot water and some food colouring. I added extra borax to make it work well but shouldn’t have, the solution over crystalised. The name was then suspended on a skewer with fishing line. Next day we hung them outside to drip dry.

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I wasn’t sure if it would work but decided to go ahead and lay down polythene and plant the kumara plants through holes¬†this year. We’ve had a good frost and the leaves have been burned so it was time to see what the crop looked like under the polythene. The first plant had little skinny kumeras that didn’t bode well but the second one looked much better ūüôā

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Oops, a bit blurred!

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After five years waiting, a crop of three apples is a bit of a let down. The poetic description is what made me buy the heritage tree in the first place, “Apples as big as a boy’s head.” Who could resist such a tag? Ever the optimist, I’m already thinking that next year the tree will be more mature and maybe the ¬†apples will be bigger… and more than three would be nice.

Mmm, I’ve just cooked them up and they were a bit tart but broke up into a fluffy white pulp and had a great flavour!

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This is my new favourite way of dealing with all the home grown tomatoes. Rather than processing and bottling them in jars, I’ve been slow roasting trays in the oven and freezing them. All it takes is a bowl of ripe tomatoes, cut them into quarters, cut out the core then place them skin down on the tray. Sprinkle with oil, salt & pepper and roast in the oven until they are as done as you want. When they’re cool, the skin peels easily off the back before you put them into snaplock bags and freeze. Excellent.


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Insect Hotel.

At last we’re having some beautiful summer weather, just in time for Waitangi weekend. I took a walk around my garden this morning, admiring the lily out in flower and the fushia in full bloom that a friend gave me a cutting of five years ago. Around the side of the house where it’s dry and dusty and the lawn won’t even grow, I’ve constructed an insect hotel. I’m intrigued by the idea of a place where beneficial insects can take refuge in the nooks and crannies. Not a masterpiece but it looks better than the bare dirt…


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This year I’ve bought two big plastic containers from the Warehouse and had good success in germinating my seeds in them. For the first week they were well watered then sat inside by the sunny ranch slider with their lids on. Once the seeds were just sprouted they¬†were¬†easy enough to put in a sunny place outside with the lids off or if the day was too rainy the lids stayed on outside getting the light, then brought inside with the lids on overnight.At three weeks I’m happy to have healthy looking seedlings ready to pot on.


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