Tag Archives: veg

newsletter for july 2021

From Rhonda

A big thank you to all those who braved the cold night and brought beautiful food to help celebrate the solstice. We had a fun night and the quiz was won by Mary from Waikanae. Stephen Bishop baked a Christmas cake for the raffle and this was decorated amazingly by Marilyn Morrin.

Now is the time to plant your garlic and always time to feed and mulch. I was given a large bag of pine needles with sheep do for my strawberries and lemons by Marie – gratefully received. I have stopped using coffee grounds except along  the fence as the worms do not like caffeine.

The bane of my life is kikuyu. I watched a neighbor remove his whole lawn and replace with fresh turf. One year later and the kikuyu has returned!

My miners lettuce is serving us well through the winter. As the weather improves it will disappear completely then regenerate for next winter.

Your committee is preparing another celebration for our 110th anniversary. First up will be a display in the mall being currently organized by Julian who is also our next guest speaker.

We all need to start potting up our favorite plants ready for our flower show in October. We had a massive lot last year and sold most which was fantastic .

Although still a sponsor for our Annual Flower Show as usual, sadly we will lose the on-going support of one of our generous supporters. Gus Evans is retiring and his business is on the market. Gus and his family started the business from scratch and he will be missed by many. We wish him well with his next endeavours.

From Julian

All the paving stones we got at the end of May are now laid in our garden, it was quite a slow job with all the wet days we had in June.

Next comes the fun part, arranging the existing plants to fit the new and slightly larger garden beds and getting some annuals going for the remaining spaces. The long-term plan is still for a maintenance-free garden of shrubs and perennials, but who can do without sunflowers and zinnias and all that colourful summery stuff.

This year I got seeds of two types of ratibida, quirky and rather weedy annuals with flowers like big floppy Mexican hats. They came from Garden Post; and from Owairaka Seeds came seeds of phlox paniculate hybrids, those tall evening-scented phlox they grow in the UK, and ‘Miss Wilmot’s Ghost’, a plant I’ve read about often enough but never actually seen or tried to grow. I had never heard of Owairaka Seeds before, they offer seeds of an interesting range of plants including thirteen sorts of digitalis, great if you want to start a collection, and worth a look if you enjoy trying anything unusual from seed.

From Judi

 Hello everyone. It was really great to join you all for our awesome Solstice -Matariki – Mid Winter Celebrations. I thoroughly enjoyed the outing as most of you know I’m still in Wellington with my daughter, Helen, who’s had a Bone Marrow Transplant. Thank you to those who have passed on well wishes and been really kind to me. It means so much.

So  – I looked around at the small gardens here at the Cancer House which is right beside the new Children’s hospital and thought not much is happening here, but something wonderful is  –  one street away on a small plot of land opposite the Blood Donor building. It’s an  Urban Farm & Living Hub called KAICYCLE run by Volunteers.

The young people who look after it are passionate about sharing the vegies to others in need but they also do sell boxes to local cafes, restaurants etc. No doubt they need some money I guess to replace new seedlings and  any outgoings..etc once they harvest the last lot. A lot is grown from seed, so as organic as possible.

Anyone can volunteer to maintain the garden and I often see working bees going on (planting and keeping free of weeds with compost woodshavings, and any kind of mulch that different folks bring along for them. They practice rotation cropping with new  rows of beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, carrots, fennel, and other different things – oh so much more  – and it’s a real credit to the hard work they all put in. Recently I noticed  they  put a row of feijoas in the front of this section, plus other fruit specimens – all along the boundary fences so creating espaliers which Murray talked about on our recent get together. Well, I may not be home in my own backyard but I do get to enjoy something  close by and in the heart of the otherwise crazy busy traffic swirling around near the Hospital and city.

Happy winter gardening to you all. I hope to get home again soon to start thinking about potting up any free shoots of self seedlings for the Sales Table. If we all look hard enough we can find something under trees, shrubs, etc  –  even some popping up in the lawn to bring along. Trust you all stay warm and cosy.

From Stephen

Thank you everyone – all the subscriptions are paid. For those of you that paid by internet banking, remember to come and see me at the next meeting to get your receipts. The name badges for members,  except Life Members, should all have a blue dot. If you don’t have one  – you’ve taken your badge home, maybe – see Marilyn and she will remedy that.

From Diana

  The table for Mid Winter Shared Lunch had a lovely spread which was enjoyed by all. The competition table, “Just the Two of Us”,  was a bit light on entries:

Stage 1 – no entries

Stage 2 – Marilyn Morrin

Stage 3 – Yvonne Thomas

Open Class – Nil

Next month’s competition is “Black and White”. The arrangement here, including the container should only be black and white. The workshop will be practice for the “ Handheld posy.” This features spring flowers and leaves to wrap the bunches of individual flowers.

Marilyn has asked us to help out at the Coastlands Mall Display which will be held in September. The date has now been set for 28th September 9am – 5pm.

From Marilyn

The winter temperatures certainly discourage you from going out into the garden for too long, but I braved them the other day when the sun was out ( no warmer though). My ramble took longer than intended as I kept finding brave little treasures that had started to bloom.

My woodland patch had clumps of snowdrops, lavender violets, polyanthus and a couple of bright daffodils. A couple of dutch irises are ready to open but the prize of all out the front was the magenta buds on the magnolia tree that had broken out of their casings.

With that, I ventured around the back to see what else I could find. Several hellebores are now in full bloom, one a pure crystal white – fantastic – and the border of white primulas all had heads of flowers. Seems that the garden is waking up so I guess I will have to brave the elements a bit more and keep on top of weeds as they are sure to wake up as well.

Rhonda has already said it but let me add to it. A big “Thank You” to everyone for setting such a lovely spread and for the offers of help throughout the evening. Including our visitors from Waikanae, we had over 40 people there and no-one went hungry. In September, we are holding a display in the Coastlands Mall to put our club out there to the community and to advertise our Annual Flower Show in October. The Afternoon Floral Group are joining us and we will be displaying archive material about the club over the years. If any of you have anything that you think might be appropriate let us know. We are keen to cover as much of our history as possible. The display will be on September 28th from 9am – 5pm.

The latest beans

These are some I grew earlier!

The seeds came from Egmont seeds, and the variety is called Cobra. They are a climbing bean but a wigwam of 6-foot stakes was all they needed, so not too rampant. And they are good to eat – very tender and a mild but pleasant flavour. Perhaps their best feature is how amazingly quick they are to start producing; the catalogue says matures in 75 days but throughout the warm days of summer I’m sure they were much quicker than that. Definitely on next year’s seed list.

With that in mind I sowed the last of the packet about three weeks ago; it didn’t seem worth keeping just a few until next year. Now I’m just hoping for a long enough autumn to get a few feeds off them.

They are currently about nine inches tall!

beans two ways

They say that in Britain runner beans were grown as garden flowers for nearly a century before they realised that you could eat them too. I’m pushed for space in this little garden, the veges are grown in containers out the back, and the front garden is for flowers only. The scarlet runners can certainly do both jobs, I only wish I had found longer and stronger canes to grow them up as they are over the top already. Come to think of it, this should be a good way to grow rock melons or gherkins. That can be next year’s project, if there is room between the flowers.

If you think this is a new idea; here is an extract from a gardening book written in 1874:

Between these old Apple-trees and the young standards there was room, which I am making ornamental with cones of Scarlet Runners. We have some five circles on each side of the walk and shall train up the bean tendrils by strings fastened to a centre pole, so that in summer we shall have a succession of tents of scarlet and green. I tried this method of training Scarlet Runners on a smaller scale last year. The effect was excellent.

from “A Year in a Lancashire Garden” by H. A. Bright, eBook downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Growing veg through winter

We are keeping up a regular supply of garden veg by sowing a few seeds of cabbage and spinach in small pots. I’m hoping for 10 or 12 spinach plants and 3 or 4 cabbages, so I’ve sown 16 spinach seeds in one pot and 9 cabbage seeds in the other, I know, I counted them! When they have germinated and produced their first pair of true leaves the strongest will be transplanted into the veg garden, with some slug bait so they don’t disappear overnight. The spinach is called ‘Upright’ and is from Kings Seeds, but any sort not for summer growing will do; the cabbage is actually Chinese cabbage, the sort that makes a dense barrel-shaped head, and this one is ‘Napa Blues’ from Egmont Seeds. If you don’t already buy your seeds from a mail order company you might give it a go; they offer many more varieties than shops and lower prices too, the downside being that you get carried away in the catalogue and buy more seeds than you mean to – if that is a downside.