Not Panicking Yet

As I mentioned in the last update, I have a wonderful garden club coming to visit the garden next month, and I need to make the corners look nice.  I think in the face of everything else I was in a little bit of denial as to just how bad I’d let those corners get.   Looking at it through the eyes of others and how they might see it – I’d die of shame as it is right now.  And so now as well as chipping away at the daily routine of weeding, feeding, and watering one of the 5 sectors, I’m trying to squeeze in a little project each day to sort out the ‘corners of shame’.

Soon it will be eggplant season – hooray. Although those spikes on the Baby Brinjal do frighten me a little.

If I just count the weekdays without other commitments in them, I only have 15 days to tidy the corners even though the visit is still a month away.  That isn’t a lot of time really – I may need help from somewhere.  I did have one of the teen lads helping me and that was working well until his hayfever got too bad.

Cleared out pond
The wildlife pond was full of scum, covered in duck weed and had evaporated to barely there. Around the outside were too many weeds – it was quite the mess – so I cleared it out and topped it up.
Barley straw for the pond
I made a small bale of barley straw and chucked it in the pond. It is supposed to help reduce algal growth in the water, which would be great, because I’ve had a lot of that in there too!
Dealing with future weeds
After clearing away the weeds there were a lot of weed seeds about the place. So I decided to treat them in a similar way to an old microbiological technique I learned back in the day called Tyndallization. It is how they used to sterilize things before modern technology. They would heat the substance to boiling point for 15 minutes for three days in a row – and the unwanted bacterial spores would germinate and then be subsequently be destroyed by the following days boiling until there were no spores left. So I figure if I water and germinate the weed seeds, hoe them off and then repeat the process a couple more times I should be able to get a relatively weed free soil to plant into. I’ll let you know how I get on.

In spite of being a terrible creature of habit, I have rejigged my days, so I am up and in the garden, nice and early.  I even started with a light jumper on this morning – but that only lasted no more than 10 minutes before I whipped it off due to a bit of a glow on my brow.  It has been a hot summer – even with the gentle sea breezes coming off the coast.  The black sand on the garden paths doesn’t help, and the garden can easily get to the high 30°Cs before lunchtime.   I have found I can be quite productive if I stay out there long enough not to burn my bare feet on the sand – this is normally until about 11am.  Then I come inside and do my computer gardening and head back out again as the temperatures cool down and I can walk on the sand again…  If I’m not too exhausted – that happens sometimes.

Seedling protection
I’ve put the seedlings in a low shallow tray so they can retain any water than drips through or down the sides. In this weather they need all the help they can get. I’ve also pegged a net over the top to stop any Cabbage White Butterflies getting at my brassica seedlings. Having said that I haven’t seen so many about the place lately – it could be down to the fact there are plenty of paper wasps about, eating caterpillars. The wasps and I have an understanding – if I leave them alone they leave me alone. It seems to work well.

It is good to have this long-ish term focus because it does mean the bits I’ve neglected get the attention they need and should have had months ago.  It is easy to think there is plenty of time to sort something out, all the while it is getting worse and worse – weeds have a funny way of growing enormous if you let them.  Especially if you are gardening like a madman in the heat of the day.   I seem to have a clearer head in the mornings so it has always made sense to do the computer gardening first thing – meaning I would just end up dashing into the garden for as long as I could bear the heat.  Which is why I’m in the mess I am with my corners.

Trellis arch
I extended my trellis arch to accommodate some late comers – a new to me variety of Luffa – a Ridge Gourd and some Zucchetta Tromboncino. Hopefully there is enough time left in the season to see a result.

I’m sure the garden will be ship shape and perfect in good time for the visit, and then I will try my best to keep it that way through regular maintenance so I can focus this newfound project time on interesting things…  like Room Two in The Palace.  That inkling of an idea is growing into something more solid and I’m starting to get excited at the opportunity to create another amazing space.

The Pukekohe LongKeeper Onions have been sunning themselves and will soon be ready to hang up in the shed ready for use.

I think being just over two weeks into to this new year I can safely say things are going well and if we continue on this trajectory, in spite of the chaos and craziness going on around us, my garden will continue to grow and provide me with a sanctuary from it all.

Come again soon – there is plenty to be done.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

3 thoughts on “Not Panicking Yet

  1. There’s nothing quite like arranging a visit to motivate us to get to things we’ve been too busy to manage. Don’t make your garden too perfect though. Good for the rest of us to see we’re not so far behind 🤣

    1. I think I need a regular – say every three months a reason to avoid shame in the garden. Although I appreciate there are various levels of shame… from the its not that bad – to the ‘I’d die of shame if anyone saw how bad I let things get!’ I think I’m mostly somewhere in the middle of all of that! : o)

  2. I will be interested to see how your weed control method works. I have heard something similar to get rid of oxalis, but it involves using actual boiling water poured on the plant to kill the root spores. I’ve never had to try it myself though, because fortunately I never had a problem with oxalis, so I’ve no idea if it works!

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