Today it is exactly a calendar year since we moved into our new-to- us home in Pataua South, Whangarei.
This means we have experienced four seasons. As a general comment, we think Whangarei is a good 2 degrees hotter than Auckland. We are also now very attuned to rainfall, or lack of it, as we rely on tank water (again). Strangely, living out on the Heads seems to mean the Rain Gods often give us a miss. It will be bucketing down at work, but often when I get home I will find that not one drop has fallen out here.
Needless to say, it is always when we need it the most too. Like in the height of summer when the vege garden could do with a good drenching. Or the time when the man inadvertently filled the troughs but forgot to turn the tap off. In the latter case, Murphy’s Law came into play and the ballcock failed us too. Yes, it was good bye to more litres of precious water than we care to admit!
But let’s swing back to the state of the vege garden. I am pleased to report that it is doing well, or most things are. We did lose the last lot of lettuce I planted to the slugs. And it was touch and go with the corn and the tomatoes when a ferocious wind came through about 10 or so days ago and flattened them. Luckily, the corn and tomatoes were able to be saved and are flourishing again!
The crops that are doing well beside the corn and the tomatoes are the garlic, the capsicums, courgettes, lettuce, rhubarb and chillis. These are all down one end of the
The other end has the beetroot, beans, cucumber, and spinach. These are growing, but unlike the other veges, are not thriving. The soil here seems to not be as friable, so I figure I need do some research to correct this – maybe add some compost to it or other magic potions? Not sure, but I guess I’ll figure it out.
Which brings me to compost. At the moment I haven’t got a bin. I was slightly put off the idea of compost when a friend told me she had opened hers and found herself eyeball to eyeball with a humongous rat. The pits, right?
However, I have moved past my fear and decided I do want one. In fact, I need one to be Ms Efficient Gardener, so I am going to get one! Actually I am going to twist the man’s arm and get him to make me a wooden affair with three bins in it. This is going to be one of his summer projects, as is starting on the hens’ accommodation and enclosure.
As for the orchard – well, I pruned in my haphazard learner’s way and started a spray programme a few months back. Yes, this woman had high hopes for bumper crops of plums, apples, nectarines, and peaches.
To date only the plums are ripe. And in spite of having two and a half trees (a past owner cut one tree down which I am now letting regenerate), we have had a miserly crop. I did have concerns that any possum within cooee would have taken up residence in the orchard and feasted on our produce, but there is absolutely no evidence that they are the culprit. No, the sad fact is that our trees have not yielded much at all. So little that I very much doubt that there will be any plum jam made this year.
The apples are another sad story. Last year, the trees were full of codling moth (note Dear Reader, I was going to put an expletive in front of the word ‘codling’ but refrained). This year I was determined to deal to the blighters. I purchased sticky things to pop in a state-of-the-art plastic green thing that a former owner had positioned in one of the apple trees. This sticky pad attracts and traps the male. Once the males start arriving, this then signals to me that I need to swing into action to dissuade the females from moving into the apple crop. I also sprayed around the two apple trees with Neem oil as this apparently deals to the female before they start to wreck havoc with the fruit.
All well and good right? Well, yes and no. The plan failed miserably because the former owner had the green plastic thing hanging in the wrong tree. They had it on a plum tree, not an apple tree. I therefore had sprayed Neem oil around the base of the wrong tree. By the time I realised my error, the wretched female codling moth had started her quest to damage my fruit.
Of course, I have done some remedial work to try and save some of the produce, but realistically it is touch and go. Next year though, I will win the codling moth war.
I am now pinning all my hopes on the peach and nectarine trees delivering!
Meanwhile in the land of pretend farmers, we are getting ready to say sayonara to two of the lambs. Kayel turned up yesterday and said it was time. Not so long ago, I struggled with this concept. Now? Well, not so much.
The man and I have grown here. Definitely.