New Zealand Garden Diary: Planting Winter Vegetables

Yesterday was 25 degrees but it plummeted about ten today. And the sun is getting lower and will soon be disappearing behind the crater rim mid-afternoon. Time to get the winter veggies in.

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I’m hoping the purple-sprouting broccoli I also planted does as well as it did last year.

FAB Club 2 Wins Bronze in the Wishing Shelf Awards for Books for Children 9-12

FAB Club 2 – Friends Against Cyberbullying has just won bronze in the wishing shelf Book awards. FAB (Friends Against Bullying) Club was shortlisted for the award last year, so I’m delighted that the sequel was an even bigger hit with young readers.

Click the image below to see the other winners in the awards.

New Zealand Garden Diary: Tomato Harvest

Most of my tomatoes did ripen in the end and I have harvested the last of them and put the green ones in brown paper bags with bananas to ripen them). They haven't tasted as good as last year and I'm not sure why. We haven't had a lot of rain, but they taste a little watery. perhaps because I have had to use a hose and they have had too much at any one time. So to intensify the flavour I have roasted them in the oven with my home-grown garlic and thyme and a bit of olive oil and salt.

Roasting a tray of tomatoes with olive oil garlic and thyme

I then put the roasted tomato mixture in sterilised jars. I'll be testing some of it tonight with pasta.

Jar of roasted tomatoes, garlic and thyme

New Zealand Garden Diary: Mulching With a Truckload of Shredded Trees

The topsoil in our garden isn't very good (that which remains after we lost a lot of it in the landslip in 2017). It is heavy clay on top of loess, which is a glacial wind-blown silt that forms dense pans that plants find hard to get their roots into. So it's needs a lot of improving. As well as compost and bokashi, I am using thick layers of wood chip mulch, which will break down eventually to feed the soil (I was inspired by the woodchip-covered garden, if not the proselytising, in this YouTube video). In the meantime it works to regulate the moisture content of the soil and to keep weeds at bay.

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As I write this, I have packed about 65 bags and moved about two dozen horse buckets of mulch up to the back section. And I haven't finished.

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