The South Island Robin is one of my favourite birds. You don't see it very often in Lyttelton, because there are too many predators (cats, dogs, rats and stoats) and not enough bush to hide in. I have seen them quite often when out tramping in native forest, but it was a delight to encounter one at my friend’s place on the West Coast.
When the weather gets colder, I will be buying seedy fat balls from the Lyttelton farmers market to hang out on the bird table I made. I also put out seeds, grains and water. But in the meantime I am happy to let the birds fatten up on the sunflower seeds from the heads I saved. I think next year I will grow a lot more sunflowers as I love the look of them and I love watching the birds.
Growing figs, feijoas and olives in New ZealandRead More
It is cooling off now in Lyttelton, New Zealand and that means NO MORE CABBAGE WHITE BUTTERFLIES! Hooray!
And a gardening program I watch (Gardening Australia) suggested using vegemite in snail traps. Apparently it is the yeasty smell they are attacted to in beer traps. I hate using good beer in traps, so I’m trying a sugary yeast solution. We’ll see if it works.
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.
I’m hoping the purple-sprouting broccoli I also planted does as well as it did last year.
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.
I then put the roasted tomato mixture in sterilised jars. I'll be testing some of it tonight with pasta.
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.
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.