Ewen's garden

A collection of columns, paintings and photographs about gardening on an offshore island in New Zealand.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Seeds of a new year

Well the Christmas tree is dead, the hang-over is gone and the Christmas lilies, Lilium longiflorum and L. regale have finished flowering. These lilies I will leave for the seed pods to ripen so I can save the seeds to give away to others. Last year I did this, but even so, some of the seeds still managed to escape and germinate themselves in the cracks in the deck. All this goes to show is they are easy to propagate.
Other seeds I saved were bean seeds, the fruits of which are now being enjoyed at our table! The runner beans I left from last season have sprung back into life and are producing a fine crop. We are also getting a few tomatoes now as well. All this and not one drop of water has been poured onto the garden. The pea straw I put around the vegetables as mulch seems to have paid off, although the weather probably has a good deal to do with this! Still the soil appears to be much more moist and not as hot as it would be without the mulch. The only problem I can see, and one I didn’t expect, was with the strawberries. They have been woeful in their crop. All leaves and little fruit, I suspect the nitrogen content of the pea straw is to blame. The nitrogen rich mulch has encouraged the plants to produce masses of lush healthy green leaves and not so much the sweet wee berries cherished for the weekend pancakes! The answer is to provide a bit of pot ash, this will encourage the plants to flower. I have some ashes from the old fire should do the trick. It is still not too late to achieve a late summer crop of strawberries, mmmmmm! Other crops coming on include corn, I imagine a couple more weeks yet for them. Also, a bit behind schedule, are the capsicum, but he sugarsnap peas have been great.
I hope everyone has had a great holiday and looking forward to a healthy and prosperous New Year!


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