If you are anything like us, you love to discuss your garden at any opportunity. The Kings Seeds folk have all come back from our various holidays to find our gardens in differing states of overgrowth and abundance, especially with the great weather we have been having. We have a new plastic bin in the staffroom where any excess produce from our gardens can be left for others to use and any left over at the end of the week goes to someone's lucky chickens. After lots of discussion, I have collated updates on everyone's gardens to share with you...........
GERARD & BARBARA's Garden
* Corn is well sheltered from the winds and is ripening well
* Watermelons are starting to run and set fruit
* Late cucumbers are starting to set fruit
* Lilies have been gorgeous and are now setting pods for seed collection
* Strawberries are finishing
* Sunflowers were a great display, but have been knocked by the winds last week
* Weeds galore to eradicate
* The potatoes were disappointing. Rua potatoes have psyllid, the bug which transmits the bacterial pathogen Liberibacter, causing zebra striping of the crop. (Nymphs and adults feed by sucking plant juices which is how they are thought to spread the disease. You know you have it by the stunting and yellowing of the growing tip and a pink blush on the edges of the curled leaves. Plants collapse prematurely and the potato is mushy and earthy tasting when boiled or shows as zebra stripes when fried.)
Jude actually managed to have a little holiday from her tunnel house and garden, where she spends a lot of her time when not here at work. She is:
* Picking lots of new potatoes, zucchinis, carrots and cabbage which she finds very satisfying.
* About to sample marrows which she has grown for the first time.
* Corn is just about ready even though a few blew over in the winds.
* Growing sweet peas for the first time - prolific and delicately scented black coloured varieties.
* Growing chillies and capsicums in the tunnel house and the colours are fantastic, plus she will be able to share because there will be a surplus.
Camilla has been busy spending time in her garden prior to the holidays, expanding it and experimenting. In her garden:
* She is really enjoying her Daisy Michaelmas which is flowering prettily.
* Her favourite herb, Dill, went to seed too quickly so she is going to put in a late planting.
* She has had heaps of Basil Sweet Genovese and made lots of yummy pesto over the holidays.
You may notice from previous blogs that Carolyn has created a permaculture garden and was super enthusiastic about the new heat pad she tried out in Spring, so due to the early start she is enjoying lots of produce.
* The tall corn blew over in the recent strong winds, but it has been propped back up - hopefully the plants will re-anchor themselves (see our previous blog about corn) and the fertilisation won't have suffered.
* There is a whole windowsill of ripening tomatoes - most are the early Sub Arctic Plenty tomatoes but some others are beginning to ripen now.
* It is the first year she has had flowers for cutting in the garden - the Moulin Rouge sunflowers are spectacular at the moment and the cosmos has been flowering beautifully for ages.
Deb has two gardens to look after so she is kept very busy.
* The garlic has been pulled.
* She has had lots of delicious strawberries.
* The Coriander and Rocket went to seed in the lovely heat we have had these holidays.
* She is picking Beetroot, Mesclun lettuce, Beans, Zucchinis and Tomatoes so enjoying the flavours and freshness of her garden.
Expansion was Jen's earlier focus so her bigger garden is providing plenty of bounty and she is grateful for the good regular rain.
* Eating beans every night.
* The tomatoes started ripening three weeks ago and there are plenty of them.
* The Strawberries and Raspberries were good but have been overtaken by the birds now.
* Enjoying Pea Fiji Feathers microgreens.
* Harvesting beetroot, zucchinis, cucumbers, carrots, radishes and lettuces.
* The nectarines have been great with very little disease and eating lots of red plums for the last 3 weeks.
Liz is always busy keeping up with the work in her garden. At the moment she is:
* Enjoying a wonderful showy display of Dwarf Asters and Dahlias.
* Harvesting heaps of Bean Neekar Runners and Zucchini Gold Rush.
* Seeing a green wall of Morning Glory climbing over to the neighbour's property.
* Her pot of Tweedia Heavenly Blue, which was stunning in flower, is now full of seed pods.
Last but not least is my own garden - I refer to it as small but nicely formed. I tried planting too much and had to pull the odd thing out to keep the rest of my plants healthy.
* A major session tying up tomatoes and beans was required after a few days away.
* Picking Neekar Gold and Nor'Easter beans galore, and the dogs love them too. They've taken to helping themselves to the lower ones.
* There's plenty of fruit on the tomatoes and I'm waiting impatiently for them to ripen.
* The Bergamot Bee Balm has just flowered and the bees are buzzing about happily.
* The Sugar snap peas need to be pulled out due to it being too hot (will plant some more in March), but have a tray of Pea Fiji Feathers microgreens to snip for salads.
* Like the others, my zucchinis and cucumbers are prolific, so frittata and courgette fritters are featuring regularly on the menu at my house.
* I did a late planting of herbs over the holidays, so there are little patches of coriander, basil, parsley and sage amongst all the other plants.
* The plum trees are groaning and I am about to haul out all the jam jars and big preserving pot.
We hope your gardens are doing well too and that you are enjoying the superior taste and variety of your fresh produce - due to all your hard work earlier in the season.
After a cool start to spring, the summer has been much better than last year so far and we are looking forward to good growing conditions for the next couple of months.
Maybe you could create a sharing box or bin at your work too, or get busy swapping with your neighbours. May your plants remain healthy and productive!