February 2015 – Summer

We’re already three weeks into autumn, so this update is a bit late, much like all of my gardening plans were this summer. The birth of The Daughter in mid-December rather threw my good intentions into disarray. I knew she would keep us busy, but was entirely unprepared for just how busy! So, unfortunately all my gardening goals for the moment have fallen to the bottom of the to-do list.

Ignoring the veggie garden for four weeks killed most things, but thanks to some heavy rain falls, I was amazed to find that our almost continuously fruiting zucchini plant has managed to continue its magic. I went out expecting to see some unhealthy shrivelled zucchinis, but instead found that the fruit had continued to grow to near supernatural sizes. There were four zucchinis evenly spaced around the central stem, and measuring up to 48cm in length (only 3cm less than The Daughter). I picked two and left the other two to see if they would grow into full sized dirigibles (which sadly they didn’t).

A huge zucchini.

Somewhat too big to be useful.

A huge zucchini.

I probably should have picked this zucchini earlier.

Also doing well (as expected) was the pumpkin vine. In my four week absence it had managed to spread out into another two of our veggie beds. I removed it from one and also from where it was heading across the lawn (presumably with a view to making it down the road to the pub), but left it in its original bed, plus in one of the ones it had invaded. The pathways around the beds have made a great location for the pumpkin fruits to develop without rotting in the dirt. So far, many of the fruits haven’t grown beyond tennis ball size, but we’ve had two near perfect pumpkins and another three are looking like they will ripen soon.

The other success in the veggie garden has been the two eggplant plants. The pumpkin vine had done its best to strangle them and I didn’t think we’d get anything from them, but they managed to produce several very tasty, although small, eggplant fruits between them.

Due to our absence, most of our fruit trees managed to lose their fruit to the birds. There are a couple of apples still hidden under some leaves and the fig tree has brought forth a second very plentiful crop (which I intend to find a way to net or otherwise protect before they ripen). My efforts with wood ash have stopped the pear/cherry slugs from totally destroying the leaves on their namesake trees, but they have still done a pretty good job of vandalising them. I had hoped that only a few applications of the ash would be necessary, but it seems I will need to dust them with ash every couple of weeks next year.

Our Dahlias have flowered beautifully throughout January and February.

A Red Dahlia.

A beautiful red Dahlia.

Purple Dahlias.

More beautiful Dahlias.

Kikuyu grass and other weeds have managed to totally invade my mound of native plants, ploughing straight over the newspaper and mulch I laid to stop them. The paper seemed to do a good job for almost a year, but the Kikuyu grows over the top of it, and the other weeds have now managed to break through. When I get some time (when the baby allows me some time … in 18 years maybe?) I intend to have another go with some proper weed matting and mulch.

A baby frog sitting on our toilet rim.

I went for a pee the other morning and lifted the lid to find that the toilet was already occupied.

I had intended to replace some more of our grottier lawn sections with new soil and seed this autumn, but it now looks like that is going to have to wait until spring. Then there’s the chook house that is still unbuilt (two years after I first started digging the foundations). Oh well, I guess it can all wait a little longer, while I take the time to spend with our beautiful baby daughter.

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