Sunday, 17 May 2015

In my Poppy Bed

I am laid up. Thankfully, I have many back issues of NZ Gardener to fall back on. I hunt out the May and June issues. It seems nows the time to plant garlic...but where? I'm thinking maybe my front corner bed that has a lot of soil in it, I would need to fertilise it a bit more though.

My choice in fertiliser would be aloe vera liquid, but I hear sheep pellets are really good. Since we have so much sheep in our country. Composted chicken manure, also, and I have good quantities of that, for free. The comfrey plants are also sending out shoots, which can be made into tea for fertiliser. And then there is vermicast, which comes in yellow bags and is a crumbly texture. Vermicast is the high class garden term for worm droppings.

Traditionally, garlic bulbs are planted on the shortest day, June 21st so, and are ready by the longest.  I have plenty of time. Before August at any rate.

Garlic is an absolute staple for Chinese Cuisine, along with ginger and spring onion. My spring onions are coming up with my carrots but I will have to thin them as planted them with green manure crop. The green manure crop is keeping any bugs away though. Other chinese herbs and vegetables to plant are - coriander, chinese radish, chinese cabbage, garlic chives, and bok choy.

No..I am not planting a rice paddy. But...has anyone ever tried in NZ? In Wellington right now with all the flooding, they could make a fortune. I often wondered how rice in Australia was grown. Isn't Australia meant to be a desert? I am reminded that, in Hamilton, they now have chinese tea plantations thanks to some enterprising fellow who found that camellia sinesis, or the tea tree, grows really well in Waikato soils. Hamilton, King Country and surrounds are highly fertile and excellent for growing roses. The Hamilton Gardens are simply amazing.
Auckland only has volcanic soil that has lots of rocks..or it has clay. Only places like Pukekohe have excellent soil that you can just grow anything. You drive past acres and acres of productive market gardens. Out west, the vineyards have moved up to Kumeu and beyond. They like stony soil, poor soil, and warmth. I miss the days when Henderson was known for its vineyards and orchards.

Now it just seems like shops, shops and more shops. Not the destination kind, more like $2 and big box warehouses. However, our green legacy lives on with parks and reserves. There are streams with wildlife and community gardens dotted in every neighbourhood. And the people are still friendly, down to earth, and a great majority still live on full size sections. We even plant trees for babies.

I think I'd like to get into some guerilla gardening. One of the streets nearest me, Universal Drive, has a big centre island section planted with trees. I am so used to these trees but I think they can be livened up a bit by planting spring bulbs underneath. They would be easy care and you could leave the alone and still mow the lawn. I saw in some places in America, like Portland Oregon, neighbourhoods band together to plant the best verges outside their homes. The result, an abundance of plants and wildlife, attracting bees, birds and butterflies where once was barren and bare lawn.