Posts Tagged ‘chickweed


Hard Labour Weekend Approaches

Prepare yourselves people! Hard Labour weekend is here. So named because traditionally it’s the time to work your butt off in the garden getting those vegetable beds full of deliciousness so you can kick back and relax with fresh homegrown produce this summer.

This year’s attempts at horticultural excellence at LPL homebase may be stiffled by the sniffles of the two adult household members. Babybel is so far immune. (Yes, I think referring to my child after a block of cheese is appropriate-she’s delicious, round and can be quite smelly.) So this is our to do list. What do you have planned?

Chickweed – It’s been keeping a nice groundcover between the veges, but it’s starting to get a bit tall and potentially trap water around vulnerable stems causing rot. It’s going to have to go. Likely to end up as pesto.

Tomatoes – The traditional time to get your tomatoes in. There is a huge range of tomatoes now available in NZ. Make the most of them. But due to the horrible effects of the psyllids due try to plant some phacelia to attract predatory insects.

Seeds – I’ll be making seed-raising mix and sowing capsicum, chillis, beans, beetroot, corn, amaranth, marigolds, zinnias, sunflowers, basil, parsley, more lettuce, and tending my yams.

Digging over the bed the corn will go into – I like to plant seeds at the same time I prepare the beds. Double digging and adding compost now means the gardens will be in prime condition-the compost spread through and not creating hotspots, the worms having a party-in time for my seedlings to go in in 4-6 weeks. Corn does best direct sown but I’m a bit late in prepping that bed.

Feeding – The strawberries are looking bountiful and just about to set fruit so now is a good time to give them a bit of a feed. And I’ll be using seaweed throughout the garden.

Comfrey – Time to make another batch of comfrey tea and dig up and distribute some of the roots. I’d like to put some more around our fruit trees.

Flax – I’ll be pulling out the flax stalks and turning them into something useful… You’ll have to check back next week to see just what.

General tidying up and preparing for a fantastic summer.

And of course the all important…

Even I will punctuate the weekend and lift the Rugby Exclusion Zone in my house to watch Sunday night’s All Blacks vs France. My snubbing of the Rugby World Cup thus far has little to do with the sport and more a reflection on the socio-economic consequences of the alcohol-fuelled, machissimic, and overly expensive requirements of throwing a ‘bash’ for the totalitarian IRB.  But I’m down with popular culture and feel that I should watch, helped greatly that we have some damned fine looking All Blacks. Something to do on a Sunday night anyway.

Enjoy your weekend everybody.


Garden Diary: Winter Warmth

Sunlight on a weekend? Yayyyyy! And about bloody time. Didn’t think it would happen after the atrocious weather on Friday in Wellington, but Kapiti really has shone this weekend in it’s white and crisp winter sunlight.

I’m thrilled to report that my garden, despite excessive moisture and neglect is doing really well. Daily, we’re pulling out a wide variety of greens – collard leaves, kale, parsley, spinach, chard, herbs, celery, rocket, beetroot leaves, lettuce, mustard – for fresh and delicious meals. I’m supplementing with the odd head of broccoli, fresh fruit, organic potatoes and carrots from the supermarket. We’re still working our way through stored Jerusalem artichokes, shallots, onions and pumpkins. Quinoa, preserves and bottled cherry tomatoes are going strong.

Romanesco wonders

Last year saw some great broccoli precoce romanesco success but this year we’ve got stunners. Big solid heads with tightly formed fractal patterns that just look beautiful.


So given the gift of sunshine, I’ve weeded the vege beds around the house, which didn’t take long at all. The chickweed may be abundant but it’s easy to get out. Some of it goes into salads. It does cause issues if there’s too much growing around the veges and getting too wet – it holds the moisture and causes rot. But it does provide a nice mulch for bare soil and I felt a little guilty after pulling it all out.

To absolve myself, I invested in some peastraw pellets (pricey at $20) to put around my garlic on the north facing wall. I choose this over any other mulch because as they expand they mat together and don’t blow around. With careful placement, they aren’t in risk of rubbing up against and damaging my precious heirloom garlics.

In the last year I’ve tried to cut down on mulch use – I’m a bit iffy about it. It’s killed far more plants than it’s saved by rubbing against stems, causing rot and harbouring pests and disease. I can see how mulch works really well in tropical climates where it breaks down more readily but I’m cautious about it’s use on NZ gardens. I realise this is going against the zeitgeist, but hey, sometimes I’m a rebel.  I prefer to plant things closer together. Overplanting doesn’t work with garlic so I’m making an exception for my 3 special heirloom varieties.

I’ve got strawberries in winter!

Painting the house a much darker shade has done wonders for the side gardens. It’s trapping so much heat that’s being radiated back into the gardens. How can I tell? I have strawberries in July! Admittedly, not many but they are red, zangy and yum. They’re tiny but that’s because they’re wild strawberry plants – never big but full of flavour.

Flowering now

Borage, pineapple sage, helleborus, feverfew, calendula, marigolds, alyssum, violets, heartsease, penstemons and one single nasturtium.


It’s three days before full moon – perfect for seed-sowing. But I’m taking a break this month – instead I’m looking through my collections, checking seed catalogues and planning for sowing next month.

Planting out

More leeks and cavolo nero.

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