Posts Tagged ‘how to


October Planting – What you can plant right now and when you can eat it

Wayback when I created a handy little chart of growing times for common food plants which proved quite popular. So let’s put it in immediate terms- What can you plant this Labour weekend and when will you be able to eat it?

~~A reminder that this is for a guide for temperate New Zealand.~~

Plant now for December harvest

Leaf lettuce, Mustard greens, Radish, Rocket, Coriander, Parsley

Plant now for January harvest

Beans, Beetroot, Bok Choy, Broccoli*, Cabbage*, Capsicum, Chillies, Cucumber, NZ spinach, Swiss chard, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Basil, Dill, Sunflowers

Plant now for February harvest

Aubergine, Carrot, Corn, Leeks, Zucchinis, Pumpkin

Plant now for March harvest

Celery, Parsnips, Potatoes, Yams/Oca


* Yes, you can grow these now but I don’t advise it because of whitefly.

Buy seeds online

You can buy quality vegetable and herb seeds online right now at Trade Me and I’ll make darn sure they get to you ready to sow next weekend.


Friday Seeds of Delight: 21 May (on a Saturday)

Well, this may be a bit late, but hey, it’s pretty! The weather on Friday was so gray, drizzly and miserable… thus the need for the beautiful autumnal colours above. Of course, this is a very rare sight in New Zealand as we don’t have a lot of deciduous trees. We do a lot of green in this country, red is reserved for Christmas. (Image link via Studio G)

Designer Natasha Vermeulen has graciously gifted this gorgeous graphic for you to print/share/post online in support of the New Zealand anti-mining protests. (More info on that here). Thanks to Endemic World for bringing the love to town. Make sure you go and buy something pretty from them.

I’m in awe… Upside down trees… I want some. This is a stunning idea, accidentally discovered by an Alaskan landscape designer. Studio G pointed this one out, they’re one of my favouritist blogs right now because Rochelle posts the most wonderful things. Go peek at her inspiration boards.

I don’t know about you, but attractive is not one of the words springing to mind when slime mold is mentioned. But, it should. Professor John Bonner certainly thought they were interesting, studying them for 70 years and noting their primitive intelligence and ability for self-sacrifice. They can even waltz.

Because it is YouTube’s fifth birthday, we might as well celebrate with another video link. A nicely-done piece of animation that the kids will probably love but might freak out a few parents. The plants have eyes! Will you ever look at your garden the same way again? And another pretty piece by the same people.

A simple yet genius solution to one of the world’s biggest problems: sanitation. Peepoo bags are hygienic, biodegradable, single-use bags that don’t require water. They are lined with urea to fast and safe degradation, can be easily distributed, collected and used as fertiliser for growing food.

And a cute little project for those colder evenings – how about building a terrarium? You can create your own little garden in in a glass jar, or maybe a bottle or even a light bulb. May be best attempted by those with a little more patience than I have.


Gardening for community – weekly garden sessions in Kapiti

Kapiti’s Food Forest campaigners have been getting their hands dirty with weekly working bees in Waikanae. We’ve secured the use of a greenhouse to do some nursery work. This is a great opportunity to start growing on plants that we can use when we have secured a site for the community food forest.

These weekly community gardening sessions are a great opportunity to get involved, meet some people, maybe even learn a thing or two. It will be a pretty informal affair – turn up and lend a hand and have a chat over a cup of tea.

There’s plenty to keep us busy – weeding, digging, making seed-raising mix, making compost heaps, planting seeds, propagating, transplanting etc. If you want to learn any of these skills, hands-on is a great way to do it!

If you want to come along – gmail me at loveplantlife, or leave a comment.


The 30% rule: How much should I plant?

Borlotti bean seedlingsRachel asked me how I knew how much of anything to plant. We were talking about how all the published advice we had both seen on the topic was, work out what you eat each week and start from there ie 2 lettuce per week, plant 2 every week.

But neither of us plan our meals with that much detail. I plan mine around what I have available or how I feel at a particular time. I’m a big foodie, I love food and working around these things is just the way I like to do it. Can’t think of anything worse than coming up with weekly meal plans. Screw it, I’m just not that organised, nor want to be.

My rule of thumb for planting amounts was taught to me by my parents and applies to any farming – plan for 30% stock loss.

30% has served me well. Punnet of 6 seedlings, I’m likely to lose a plant or two and/or have them some under-perform – be it by pestilence, disease, weather or forgetting about them (yeah, it does happen). If I plant just one bean seedling, chances are I won’t see anything off it. So, I plant 3 instead.

For seed sowing I add another 30%. I plant 30% more seed then I expect to grow. Some won’t germinate, some will be pricked out and some I will lose by natural attrition.

This isn’t a scientific formula but it has done me well over the years. How do you plan how much to grow in your garden? Do you plan everything in detail? Do you do complex maths equations based on dietary requirements? Let us know in the comments.


Permaculture worm tower

I love simple, cheap and appropriate ideas that make gardening easier and fun. At the first Seedy Sunday we showed three videos with this philosophy in mind.

My two previous attempts at worm farming had ended badly with the bins being overrun with nasties that killed off the worms. But I so love the simplicity and ease of this idea I’m going to give it another shot. This is a great way to get nutrients straight into your garden.


Cherry Tomatoes

Homegrown organic cherry tomato yumminessI think that’s the last of my cherry tomatoes. Just as well really, I was getting totally sick of them. We had sooooo many. It was a bad year for tomatoes in the Wellington region and nearly all mine ended up being cherry-sized.

I even had to buy a couple of kilos to produce the year’s supply of tomato chutney. Neither us nor our friends, can live without the all-time famed Anna & Richard’s Tomato Chutney. (Recipe not forth-coming – you can have anything else, just not my tomato chutney recipe. It’s the sauce of my popularity. I shall not share!)

We’ve made a gallant effort with our bite-sized crop but I’m fed up with the rest and I’ve been jarring them. Here’s how. Bottled cherry tomato recipe after the jump…

Continue reading ‘Cherry Tomatoes’


Willow water helps cuttings to root

Willow branches I’ve just found a great article from an old Soil and Health magazine about willow water, and thought I just had to share. I don’t take a lot of cuttings from plants because quite frankly they’re tricky and they just haven’t worked well for me in the past. I might just have to give this one a try though – especially as it won’t cost me a thing.

Willow water promotes rooting better then than any known substance. This probably comes as little surprise to anyone who has dealt with the invasive roots of a willow before. It also may explain why it’s effective putting an aspirin (originally from the bark of willow) into the water for cut flowers to keep them fresh.

Instructions on how to make your own rooting compound for free with willow, how to use it and some useful links after the jump.
Continue reading ‘Willow water helps cuttings to root’


St John’s Wort

St John's WortIt’s a beautiful sunny, summer day and my garden is rocking right now. I’ve been in a fairly lazy mood pottering around, taking some photos, pulling some weeds. It’s been a great day. My St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) is looking fantastic . The bright yellow flowers are looking resplendent. Today I’m going to bottle some of that golden goodness and make a tincture.

St John’s wort has been used centuries as a healing and magical herb. It’s been talked about a lot over the last decade due to it’s use as a treatment for depression. St John’s wort is also incredibly effective as an antibiotic and to heal neuralgic headaches and external injuries, burns and bruises. And that’s what I’ll be using my tincture for.

More on St John’s wort, how to grow, harvest, infuse and use it with lots of pretty pictures after the jump….

Continue reading ‘St John’s Wort’

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August 2020

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