Sunday, September 12, 2010

Spring is Here

Second only to autumn, spring has always been a favourite season of mine. After a long, grey winter, there is nothing that makes me happier than seeing blossoms, daffodils, lambs, and extended hours of sunshine! I love how blossom trees look different almost every day, as they put out petals with an exponential enthusiasm, rapidly changing the landscape with their beautiful pink fingertips.

I am currently enjoying a beautiful display of spring blossoms from my cherry and peach trees, with the nectarine and apricot hopefully not too far behind!

As I mentioned previously, I am currently living in Dunedin for three months. I am lucky to live close enough to home to come back most weekends, and I feed very restful writing this post from my own familiar table. Paddy is taking very good care of the house, rabbit, and most importantly, my plants. I planted out several punnets of seedlings before I left, including the ever-important tomato seeds. I like to tell myself that by the time I am living back in Christchurch permanently, it will be about the perfect time to plant out all these babies into a pre-prepared garden.

Here are my wee seedlings growing happily, and with an alarming amount of vigor! They get bursts of time outside in the sun, and are tucked up warm and safe inside at night, protected from any remaining frosts that make strike.

Just before I left I dug in my green crops (broad beans and peas) to add extra nitrogen to the soil. This is a double-bonus, as it gave the more dank patches of my garden something to do over winter. These are breaking down nicely now, and I plan to add a dose of compost to these same areas soon. I don't use a lot of compost in my garden; once a year seems to be enough, and along with regular doses of worm tea and seaweed fertiliser, my soil and plants stay happy and healthy. I have also pulled out most of my leftover winter plants, and am starting regular sewings of root crops such as beetroot and carrots. I also threw in a new batch of chives (both garlic and normal).

The only problem I have with bugs in my garden is black aphids, which seem to love my alliums. I tried a homemade (and potently stinky) garlic and chilli spray last year, but this wasn't strong enough to get rid of the nasty creatures. I ended up pulling out my chives last year as they were unusable, absolutely coated in black. The onions survived, but required a lot of rinsing before they were de-bugged enough to eat. A green-fingered friend of mine told me that plants only attract bugs where they are stressed or unhealthy, so this year I think I may focus on the overall health of the plants and soil, which will hopefully drive away (or not attract in the first place) any nasty, unwelcome bugs.

Here are some spring moments, captured from my own garden this weekend; hopefully there will be many more to come!

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