The Fig Tree and Beyond……

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An email popped into my inbox yesterday announcing that I have to renew my Fig Tree website contract. “That was a quick year I thought.” My next thought was “But I have two blogs now….can I do both?” Writing a blog is a funny thing. I’m sure many people approach it with a much more objective, scientific, ordered train of thought. My approach is more sporadic. I write when I feel inspired and, more recently, when I have the time. Ultimately I began The Fig Tree to connect to my friends and family back in the UK but also as a creative outlet and as a record of how we’re shaping and developing our land. I said in my last post that I love re-reading posts about projects that we’ve achieved and dreams of what else we’d like to do. And, ultimately I’d still like to record all of this. So, the day to day life as I know it will still be recorded here and the new fledgling flower business will be recorded on myflowercart. If you want to know how to become a flower farmer or indeed, how to take chrysanthemum cuttings or be successful at successional sowing then you know where to go!

So, going forward……what on earth is happening in my veggie garden this Spring 2015?! I showed you the little changes I’d made to the vege garden last time. Since then I’ve planted up a load of veg. In New Zealand it’s a time honoured tradition to wait until Labour Weekend to plant your tomatoes (and other tender veg). I was a bit naughty this year and planted them a week before (I know….its the English in me!)

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My toms are looking pretty strong and healthy. They’re also looking very pretty with a stunning backdrop of sweet peas. I’m growing lots of baby toms because I know I have a good chance of eating them as they ripen so quickly! They’re also brilliant in a lunchbox. I’m also growing the larger toms too….because I’m an optimist….but a lot less than usual.

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The cucumbers are nestled securely around an old willow tee pee. I like to grow my cucumbers vertically….because it takes up less space and they don’t drag about in the mud.

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The beans are just beginning to take off as they start their twisty-turny journey up the metal supports. We’ve had an odd Spring. It’s been it’s usual windy self but the temperatures have been crazy. One minute mid 20s the next down to 9c. I don’t like fluctuating temps and nor do plants. I think this is always a frustrating time of year. I always feel that I’m so near yet so far away! I haven’t taken a picture of the peas but they have their first purple flowers. I’m growing Cobra Climbing because they are the most generous bean I know!

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I have a real mixture of courgettes and pumpkins. I am so excited about growing Turks Turban pumpkins and Patty Pan squash I’m almost beside myself! It’s pretty simple this year but I’m growing things that we actually eat. No flowers as yet but they can’t be far away…..

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Herbs like this parsley that I sowed in the winter are doing really well.

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These chives come back every year which I love. Seeing them again is like welcoming back an old friend. I’m still sowing more herb seeds now though to keep it going through the summer. You might be wondering where the lettuce and spinach are? Well, ask the chickens. You’d think I’d have learnt by now to net the veggie garden but I’ve been battling the pukekoes who have been determined to destroy all of the cut flower seedlings! Anyway, lettuce/spinach batch number two on it’s way and will be well netted.

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The cheerful Johnny Jump ups never fail to make me smile. They appear randomly in the strangest of places. The clary sage is one of my all time favourite cut herbs for a vase. It’s so unusual and makes a real statement.

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The plums are starting to grow and it looks like we’re going to get hundreds. I might try thinning them this year so increase the size.

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Tiny baby quinces in all their knobbly glory! I’ll be using these in christmas decorations again this year. They looked wonderful on the wreath I made last year . By December they’ll be coated in a downy, hairy skin.

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Had to include these little chaps. as far as I know they don’t wreak havoc in the cut flower garden so they’re very welcome! They are (I think) quail. They hang out in pairs and they have the funniest call. The photo isn’t great because I had to take it really far away….they are very shy. Love watching them pootling about together. So there you have my Spring garden update. Still lots to do and I have to mention that the single most effective and time saving thing that we’ve done to the garden this year has been the mushroom compost! A few trailer loads (and the rest) has saved us hours (read days) of time weeding. If you only do one thing in your garden this Spring let it be mulching! You won’t regret it 🙂