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Looking forward to eating better….

I thought I might share with you my new garden:My pot garden (o;

Now, let’s get one thing straight: I am not a gardener.

However, about this time of year (summer is coming on here in NZ), I do seem to get itchy green fingers. Don’t know why. I guess maybe it’s because I’m only a generation removed from regular gardeners. Perhaps it’s still in there, somewhere.

Actually, in the past, I have had quite an interest in growing Bonsai. I guess it’s my love of nature combined with my transient lifestyle as a university student. And, even now, I don’t feel a sense of permanence here. We bought this house as a do-up-and-move-on… some 10 years ago… maybe only 9, but it feels like so much longer.

Anyway, the point I wanted to touch on was that I’m sick of paying supermarket prices for lettuce, and I’m also sick of the rather tasteless “fresh” foods we have available now. I remember much yummier veges when I was younger — and I still had to be coerced into eating them. No wonder my son isn’t interested. So, I figured it was about time we started growing our own. It’s going to be a bit-by-bit process.

In April this year, we discovered a wild-sewn strawberry plant growing in our concrete steps out back… I think it may have had something to do with me getting rid of a couple of shop bought ones that had got a bit soft over last summer, and tossing them to the birds, who must have appreciated them. That’s them now flourishing behind the glass in the photo. I’ve kept them inside from the winter chills and the birds. Our first strawberry is turning red now.

A few weeks ago, we decided to start tidying up our front “garden”. Mostly, it’s well-established Rododenrons and Azaleas that have been here much longer than us, and a huge, sprawling area of long, weedy grass… Not so nice for our neighbours to look upon. So, yay us, we got onto sorting it, finally. But only a bit. We can’t afford to do the whole lot at once, so we got some weed mat and some compost and a few plants, and reclaimed a 2m-sq area… A new azalea (since they obviously grow in our garden) and a few ground-cover plants.

My strawberries keep throwing out runners, and my pots can’t keep up with them, so they’re being turned to “ground cover” out the front, too… My husband said “But the neighbours will eat them”, to which I said “Not before the birds…” We’ve got our share nice and safe inside, anyway. If we get some extras out front, then yay us (o: Otherwise, the flowers will make the bees happy and the leaves will help keep the weeds at bay. I’m happy.

In the pots at our (north-facing… this is the southern hemisphere) back window, I have lettuce, capsicum and parsley grown as of yesterday, thanks to Yates and Ploughman’s BakeryGrow Your Own Sandwich” promo. More seeds will be coming for cherry tomatoes, more lettuce, etc.

I plan to get more adventurous, depending on how successful I am.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to keep you up to date with progress photos as things grow… I can’t wait to see the first shoots of green…

In the meantime… my other projects:

This year, I also purchased a mandarin plant (quite on a whim), and an extra Azalea just because I was struck by its awesome shape (so, it’s going into the Bonzai project…):

Mandarin tree and Azalea bush in pots
Growing for fruit and flowers

I pushed myself to pull off the four tiny green mandarins that were on my mandarin tree (left), as apparently you are supposed to in their first year or two so that tree can establish itself… We will just have to wait another year or two for the fruit… it’s a long term commitment, this gardening stuff!

Lemon tree
She wore lemon!

We get frost here in Dunedin, so I’m going to be fighting to keep my citrus trees alive (this time… yes, I have tried before, but I wasn’t living here). Still, I’m willing…

This tree came with four ready-to-eat lemons on it, so it wasn’t hard making the decision to pull them off and let the tree establish (o;

Well… I’ll try to keep you up-to-date. If I go quiet on the gardening front, it probably means I failed…

Other things I’d like to try:

peanuts

mushrooms

onions

garlic

hazelnut

almond

… no doubt much more. But, one step and a time, eh?

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