Just a wee update on my cherry tomato plants to let you all know how they fared as the season ended. (For those who missed the first half of the story - my original blog can be found here)
I began with three plants. They were very slow in getting to the fruiting stage due to erratic weather throughout our growing season. As the summer came to a close I started to see multitudes of small fruit forming which made me very happy! These lovely jewels of red and green were ripening slowly but surely, but unfortunately a wicked front came through, towards the end of April, blowing a gusting wind so strong it broke the main stems of the plants. With the main feeding stems damaged I had no choice but to harvest the fruit and set them to ripen on the kitchen window sill.
Only about a third of the fruit ripened to a point where I could use it, but as you can see from the slideshow above; I had enough to make a couple of bottles of spicy tomato sauce. Success at last! I do think that we may have had fruit still ripening on the plant if I had been able to have it remain in the garden undamaged. My lesson for next year is to have the plants better protected from the wind if I wish to see them reach their full potential. To have fresh, locally grown, outdoor tomatoes in Dunedin throughout June and July would be quite satisfying.
For those interested in a recipe for the sauce, I am not yet convinced I have it right but will add a page for recipes as I get them to a point where they are good enough for posting. In the meantime - I would love to hear your garden stories in the comments below!
Happy gardening and may you too, live your Goodlife!
We get some beautiful skies at this time of year. As the temperatures begin to drop the air gets crisp and clean and you can feel the earth begin to relax into it's sleepy winter state. But although the weather is cool and the plants are beginning to slow their growth, we still have much to do in the garden.
At this time of year I like to spend time taking stock of the garden and assessing my successes and failures of the season. It is an ideal time to remove any spent, and diseased plants from the garden, and to harvest the last of the fruit and vegetables as they finish their ripening process. This is when I shift plants to a better spot, and divide, and take cuttings from the healthiest plants so that we have new plants coming along for next season.
A general weeding and tidy up of the beds followed by a good mulching will save a lot of back breaking work later in the year, and also ensure that the soil enjoys some reviving and replenishing of nutrients and organic matter. As you remove unwanted plant material from the garden it is an ideal time to build a compost pile for next seasons mulching needs. I shall be posting a guide to composting later in the year for those of you that may be unsure of how to successfully work the composting system. It is a very worthwhile activity, and the difference between homemade compost and the lifeless bagged stuff you get from the garden stores is just incredible.
If you plan to plant any new trees or shrubs in your garden, this is a great time to do so as they will have plenty of time to develop a firm footing before the great rush of new growth appears in the spring. Just make sure you have prepared the soil well and if it is not a hardy species be careful to protect from frosts and the hard cold snaps we have coming.
A last mow of the lawn and a trim of the hedge can make all the difference to your winter outlook, and there are still some late flowering annuals and perennials to add colour and cheer to the winter garden.
Vege growers do not have to give up on fresh vegetables throughout winter as there are many ways we can extend the growing season. Some plants prefer cooler temperatures and taste better after a frost, so keep at it - by trial and error you will discover what works best in your area.
Happy gardening, and may you too live your Goodlife!
I'm Kimberley, and I live in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. I am very passionate about growing strong healthy plants that enrich us and our environment. Welcome to my place - feel free to look around!