I am quite sure we are getting more daylight. But why do I feel that I don’t have enough time to finish all the things that I have planned for? Maybe its the December 21, 2012 thing. Apparently people in Wellington started complaining about a hum which can’t be traced.

The tomatoes are ready to go in, but the broad beans have not even been harvested yet, its a bloody bottle neck in the garden. Coincidentally, I have planted the tomato seedlings into giant planter bags, they just have to chill out in the greenhouse for a longer period. Coincidentally, the birds destroyed 5 rows of peas last Autumn as well as subsequent attempts to resow them are hopelessly fruitless. Therefore, while waiting for the 5 rows of broad beans to be ready for harvest, I have 5 rows available to sow whatever I like. All I need to do is to reshuffle my planting plan. Confused? Try reading it from an Asian perspective, it might help. Heh~

Trying to beat the Labour Day, patience is my weakness, the only one I can think of. I sow the 2 Brothers yesterday, corns and climbing beans. Add the squash and they become 3 Sisters, but I am not a squash person. I deliberately sow 3 different varieties of corns side by side, there will be cross pollination, I will save the seeds, and next year I might end up with Early Platinum Rainbow Inca Gem Corn.

There’s also the Trinity Guild which I sow today, mesclun, dwarf beans, carrots, beetroot, salsify, and radish. Trinity, as in, leaf, root, and legume. Its one way to introduce diversity, and out of the blue style of growing plants. I am not a fan of plants lining up like identical clones of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. If they are to line up in perfectly un-God-ly straight line and equal spacing, they should at least look different, like The Three Stooges.

I also direct sow some tomatillos and place a plastic bottle cloche over them. More to come, seeds to sow every week. And hopefully I won’t come up with more brilliant idea to spend more money on Orchard Cottage. I always preach about financial planning, but now I am not practicing what I preach!

Did I mention the birds munted all the peas? I exaggerated. I still have a miserable few tucked away somewhere. I read somewhere that the flowers of pea self-pollinate even before it blooms!

I was inspired by the strawberry thing in River Cottage Summer. They grew strawberry everywhere! As if there is already a lot of strawberry plants at the Orchard Cottage, we can always have more. Most of them are day neutral varieties (Seascape, Temptation, Sunset, Baby Pink), and I wanted to try something different, go for size, taste, inherent health, and Camarosa is the ideal choice, short day type. If this has potential to be exported to Japan, it definitely earn its place in those upside down planters of mine.

Keri Premium Juice provides handsome looking plastic bottles. The labels are hard to get off, soak in hot water and peel off the waxy label, the sticky residue will be left behind, rub vegetable oil onto them, leave over night, and wash off in running water with more rubbing. A bit more TLC later, viola! I cut away the part where you screw the cap on, so that it will have a shorter neck, the plant will pop out from there. I used equal part organic potting mix, compost, and coir peat mix plus the usual goodies (EF Natures Garden, Wally’s Rok Solid, Wally’s Neem Tree Granules). In order to posh it up further, I sow Rhodocinton Purple Bells and Crimson Clovers at the top. The clovers will fix nitrogen, and have beautiful crimson red flowers. The other will trail down and camouflage the planter. I am very excited about the Rhodocinton Purple Bells, I tried to grow them last season but they didn’t even make it past germination. Better luck this time.

Lavender are such romantic flowering bush. I am intensely obsessively attracted to them. If my bank account is a bottomless pit, I would clean out all nurseries in NZ of their lavender. However, that’s not the case, so I have to try something else. Trying to root cuttings are one way, but I will take so many cuttings to root that the parent plant would go bald. Why not sow seeds? They are known to have very poor germination rate. I tried growing from seeds a couple of times last season, futile attempts. However, with the discovery of vermiculite this season, latest attempt proved to me fruitful. I sow Kings Seeds Lavender Dwarf Munstead and Egmont Seeds Lavender Hidcote. Both dwarf varieties, I seem to have a much better strike rate with Dwarf Munstead. The whole shebang, heated self-watering tray to ensure no drying out with adequate warmth, deep seed tray to ensure stable growing medium, lightly cover with vermiculite to provide moisture protection for the surface sown seeds.

Caesar has been misbehaving consistently this week. So I am ending this post with a very hardworking bee.