It was a beautiful day on Easter Saturday when we held our Autumn Market Day and thanks to all who came along to Strickland St to have a look around or to buy. Thanks also to the volunteers whose efforts make it happen.
It has been a bountiful season for pickles, so we will be busy making more and plan to hold a “mini market day” on the 14th April to offer these delicious treats for sale.
It has been a very mild Autumn ; according to the met service the warmest start to a year since records began. Consequently aphids and white fly are still a problem, so much so that Christine will be making up another batch of our organic spray and blasting the critters. She will also be running a demonstration on how to make it during the mini market day on the 14th at around 11am. If the weather stays mild we can also expect a lot of diseases such as powdery mildew in the spring. On the plus side, we will take advantage of the mild weather to plant our spinach, silver beet and other leafy greens. It also makes mulching easier so we will be doing lots of this to keep the weeds down and hopefully keep the soil temperature just a little raised.
Some of our beds will be planted with a green manure crop this month. We will use a mixture of French Marigold (Tagetes) and mustard which will then be dug in before planting broad beans. We have also used barley, and for Nitrogen fixing, blue lupin.
We are still harvesting crab apples and quinces, so jellies made from these are still emerging from the kitchen. The Feijoa tree also has some nice big fruit left.
Christchurch South Community Gardens
2018 Autumn Market Day
Saturday March 31st ( Easter Saturday)
10-1pm ~~ 188 Strickland St, Sydenham
PLANTS – PRODUCE – PRESERVES – BAKING – HOT SOUP – BOOKS – POSTERS
LEARN ABOUT WHAT WE DO & WHY COMMUNITY GARDENS ARE IMPORTANT
SIGN UP AS A VOLUNTEER ~ WIN A BASKET OF PICKLES
– CONTRIBUTE TO NEIGHBOURHOOD SUSTAINABILITY
This month is mostly about Picking, Preserving and Pickling. especially our crops of tomatoes and zucchinis.The tomatoes will go straight into the freezer to be used later for soups. Any green ones will be the basis of our delicious green tomato and pineapple relish. Zucchinis don’t freeze well so they are bound for the pickling pot. All the tomato plants will then be removed in order to prepare the beds for planting broad beans. We usually leave the ground fallow for a while but sometimes plant a crop of a light leafy green feeder such as lettuce or spinach. It’s probably too late for any new planting of carrots, but the ones we put in earlier are doing well
We have harvested a large quantity of apples and these will be stewed and then bottled or frozen. Some will be made into apple and mint chutney. Despite the trees looking very healthy, it has not been a good stone fruit season for us this year, especially the plums. We possibly pruned a little too hard last year. Our Grapes, however, have produced a bumper crop, as have the quince trees. Slow roasted with honey is a great way to use these as well as the traditional jams and jellies.
The NZ cranberry bushes (not a native despite its name) are ready to be picked and we are thinking up ways to use the berries. They taste a little like (their relative ) guavas but with a hint of strawberry.
We have discovered rust on our peach seedlings and trees so they will all be sprayed with lime sulphur. We have researched this chemical and are satisfied that it fulfills the requirements of organic gardening. Apricots do not like it however.
March is a good month for planting silver beet and also the last of the winter brassicas will be put in after the ground has had blood and bone and sheep manure applied.
Our Summer Market Day is being held on Saturday 9th December from 10am until 2pm. All the usual good stuff will be on offer: plants, produce, baking, preserves etc. In addition, local resident Neil will be bringing along his collection of renovated bicycles . A good range of bikes will be for sale; children’s and adult sizes.
Our Pea crop has finished but the second crop of Broad Beans is ready for harvesting. We are using Crimson Hughey which is a new variety with beautiful maroon flowers. It is cropping well so we will probably use it again.
It’s the time of year when watering is crucial and we need volunteers to help with our watering roster over the next month or two. If you would like to help come along to the market day and sign up to the roster. Sprinkler theft makes setting up the roster a little more difficult. Each year we lose two or three sprinklers, with an occasional hose going too. Given the hot weather we’ve been experiencing early in the summer the possibility of water restrictions is looming. At the gardens we have 3 big plastic barrels which are kept full of water. If restrictions are applied we can then use their contents with a watering can. If you do the same at home, make sure your barrel has a secure top to keep out mozzies and stop infants falling in.
Tomato training is in progress. Some of our volunteers are not at all certain about how to go about this so Christine will probably run a workshop in January. If you’d like to join in call in and talk to her.
Light summer pruning of our grapevine will be done this month. If you have a vine at home we suggest you prune to the last two or three leaves beyond the last developing bunch. This will give a much improved crop.
Have a great Christmas.