December 8th is the day of our Summer Market Day at Strickland St. This year we will be trialing a new product : Vegetarian Sushi. We will also have gallons of delicious elder flower cordial as well as Blackcurrant cordial (thanks to volunteer Dave for the blackcurrants) and Rhubarb and Strawberry cordial. It will be a Christmas theme, with some good ideas for presents (eg a punnet of mini bell tomato plants would be a great gift for any gardener) as well as all our usual produce and plants. Come along between 10am and 2.00pm and have a look around.
As in November, keeping on top of the weeds is the biggest job this month. The recent wet, warm weather has meant a lot of growth, and whilst this is good for some crops, weeds love it. There has not been a consistent rise in soil temperature but despite this we have had a good strike of zucchinis and carrots, our tomatoes are doing well and the broad beans have been magnificent. The glasshouse, by contrast, has been challenging to manage because of fluctuating temperatures, and leafy crops such as Pak Choy, silver beet and spinach are showing a tendency to bolt while still in their punnets.
Some jobs penciled in for this month include lifting and separating our bulbs before Christmas and spraying the fruit trees with our organic fungicide. It’s ideal weather for fungal spores to get a foothold.
Compost production is now in top gear and local gardeners seem to love it, so much so that we may have to limit sales in order to ensure we have enough for our own needs. We have also planted two grapevines (variety unknown) behind the front fence by the footpath so that passersby can eventually help themselves to a grape or two as they stroll past.
Finally, a pleasant surprise has been the emergence of several olive tree seedlings. These have grown from a sack of olive pits that was given to the Gardens about four years ago. The stones were planted in compost and after all this time they have finally appeared. They will be potted up this month.
Happy gardening and a Merry Christmas from the staff and volunteers at Christchurch South Community Gardens.