What’s happening in February 2018?

The summer harvest has begun! Zucchinis, tomatoes. french and dwarf climbing beans are all flourishing, so much so that Blue has been demonstrating his cherished “bean machine” which slices up the beans ready for cooking or freezing. The summer bounty also means that room has to be made in the freezers, so plum sauce production is under way using the plums which were frozen last year. The hot weather makes this a job for the dedicated.

The plentiful crops also means that we are getting good donations as local people take advantage of the fresh organic produce. This helps enormously with our running costs throughout the rest of the year.

The hot weather combined with a bit of rain has accelerated weed growth. We are putting convulvulus, oxalis and twitch into the green bin, NOT our compost bin. The City Council processes the material collected in the green bins at a high temperature and this will kill these invasive weeds whereas a normal composting process seldom reaches sufficiently high temperatures to do so.

Planting for Autumn and Winter crops is already underway. Early broccoli has gone in and the last carrots will be planted soon. Parsnips germinate well in hot weather so we will try a bed of these also. Brassica, silver-beet and other winter crop seedlings are all being readied. Cabbage white butterfly is a problem but they can be controlled with a home made spray (see our recipe below) or a safe manufactured spray such as Nature’s Way Pyrethrum. If you are not sure what compounds can be used in organic growing check the BioGroNZ website.

Our glasshouse has been cleared and cleaned with a baking soda solution as a fungicide, followed by vinegar.

February is a good time to sort and dry flowering bulbs ready for planting out in March or April. We will have lots of a fragrant jonquil called “Earli Cheer” for sale in the Autumn, so make sure to come down to our market day if you’re interested in these.

Organic Spray Recipe

Use  leaves of any of the following plants

  • Wormwood
  • Rhubarb
  • Feverfew
  • Tansy
  • Garlic( include bulbs)
  • Shoofly ( Nicandra physaloides)
  • Costemary
  • Pyrethrum

Cram leaves into a large pan and fill with water – use this pan only for home made sprays.

Heat, bring to boil and simmer for 2 hrs on an outside cooking surface – e.g. BBQ

Do not do this inside – the fumes are toxic – keep children and pets away.

Cool and strain through a sieve then tea towel.

Concentrate the liquid again by boiling for a further 1 hr.

Cool, bottle and add I tspn of organic laundry liquid before capping.

The laundry liquid will help the spray stick to the plant more effectively.

Use 1 cup/5litre watering can of tepid – warm water