sarah's own natural garden

updates from our lifestyle block – gardening, chickens, green cleaning and more


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Boysenberry glut

 

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boysenberry goodness

My boysenberry Brulee plants have been in the ground since late 2014 and finally I’ve got some to eat.  Last year I only had a few tasty fruit, then I battled with caterpillars stripping the leaves so it wasn’t a great season.  This year I’ve had a bumper crop.  Apart from loads of kale and maybe a few days where I had more strawberries than we could eat, this is my first real ‘glut’ so it’s quite exciting. Continue reading


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Update on my rusty garlic

garlic

garlic harvest

In November I posted about rust on my garlic plants.  Since I grow enough garlic to last us the year the damage this rust was doing and the potential loss of the whole crop was causing me massive stress. I got some great advice but the short of the story is nothing saved it.  I hate posting about my failed gardening but I guess it’s better than a post about nothing so here’s what I tried to save the garlic.  Hopefully it’ll be helpful to like minded garlic growers out there: Continue reading


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Storing yams, yacon and kumara

At this time of year I’ve been busy getting tomato, chillies, sweetcorn etc going but it’s too early to report on their success or failure so I thought I’d look back over the year of some slightly different tuber vegetables.  I harvested my yams and yacon at the end of May and kumara at the start of June (read about planting the yams and yacon in my earlier posts).  Ideally these would be stored for several months, even until the next harvest so how well did they last?

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Dealing with slugs

In my large garden the thing that causes me the most heartache and time is slugs and snails (pukekos follow close behind).  They have loved the wet weather over winter – I think thousands of them roamed my garden.  It’s warming up but that doesn’t mean the end of them.

The easiest way to deal with slugs and snails is to put down bait but it’s something I try to avoid because of puppies and other wildlife that might eat it or the dead slugs. Also the toxins end up in the soil and in contact with the veggies which can’t be good.  I’ve tried lots of ways to stop them eating my plants and I know I’m not alone in trying to solve this problem.

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Rust on my garlic

rust on my garlic plants

rust on my garlic plants

I’ve planted garlic each year for the last several years and find it an easy plant to grow and enjoy – it doesn’t get bothered by pests and just needs to be feed a few times while growing.  This year I’ve got rust on the plants which I’ve never seen before.  The plants have quickly turned from lush plants to sad sad specimens. I’ve been reading about what might have caused it and what I can do.  It seems that it’s caused by a fungus that loved the especially wet weather we had over winter in Auckland.  As if soggy soil for months wasn’t bad enough!  I planted them into a raised garden bed this year which was only half full of soil.  While I thought the sides of the bed would add some wind protection they might have also stopped air flow.  Good air movement in those wet conditions might have prevented the rust from forming and spreading to all the plants. Continue reading


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Simplifying food scrap disposal – the chicken compost bin

the chickens and their compost bin

the chickens and their compost bin

When we lived in suburbia I had a compost bin and worm farm so it’s fully ingrained in me to not throw away food scraps or put them down the waste disposal (we’ve never installed one much to hubby’s confusion).  We now pay for our rubbish pick up so it’s an incentive to reduce what we put out plus we have a septic system which I think is uneconomical to use to process food waste.  Although we have chickens, getting rid of food waste is somehow very complicated since they (and the worms) don’t eat everything I want to give them.

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Mosaicing a mannequin

Sometimes it seems like all I do is garden and play with train our puppy so I thought it time to start a different project – a mosaiced mannequin.  I generally don’t like posting about subjects until there’s been an outcome but in this case the end could be months away.  I’ve always loved mosaics – especially after visiting Park Güell in Barcelona years ago.  (I recommend this to anyone visiting Barcelona).  It was the 90’s when I visited Spain so in order to upload my photos of the Park I’ve had to take photos of the photos in my album.  Photography has certainly changed!

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