Home and Garden
It's official; spring is here. That's what the calendar says anyway, although my garden already told me about spring during the last week in August and I'm sure it didn't consult a calendar.
The signs of spring haven't exactly been subtle. I've had daffodils for several weeks now, the willow across the road took on a green hue a couple of weeks back and the weeds are trying to take over the world, or at least my small part of it. Everywhere I look there are welcome indications that winter is over.
Our nectarine, peach and apricot trees are in blossom, our clematis has buds and we've eaten our first feed of asparagus.
Another sure indicator of a seasonal change is that the dog's started frolicking like a puppy.
He's also started nibbling at his paws, at about the same time my hay fever kicked in.
While he loves the longer days and the resulting longer, more interesting walks, he's no keener on the allergy aspect of the season than I am. I give his feet a daily dunking to wash the troublesome pollen away.
While he's meeker about this than he used to be, catch him on a day when he's got spring fever in his step and a rascally look in his eye and I'll end up as wet as him.
Now that the ground is starting to dry out from its August soaking, I've been spending time each weekend tackling the weeds.
Our garden soil is still pretty wet, though, so I've been sowing my seeds into trays and will transplant the resulting seedlings in a few weeks.
The raspberries have fresh green tips so I got all enthused and weeded the raspberry enclosure last weekend. The dogs were delighted; usually it's closed up to keep birds out.
On the dog's part, I suspect the delight had more to do with the fact there's probably some good rat sniffs in there as the rats tunnel in under the fence, rather than with any desire to pull weeds.
The she-wolf was happy because she could choose where to lie and watch me; she takes it as a personal affront when anything obstructs her from being where I'm working.
I'm hoping to get another good crop off the raspberries this season. I mulched them with comfrey leaves and pea straw in autumn, and I'll start fertilising them with seaweed tea soon.
Speaking of comfrey, I've read that lining potato trenches with comfrey leaves is a great way to get your spuds off to a good start nutrient-wise.
This is the first year my comfrey has sprouted before my spuds so I'll be giving that a go.
My seed potatoes are almost ready; I plan to plant them next weekend.
Meanwhile, we're getting to the time of year where we won't need a fire every night.
The she-wolf won't be impressed. She's convinced the only reason the nice, warm, glowy heat source in the lounge exists is for her personal comfort.
Whenever anyone else takes the prime fire spot, be it the dog, the other half or me, we are treated to one of her disapproving looks, which continues until the offending being removes themselves from “her” spot.
Given that I'm as stubborn as her and just as fond of the fire, there's often a battle of wills resulting in a large german shepherd fitting herself into a narrow section of carpet between me and the fire with much moaning and groaning, usually on her part. Even if she can only squeeze her nose in, she seems to feel she's made her point.
WHAT TO PLANT IN SEPTEMBER
It's that time of year when the list is too long to print!
Garden guides recommend planting asparagus crowns, broccoli, beetroot cabbage, carrot, celery, climbing beans, lettuce and salad greens, leeks, a variety of herbs, peas, parsnip and turnip in the garden and starting frost tender seeds like tomatoes, capsicum, chilli, eggplant, pumpkin, cucumber and zucchini under shelter.
Get seed potatoes, yams and kumara sprouting.
Check gardening books and the internet for information on other seeds you can plant now.
Try something different – choose at least one thing you haven't grown before.
- The Marlborough Express