Our NZ yams are over due for earthing up. They are just like potatoes, when they have grown through the soil a bit, you can scoop more soil over them to help promote extra tubers for harvest.
Once they’re earthed up, I plan on planting out the scarlet runner bean seedlings our friends gave us.
Beans and yams grow well together!
The rain let up a bit, so I went outside to take these photo’s.
I planted this very silverbeet LAST year, and it is still giving us silverbeet even now!
What ever you do, don’t think that just because it’s autumn or winter that you have to pull out everything from the garden. These 3 plants have been producing almost constantly for us!
When they went to seed, we cut back the seed stalks and let them continue growing.
(NOTE: if you let winter leaf vegetables go to seed the vegetable themselves will be really bitter, BUT after they are finished seeding cut back the dead leaves and seed stalks and leave them alone for a while. They’ll come back like these did!).
Yacon. Apparently also know as the They are of South American origin, and I just bought some rhizomes on TradeMe (New Zealands favourite online auction).
(This is the photo of them from TradeMe)
These are REALLY hard to find here. So when I accidently came across them on TradeMe for only $5, I had to buy them! I’ve never eaten one, I’ve never grown them, and the growing season here is not til September/October, BUT I am looking forward to all of it!
From the rhizomes (above) they sprout stalks and leaves and can get to between 5 and 7 feet tall.
(photo off the net)
They also flower and have a nice big sunflower type bloom.
(photo off the net again)
But that’s not the exciting part. Underneath the soil they grow edible tuber roots that you can eat raw, and are sweet and crunchy!
(this one too)
I’ve only really just read up on them even though I knew I wanted them ages ago.
They take up quite a bit of space to according to the gardening sites I’ve been visiting. I might try and grow them in half wine barrels and I don’t know how well they store or if they can be preserved yet……?
I’m worried people will get confused with the type of yams people grow in America. The yams we tried to grow are what are more commonly called New Zealand yams. They are much smaller, and look nothing like a Kumara.
New Zealand Yams:
Although we wanted to grow kumara, we didn’t get aroung to it. Mainly because we started too late for a decent growing season for them. But we did plant yams!
That’s them in the back ground under the peas and behind the silverbeet, sometime back in summer.
And today I harvested them!
A few unearthed:
Half full bin:
And full bin:
And I don’t think I’m finished either! They really spead themselves around where ever you plant them, and apparently they are hard to get rid of once they’re in your garden. My Mum told me that once you’ve panted a yam, you will always have yams.
I’m not complaining, just sounds like free food from now on if you ask me. =).
At there height.
All died back and therefore ready to harvest…. hopefully.
This last weekend saw us taking down the tyre stacks we planted with potatoes. I have to say I was pretty nervous. I’ve seen a youtube video of someone who ended up not getting any potatoes at all (not one) out of there stacks.
Still in the stack.
Remnant of a seed potato. The the skin remains.
Some of the purple Urenika variety we planted (they grow smaller, but are denser and more flavourful and nutrient rich.
A bin full of potato-y goodness!
Left out for just one day to ‘harden off’.
They are all gathered up back in the bin with news paper on underneath and on top to keep the light out.
We had about 7 that had been hollowed out by some type of grub.
These 2 grew inbetween tyres and came out as flat a pancakes. I thought they were pebbles when I first saw them!
I am relieved that we got potatoes at all and over joyed that we got so many. I would definitely grow them like this again. But next time we’ll get them in quicker. We started the garden 3 - 4 months later than everybody else! =)
The garden at the beginning of planting.
When it was starting to look like a real vege garden.
At it’s peak in summer.
Still producing, but getting over grown.
The garden has given me so much over the few months that we have had one. More than anything it has given me something to do everyday, and has rewarded me everyday for doing so.
With winter coming, I have been thinking a lot about winter vegetables. But there is further into the future to plan for also.
I work in a large hardware store that has a gardening area that I don’t really see. But I do see the customers, and they have been a wealth of information to me since the beginning of the experiment.
One little piece of information came from a couple buying broad beans. Apparently, you plant them now. They grow to only a few inches tall and then stop. The frosts harden them off, and then in spring the flourish.
Spring…. The word made the thought of winter bearable, and somehow not as long….
Some winter growing veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, Brussels sprouts, endive, kale, leeks, lettuce, silverbeet, spinach and radish, onions (including shallots and spring onions), garlic, Jerusalem artichoke tubers, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries and currants.
And along with your broad beans, peas.
Below is the very much finished garden bed 1. It has given us so many tomatoes, basil leaves, and parsley stalks (that it still gives), that it now seems sad and lonely with winter coming in faster than usual.
Almost all of our garden beds will have to go through the same process though. Lots of pulling out, weeding (minimal with the type of garden that we have used), laying down of fertiliser and compost and either replanting or leaving to fallow for the winter. I’m guessing most will be replanted though.
In garden bed 1 the parsley will be staying, but that’s all. Everything else is well spend now, having given as much as we gave them.
But everything comes to an end, so something else can begin. =).
Compost. It sounds so boring and smelly, but it’s so important. When you think about it, it is the garden. It’s what everything we eat grows out of, so what goes into it is just as important as what comes out of it.
But that doesn’t mean it has to cost an arm and a leg.
This is our compost bin. Bry made it out of old pallets that we got for free! After that it was just a matter of sorting out what organic material what appropriate for use.
Bry made the front panel able to slide up so we can shovel the “good stuff” out the bottom.
Compost should have nitrogen and carbon in it, so al the stalks and pods from the bean and pea plants are great (any legume stuff really), and poo. Different varieties if possible (horse, rabbit, pig, goat, chicken, sheep, etc. Think herbavore).
Hair, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, sea weed, newspaper, pine needles, straw, dryer lint, cardboard, untreated wood chips, pine cones, oak leaves egg shells…. The list goes on. Think about the composition of your compost and whether or not what you’re about to add to it is something your would eat something wrong and you should be on the right track.
The technical types say that compost should be 1 part nitrogen to 3 parts carbon, but in all honesty if I have the scraps and things available I don’t go measuring things out. I just dump it all in. =).
With the summer garden coming to an end the next stage is beginning. This involves alot of pulling out of old plants, composting and manuring, and re-planting the beds with winter vege.
Before all that happens though, there is a last ditch effort on summers part to donate a little of itself to the future.
Seed collecting in many ways is as easy as pie, especially with fruit and vege plants. For the most part it’s the edible seed pods we encourage from our edible gardens, so there is almost always seed available to harvest, dry and store until the time is right to plant again.
Nasturtium seeds are large, bulbous, prolific, and easy to photograph (and collect). Most seeds are easy to collect and dry for storage. Take them away from moisture. That includes any moisture trapped around them, like the slimey, jelly stuff around tomato seeds. Once that’s cleared the seeds will dry on there own as long as they aren’t touching one another, and if kept in a fairly dry atmosphere (hot water cylinder cupboard, top of fridge, warm/sunny windowsill, etc).
Some seeds of course, just dry on there own, like nasturtiums, and peas, and beans. After that, it’s just a matter of storing them which is what I’m using my wallpaper envelopes for with a little note inside telling me what seeds they in there.
Other things can be stored in jars like peas and beans. My bean jar has grown a little since last week, already!
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