Gardening with Ruth
I transplanted my dahlias a couple of years ago but they are not growing as well as I had hoped. Those that are up look great and healthy but I am wondering if it is too dry where they are. Will feed them after they finish flowering and see how they go next year.
January is an unusual month in the garden for many of us. It is the holiday season, and if we go away for a few days things seem to grow faster than when we are home!
We had a two week break and the weeds were everywhere when we got back. It took us three solid days to tidy everything up again. With the winds over the Christmas/New year period, some of the older trees in our garden lost a few branches. That resulted in the chainsaw coming out and a few dodgier looking bits being lopped off. Now we have a huge pile of rubbish to burn in the autumn when the fire bans are lifted.
Along our driveway I have an heirloom plant from Nana’s garden, and it is almost taking over. This photo shows some of the delicate ping blossoms on it.
I read back over some of my earlier columns for January/February recently and I realised just how repetitive gardening is. Every month in the cycle is almost the same. Weed, fertilise, plant, harvest, then weed again. The only variance was what I had planted and what was successful in our patch of paradise. These seemed to vary from year to year as well, depending on our fickle weather patterns. This year we seem to be having more wind than usual and it play havoc with taller growing plants like tomatoes and climbing beans. It also really dries out the soil and watering is very important to ensure your plants stay happy and not stressed.
Summer is one of the busiest times of the year, after spring and autumn of course. Water is essential and we have installed an automatic system in the vegetable garden side of our section. Now I have to think about what to plant and how to get rid of all the extra weeds that are coming up. We never seem to be satisfied do we?
The tomatoes are doing very well in a new warmer position of the vege garden. They are sweet and juicy.
Late January by the moon:
18-25 This is a ‘resting’ period. No planting at all. Time to weed and prune back shrubs that have gone a bit wild.
25-31 Cultivate and fertilise in preparation to plant.
Tomato relish Great on cold meats and cheese sandwiches 3kg tomatoes – chopped (You can leave the skin on if you like) 4 large onions – chopped 500ml vinegar 1 tbsp salt 1½ cups sugar Boiled together for ½ hour remove from the heat Mix 1 cup flour, 1tbsp curry powder and 1 dsp mustard  with 250ml vinegar Add to tomato mix and stir in well Return to heat and cook a further 20 minutes. Bottle and seal.