Today in my vegie garden

into the gardenFrom October through to April I spend as much time as poss in my garden. About 3 days a week at this time of year, keeps the food garden rolling and bringing us a daily harvest. I diary the garden each week – 3 whole days! Heaven. Here’s what today looked like.

Sunday 18 November

Got into the garden about 1.30. First up is planting spuds. Planted 1kg Waiporoporo – love this potato. I generally do a kilo at a time – preferring little and often sowings to avoid storage problems and also little and often missions suit my lifestyle/ head space.

The precursor to these spuds was a lupin/ mustard greencrop. I’d done a mission yesterday and chopped it down. I’m an annoyingly tidy person, even in the garden, and stacked the greencrop in a tidy pile next to the bed. You can see the pile in the bottom corner of the next photo. It’s nice and handy – ready to spread on as mulch. Though I’ve been growing and using my own mulch for a long time, I grow more in love with this cycle each time I do it.

sniff the soil

Next up is to decide if any fert needs be added. I’m lucky to be 8 years down the track in this garden. 8 years of broadforking, greencropping, crop rotation, hmemade mulch and composting, and the soil is in really good heart. I check the soil and it smells great, feels great and looks great so I’m not going to add anything at this stage. If I had seaweed I’d be laying it the bottom of the trench beneath each seed potato.

planting seed potatoesTrenches are 50cm apart and wonky (as per usual). Piled the soil from the trenches to the side to avoid squashing it into the paths and that tidy thing of mine. I want as much useful soil as poss to pile on top. Laid in the seed potatoes at 30cm spacings.

planting seed potatoes

Pushed the dirt back on top of the spuds. My hands are my go to tool.

hilling up spuds

Dug a trench up the middle to gather more dirt to pile on top of each row.  Wonky again.

mulch spuds

Piled the greencrop back on top of the bed it grew in – yus! More cycles, great nutrition, less shopping. And I’m pleased to say it doesn’t look tidy. Not as anal as I thought.

carrot seed sowed

1kg potatoes takes up a bit less than ¾ of one of my beds, so I sow carrots in the remaining. It’s hard to store bulk carrots so I grow just enough that’ll fit in both crispers of the fridge at anyone time. Any more than that and I have nowhere to store them for long periods.  Nothing sadder than all that work on a crop gone to waste. Carrots are a kitchen essential I never want to be without.

Another lot rocket and coriander needs to go in. More kitchen essentials. Both of these shoot off to seed quickly in the heat so at this time of year I slow them down by sowing them with flowers/ crops in densely planted spots where the soil is shaded and cool. Today the rocket goes between the calendula and gherkins. The coriander gets mixed in my hand with bishops flower and breadseed poppy seed and tossed about in the vegie garden edge (my mulch growing, bee enticing, herb providing border).

The soil is finally 16° – warm enough for beans – hurrah! Takes a while to warm up, being at the foothills of the Tararuas. I get my first lot of beans via dwarf beans in the greenhouse – were eating these now. I’m growing  Blue Shackamaxon this year. I’ll sow another lot late Dec or Jan. Once again – frame and bed made ready to go yesterday for cruisey sunday gardening today 🙂

blocked path

Next I need to mulch the bean bed. I’ve got options here – the lemon balm hedge can get cut back, could mow the lawn, clear out the blocked up potager paths, but I go for this path cause its one of my main access ways and while this path looks pretty, its a fight to get through. Time for a clear out/ mulch collect up. I score a generous wheelbarrow full of parsley, perennial cornflower, poppies, valerian and lemonbalm

path clearings mulch

and a pathway at the same time.

clear path 

You wont do better by your soil than a homegrown, herbal mixed mulch.

best mulch

About 4 o clock Matt puts the jug on for a cuppa tea. Nice timing – I’m done here.


  1. Wow! What a fantastic garden. I’m relatively new to gardening and have just laid pea straw all over my veggie garden. But I see you use newly pulled out plants as mulch. I didn’t know this was possible! Pea straw is so expensive. Can you just plant through the green mulch? Wow. I hope I can learn as much as you clearly have and end up with such a wonderful garden too.

  2. Sophie Campbell says

    Hi Kath

    Merry Christmas etc – i had a brilliant idea but wanted to run it past you first, as i harvest my potatoes i thought i would chop all the green tops up and lay them back where the potatoes where and plant marigolds throughout, So this would mean as i harvest i chop and compost behind the crop yet to be harvested and include marigolds (which need planting) .
    I wondered if this was a bad idea and might increase the risk of disease. Whats your thoughts??
    Thanks Sophie Campbell

    • Hey Sophie, yip bright idea! As long as the potato tops are in good health and as long as you rotate all solanaceae on this bit of ground – all good. By doing this you are imitating the old way of curing potatoes which is to let the tops die off naturally and the spuds sit in the ground to harden off for a few weeks before harvesting. Enjoy your spuds 🙂 Kath