The joy of nightshades

Watching things grow is quite the challenge.
The more you watch the slower they seems to change,
When you give them space they appears to grow up over night.
Patience, persistence and perseverance are necessary.

This year is the first “real” vegetable garden we have. By real I mean a garden with various “crops”. And by crops I mean rows of different vegetables. Last year was an experiment to see if I could grow anything, the kale survived and so did the shiso. Which reminds me I haven’t planted the seeds I collected.

Seeing our first eggplant appear on the plant was quite magical. I thought it was a shadow at first it appeared so silently. Now there are two.

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Solanum melongena (eggplant/aubergine)

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Capsicum annuum (jalapeno)

All the plants seen here are members of the nightshade family, the tomatoes, the eggplants and the peppers. We have jalapenos and green bell peppers.  I didn’t plan this, it just happened. Some people have health issues/intolerance with plants in the nightshade family. Potatoes are under the nightshade umbrella too. I have never had an issue with them.

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Solanum lycopersicum (tomatoes)

Cherry tomatoes seen here are starting to ripen up. There are huge numbers awaiting their moments of brightness. Can’t wait to pick some more. Almost enough for a salad.   I read somewhere that if tomatoes are starved of water then they are sweeter? True or not? It has been a hot dry summer and I am trying to keep up with the watering. Time for a nap!

Vegetable garden update

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There are many way to support tomatoes. I went with the pole approach. I tied up cord, one fore each plant and secured it at the bottom with a rock. Twisty ties, string and like to tie the branches and stems of the tomato plants for support. I chose the hottest time of day to do this job. Hot. Hot. Hot. Do not do as I did. All done now. Let’s see if it works.
Ignore the weeds. You can see that I have. I am going for imperfect gardening this year. If a job gets done it’s a bonus. If it doesn’t get done. Never mind. I got a bee sting on my stomach today! Ouch!

Woolly Nightshade

Common Names: Woolly Nightshade, Tobacco Weed, Flannel Weed, Kerosene Plant, Tobacco Bush Weed, Ear-leaf Tobacco, Wild Tobacco,
Latin Name: Solanum mauritianum
Characteristics: Purple flowers with a yellow centre, felt like grey green leaves, leaves smell like kerosene when crushed, can grow up to 10m tree.

A native plant of South America. Present in New Zealand north of Taupo. This plant was pointed out to me. I didn’t know what it was. I thought it looked quite nice until I was told it was a pest plant. Out it went. It is banished from our land. I will watch out for it just in case it tries to creep back in.


For more details on this invasive pest plant see Waikato Regional Council.

Kahili Ginger

Common Names: Kahili Ginger, Wild Ginger
Latin Name: Hedychium gardnerianum
Characteristics:  Stems up to 2m high. Large scented flower head (25-45cm long). Lemon-yellow flowers with red stamens ( January-March). Large waxy leaves, arranged alternately on stem.

The root systems of the wild ginger spread out and send up new shoots. Very invasive pest plant. I am trying to get rid of the wild ginger. Have removed half of the plants on the land. The rest have been cut back. Will remove each clump until all are gone. This plant is nice to look at but it is invasive and a threat to native forests and plants. Grows anywhere even in the shade. Labelled as a weed in New Zealand.

For more details on this invasive pest plant see NZ Department of Conservation.

Chinese Privet

Common Name: Chinese Privet, Privet
Latin Name: Ligustrum sinense
Characteristics: flowering evergreen shrub that is used as hedging. Shiny green leaves, leaves are opposite each other on the stem. Small white flowers.

Another unwelcome uninvited guest that is in our garden. This plant will keep coming back if cut back to the stump. Immediately paint herbicide over the entire stump surface. Dig out if small.

For more details on this invasive pest plant see Waikato Regional Council.

Wheel on barrow

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Sounds like an English pub name, Wheel on Barrow, a drinking establishment in Barrow-in-Furness harking back to the days of wooden carts and straw on the floor. A runaway cart carrying ale could have crashed into the pub beginning the name Wheel on Barrow. I digress. No wonder I don’t get into the garden.  Blame the barrow!

The warmer weather is beckoning me outside. The hurdle that has stopped me from getting outside earlier was the wheel on the wheel barrow. It was flat. As flat as could be. It made me feel flat. Today I got out the bicycle pump and tackled the annoying job. Did it take hours to fix? Was the tyre punctured? No and no. It took five minutes at most. Boy do I feel satisfied. It really is the small things that matter.

On with the garden tidy up so I can get the vegetable garden ready, the outdoor seating area comfortable and the weeds under control.

Now that I’m on an active streak, I will try and do a little something each day. I have a very daring female blackbird that stalks me closely when I’m pulling out weeds and sweeping up leaves. I can almost touch her, she gets so close. She is a welcome garden companion.

Did you know: Female blackbirds aren’t black!

Vegetables Six Weeks On

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Notice the eaten silverbeet at the front of the photo. I am sharing my vegetables with others.

Red Shiso:
Flowering stage. I will wait till the flowers have died and collect the seeds.
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Beetroot:
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Beetroot Closeup:
I think they can come out next week.
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Flat Leaf Parsley:
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Silverbeet/Swiss Chard:
Having a hard time competing with the other plants and is growing very slowly.300313i
Kale:
A very unusual leaf shape. Non uniform curves.
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