Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blog Marks 3 Years

I’m rather proud to announce that my Garden Blog has now been running for almost 3 years. I had no idea when I first started how long I would continue with it or how successful it would be. Anyway, I thought I would show how it’s been performing and take the opportunity to thank YOU, the audience, without whom my efforts at blogging would’ve been a complete waste of time.

As you can see from the stats shown below the readership has been steadily growing over that time and currently it’s on track to reach 2,000 page views a month within the next month or so.

It has been interesting to see what posts have caught people’s attention and the wide variety of countries represented in the audience stats. The stand out performer of all my blog posts has been the one about Myoga Ginger. I had no idea it would generate so much interest, but I was helped to see why when I received some of the feedback, comments and questions about this rather unique plant.

I have a few ideas about what I’d like to do with the content over the next year or so to keep it interesting. One thing I’d like to do is talk a bit more about other gardens besides mine, whether public or private, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m also thinking of inviting other keen gardeners to do a guest post about their garden or maybe an interview. If you have any ideas or suggestions, please feel free to let me know.

I had thought of marking this auspicious milestone with something more interesting than a simple post about it. Perhaps a little prize or gift for one of you readers but I kind of ran out of time to organise anything properly and I didn’t want to do a half job, so I might save that for later.

Anyway, thanks again for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Clash of Gardening Styles

I’ve heard about the contention that arises between a husband and wife or 2 flatmates who share a garden but can’t agree on how it should be done. Everybody’s different and has their own style, theme or approach that they want to work on. Some like it formal, some like it informal. Some prefer to plan everything carefully, others like to leave everything to chance and let nature do its thing on its own.

Sometimes, my wife Izumi and I also disagree. For me, I prefer to have a finite plan that is clear and well defined. I like to clear an area, turn over the soil and grow my crop. Then after harvest, I like to pull everything out and start all over again. I don’t have a lot of patience for plants that aren’t performing as I think they should, or plants that are taking up more space than I think they’re worth.

But I have to admit there is some merit in doing some things Izumi’s way. She often likes to let things go to seed, so she doesn’t like it when I pull stuff out too soon. She likes things to be left alone and given a chance to see what they can do.

Take this broccoli, for example...

Can you guess how long this has been in the garden? It’s actually into its third year now. If Izumi hadn’t protested each time I said I was going to pull it out, it would’ve been long gone.

The only reason I’ve allowed it to stay is because it has become “the Broccoli Plant that Keeps on Giving”. In fact that was the title I had in mind for this post, but it was taking too long to get to the point and I came to feel the real story lay in the value of learning from other’s gardening styles.

The point is, I am totally amazed at what this broccoli plant has given in terms of fruit. Something I would never have learned if I continued doing things my way.

In Auckland we can pretty much grow broccoli all year round, so this thing seems to continuously flower from one season to the next. But it has become unbelievably prolific. I have attempted to circle in red all the little flower heads that are forming and were visible in the above photo. I counted about 25 and that’s just what can be seen from this angle. There were more besides these all at various stages of growth elsewhere on the plant.

Admitedly, the flower heads aren’t that big, but there’s plenty of them. So contrary to what I used to believe about broccoli's flowering only once and that’s it, if you just cut the head off the plant at harvest time and leave the root in the ground, it will start shooting from the sides and continue shooting as long as you keep plucking off the heads.

Perhaps I should concentrate on feeding the soil. Maybe I can increase the size of the heads.

Anyway, there was enough for a meal this time.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Collecting Firewood

The cost of electricity is pretty expensive these days so any little bit we can save on heating the home in winter is a good thing. So, every year I’ve got my ears and eyes peeled for any firewood that’s looking for a good home. See how I got my firewood situation sorted this year in the attached U-tube clip.

Truth is, I was looking for a way to test my time-lapse photography skills on my new camera and I thought this would be a good way to practise.