Archive for October, 2009

Water Kefir and Other Cultures for Sale

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

All of the cultures that Becky maintains for our family are for sale and may be shipped anywhere in New Zealand.

Please see Water Kefir New Zealand for ordering information.

Available cultures include:

Water kefir

Milk kefir

Caspian Sea yogurt

Kombucha (SCOBY)

Sourdough (Wild New Zealand yeast, started in March 2006 in Northland)

Starting Seeds

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

The planting season is in full swing, despite some unseasonably cold weather last week. The peas are already climbing the netting, and lettuces, bunching onions, leeks and violas have been planted out in the garden. Lots more still to come!

Among the exciting new additions to the garden this year:

Viola — edible collection
Pansies — old fashioned
Sweet Marigold Hyssop (supposed to be an excellent companion plant)
White Yarrow (we are keen to experiment with using this to make some kind of unhopped ale, maybe using water kefir grains)
Bergamot — Bee Balm
Lemon Bergamot
Spilanthes — Sechuan Button
Basil — Sacred
Basil — Red Opal

I am so hoping that we will soon be picking edible violas to add to our salads and caraway seeds to flavour our sauerkraut.

Peas climb up some chicken fence



Companion Planting with Brasicas. . . and Owen

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Owen and I are busy in the garden this spring. The vegetable beds need to be dug and cleared, and most of them are also being re-located due to the progress we are making with building chook enclosures. I’m also starting lots of seeds for the coming season, with the peas already having been planted out in the garden. This year, we are growing a green pea called “Oregon Trail” and a soup pea called “Tall Capuchjner.” Owen likes to do digging, and helps to prepare pots for the seeds. He knows to be very careful around the trays and pots where the vegetable seedlings are growing. It’s wonderful to be able to include him in some of the work around the garden, and to watch him enjoying the fresh air, dirt, sunshine and plants.

Young red cabbage

Owen is already finding strawberries to eat, and has enjoyed helping me to harvest chamomile flowers from our winter brassica bed. I’ve been really pleased with the mix of plants in the brassica bed. Last autumn, I planted a row of red cabbage and sprouting broccoli with a row of leeks behind them. I put young celery plants in some of the gaps between the brassicas and leeks. I also surounded the brassicas with the following: dill, chamomile, heartsease viola (johnny-jump-up) and cilantro. These companion plants seem to have helped to keep the weeds down. All seem to have done well alongside each other, and I think the effect is pretty. Now, with the brassicas almost ready for harvest, the celery and leeks are just coming into their own and will benefit from the extra space. At one end of the row of brassicas, I planted a patch of swiss chard (silver beet), and at the other end, some lettuces. I also put several calendula plants at either end of the row. I’d certainly like to try this combination (or similar) again next autumn.