Troublesome neighbours

Anita Kundu is talking about growing Chilli, Cucumber, Eggplant, Silverbeet, Spinach, Something else from Auckland

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Garden in progress

Today brought some much-needed rain in Auckland.  Fortunately, I went for my 10k run at 6am, well before the rain set in.  In saying that, there is something very pleasant about running in the rain, especially the type of fine rain that we saw today (as opposed to it absolutely pelting down).

I started work in the garden at 8 am.  I spent about half an hour filling our two garden waste bins with rubbish.  Our bins were already full and due to be collected when I had amassed quite a bit of waste over Labour Weekend, so I stored the waste in black plastic rubbish bags until the company came to empty the bins.  The next collection won’t be for awhile, but I don’t want the neighbours to complain about rubbish bags lying around on the front lawn.   It was all I could think about during my run. I did it this way as I think a mountain of waste would have looked even untidier.  It feels like we are walking on egg shells with the neighbours.  It’s quite sad but we don’t really have much to do with a couple of them anymore, but I feel that it’s for the best.  My aunt (who lives across the road) told me that one of them who lives next door to her was constantly gossiping about me.  I used to feel sorry for her as she was very lonely and didn’t have many friends (I can now see why!).  I even offered to help her create a small garden in her backyard despite being very busy with my business at the time, but she wasn’t interested.  Sadly, she finds it more enjoyable to spy on people (my aunt told me she is a peeping tom and is always peering through the cracks of their fence!), ask very personal questions (she really upset my aunt by prying into her son’s recent separation from his wife and has also asked me some incredibly nosy questions) and talk about them behind their back rather than use time constructively, whether gardening or doing something else. Then there is another couple who are not very nice at all.  There is some history there.  If people are so horrible, it’s probably best to just stay away from them, otherwise they will end up hurting you.  Please don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against elderly people!  The group I run with on Thursdays at the YMCA 10k series are mostly in their 70s and 80s (and most of them are way slimmer, fitter and faster than me!).  They are the most spirited, lovely and supportive people ever.   It’s the ones with nothing to do (and don’t want to do anything!) that cause more trouble.  Nope, it’s not all a bed of roses in my world, but the garden is like a sanctuary, a haven to escape the problems of day-to-day life.  Even if trouble isn’t very far away.

I digress.  I then moved over to the greenhouse, where I had a few tasks to do.  You might recall me mentioning that I recently started hardening off my melons and eggplants  Because these plants are getting quite big (they are in 10 cm pots), I keep them on trays and move them outdoors during the day but put them back inside at night, as the temperature falls. I’ll keep doing this for another week or so, before leaving them outside permanently.  I plan to start planting them in another fortnight.

I then had a good look around inside the greenhouse.  It was time for more melons, eggplants and some cucumbers that had grown a third leaf to be moved from staying inside Sistema crates onto black seed raising trays.   I keep the very smallest of plants in crates and cover them at night with lids as the temperature does drop, even under cover.  However, many of these had grown a lot in the past week since I had done my last inspection of the greenhouse and were ready for the next stage of their life.  There were also some plants in 6-cell punnets that hadn’t made much progress (other members of their peer group, sown at the same time, are now large and healthy in 10 cm pots) so it was time to get rid of them.  Some looked unhealthy and diseased.  I have so many plants to take care of and it’s better to focus on what’s strong and healthy.  I simply don’t have the time to nurse the weaker ones back to health.  There were some plants in 6-cell punnets that made the grade and got potted up into individual 10cm pots.  These plants were mainly eggplants, chillies (“Fire and Ice” from Kings Seeds) and passionfruit seedlings.  By this point, I had my raincoat on. While it was raining, I sat in the driveway under the eaves of the garage doing this task.  

As the ground was nice and damp from the rain, it seemed like the perfect time to put in some more plants.  I  planted a punnet of malabar spinach grown from seed I saved from my plants two years ago, which had germinated well.  I still have lots of self-seeded plants which you might remember seeing in a photo I posted in an earlier blog, but I wanted to cover myself incase they get munched by slugs or snails, or otherwise end up dying.  I also managed to plant some more silverbeet seedlings around the edges of our garden beds.  At the moment, it’s raining very heavily so I’ve come indoors but if it subsides I will try to go back outside and do some more planting, to take advantage of ideal conditions.  I still have some more kohlrabi seedlings that need to go in, but I didn’t plant them all when I was doing a mass planting about a week ago, so I would have some replacements incase any seedlings died. 

What has everyone else gotten up to in their garden today (or not!)?  Was it also raining where you are?  Hopefully you have nice neighbours and don’t have horror stories like us!

Today’s photo is of our corn seedlings, which are doing nicely.