Welcome to Winter '22!

Welcome to Winter '22!

The cool season crops have taken over the no-dig beds, it's been raining, there aren't many leaves left on deciduous trees and we're eating kale, silverbeet and pak-choi ... this means IT'S WINTER!

Big excitement here on the farm with winning a gold medal for our Babyleaf lettuce with edible flowers in the Outstanding NZ food producer awards. We're so proud that a little family run market garden can achieve a gold medal up against bigger producers. It gives us a boost of confidence and reward for our hard work.

It feels good to have the no-dig bed winter seedlings in, and established. We forget every year what a big task it is to seed, transplant and look after all the seedlings it takes to fill the beds. We generally fit 170 plants per bed, and there are 33 beds. 12 of the beds are for the pak-choi, beetroot, rocket and miner's lettuce which get planted and sown all through Winter. Each season we top-up the soil in the beds to replenish and provide good food for our plants. We expect a lot from them, harvesting from them every week through winter for our online orders and farmers markets.

You can see new beds that we've added on to the bottom right of the no-dig bed garden photo. Each year we are growing more and more, as customer demand for our produce grows. Each year we are getting better and faster at our gardening tasks and can take on a bit more work. I guess at some stage we'll reach our limit.

Every season we try growing a new crop. Sometimes the crops are a success, sometimes not. It is a reminder that we just aren't good at growing everything. This season we're trying out Miner's Lettuce. It is looking great, very cute dainty leaves, crisp, succulent with a mild flavour. Perfect, we decided, to pair with peppery Rocket, and we're selling it bagged into our home-compostable, worm-farm friendly bags as Miner's Lettuce and Rocket salad. It's really yum and very pretty on the plate.

The hydroponic crops of lettuce and herbs just carry on as usual. The change of seasons always cause a bit of disruption to the lettuces, while they have a bit of a struggle to adjust to less daylight hours and lower temperatures. If the lettuces are a bit weak, often they will get attacked by bugs, which sets them back further. It's a bit of a frustration to us and our customers, but it's just mother nature and something we have to work with.

Now that there is so much water around from the rain, the paddocks are green and the soil dark and moist, it's seems like so long ago that it was hot and dry and we were so worried about keeping our plants watered. Thank goodness for seasons and change, they make life ... and growing ... interesting.