Winter Solstice - shortest day, longest night
Great news, we're on the other side of Winter Solstice, which occurs late June in NZ. Winter Solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight in the year, making it the 'shortest day'. After this moment, the earth begins its gradual roll back towards summer for the Southern Hemisphere. The Winter Solstice is considered a turning point in the year in many cultures and has been celebrated since the beginning of time.
Before we came to the farm, we never gave that much notice to daylight hours and Winter Solstice. Now we understand the feeling of celebration that our good friend the sun will be longer in the sky once again!
As growers, we know that our crops will enjoy the longer hours of sunlight and start to grow again.
Our winter in-ground crops have finally settled in and we're harvesting kale, silverbeet, pak-choi, miner's lettuce and rocket from our no-dig beds.
Our hydroponic crops are still slow but will pick up soon. The coriander has been almost dormant for a few weeks now, but looks like it will be back on track within the next couple of weeks. Do you know we pretty much have to grow twice the amount of hydroponic plants in the winter to make up for slower growth?
It's been a tricky start to winter with an army worm invasion attacking our young silverbeet, kale and pakchoi seedlings in particular. The army worm worked it's way through Northland, destroying many home and commercial grower's crops. It set our young winter crops back at least a month. I met a home grower who told me she was growing a new kind of silverbeet. I asked 'oh, what kind?' She said it had very lacy, almost non-existent leaves, just a stalk. It took a second to realise she had the army worm problem too! Now that temperatures have dropped, the bugs have died, and now the plants that survived are back on track.
We love growing (and eating) snow peas in the late Winter and Spring. So we're trialling growing pea feathers in our no-dig beds through the Winter. We're excited to see how they grow! They'll be a tasty crunchy addition to salads and sandwiches and hopefully another successful crop for us.
Trialling new crops is exciting for us, and a part of our business that we enjoy. Usually we try new crops because we want to eat them ourselves!