A month ago the kitchen garden was dishevelled and in serious need of a sprucing up. Although the warm and wet weather was a nutritious boost to the winter vegetables it was the weeds and wayward seedlings that were growing like crazy. The paths looked almost as productive as the garden beds.
The temperate climate here means the garden never truly hibernates making gardening an all year round occupation. Whilst fellow vegetable gardeners in the northern hemisphere hunker down with their seed catalogues dreaming of untold food harvests in winter as they sit in front of the fire, down here we still primp and preen our gardens, battling natures wilder habits and kidding ourselves that we can maintain some sense of order and horticultural standards.
Unless the weather is too unbearable, I perambulate my usual route around our Kaitoke acres. First I keep count that there are still only five chickens roosting and our resident pukekos have not snuck in to enjoy the higher class accommodation. Walking through the orchard area we are vigilante to the young trees from breaking their anchors and being pushed around by the fierce winds. The state of the kitchen garden only worries me when I see crops missing signalling bunny invaders are at work, otherwise I’ve learned to turn a blind eye to its buffeted state. We return to the house only after standing up all the plants in the nursery area that despite out best efforts to shelter them always seem to take a whipping.
It’s usually the only walk that the bassets will bound ahead of me with Fortnum barking in frustration at Mason who is running too fast for him to catch. Of course they are little help in the garden aside from their big basset paws having remarkably effective bed flattening capabilities. More often than not they spend much of their time snuggling up and begging for neck rubs.
For all it’s ramshackle state, the garden still provides us with plenty of vegetables and herbs to see us through the winter. Since advance planning for dinner is not always our strongest point you can often find me ferreting around sporting a head torch to dig up a few carrots or gather in some winter greens. Thankfully it won’t be long before I add seed tray tending to the daily chores which is the best reminder of all that the garden will soon shed it’s winter state and be blooming once again.