The Harvest Continues, January 2012

Plum Tree in Whakatete Bay, New Zealand

We have been enjoying the fruits of our labors and those of others.  Our vege gardens are producing copiously, but not as bountifully as our plum tree.  We have stopped buying produce, except for mushrooms (maybe someday we’ll grow our own, but not this year) and bananas (probably won’t grow well here in New Zealand).

Each evening after Andrew returns home from work, we go out to the gardens and orchard and gather fresh fruit and veges.  Almost everyday there are a few zucchinis and some broccoli, and every single day there are plenty of plums.

Plum jam and peach preserves in New Zealand

One day's canning of peaches and plums

The birds and bees eat more of the plums than we get to collect, but even so, there is more than we can possibly eat ourselves.  So, we give away dozens of plums, and I have been making plum jam (yummy!).  So far, I’ve made over twenty jars of jam.  The plums from one of our trees are the size of tennis balls, and a second plum tree has smaller plums, the size of golf balls.  But we think the large ones will likely be sweeter than the small ones.  We have really been enjoying all these plums, and now we are adding plum jam to our toast and sandwiches, as well.

giant peach grown in Whakatete Bay, New Zealand

Andrew's Giant Peach (so far, the largest we've harvested)

The peach tree has also begun to have ripe fruit, and again, the birds are getting more of them than we are, but we still have more than we can eat.  Neither of us likes peaches as much as we like our plums, partly because the peaches are not quite as sweet as the plums, and partly because neither of us likes the fuzzy skin on peaches.  Our peaches are also larger than either of us is used to, though none so far have been as large as “Andrew’s Giant Peach.”  Andrew stews most of the peaches, and then we either can them (put them into self-sealing jars) or freeze them.  So far, we’ve canned eleven litres (11 quarts) and frozen about three litres, and the peach trees are only about halfway harvested.

plums, zucchinis, and peaches harvested from home garden in New Zealand

One evening's haul from our garden and orchard

As for zucchini and broccoli, we’ve been freezing that, and our freezer is full.  I powered up our large chest freezer out in the garage this morning and moved some stuff out there.  Our tomatoes are just beginning to ripen.  We ate only one so far, a couple days ago, and it wasn’t quite ripe.

Every few days, we’ve also been popping a strawberry or two into our mouths as we work in the garden.  There aren’t many strawberries so far, but we’ve more than tripled the number of plants by planting some of the runners.  I limit the number of runners from each parent plant to two or three, so that the parent plant isn’t taxed too badly.  The rest, I simply cut off.

growing potatoes in New Zealand

One line of our potatoes

As mentioned in a previous post, we have plenty of salad greens, as well:  lettuce (though it has now gone to seed), spinach, onions and carrots, as well as some silverbeet (though neither of us is overly fond of that, eating it more as a replacement for spinach).  We also have lots of rhubarb, though it is from a plant that was here when we moved in.  Potatoes are getting near to their harvest time.  I’ve planted a few sunflowers and about fifty corn, but they are still in their growing stage, probably still weeks away from harvest.  Our neighbor farmer has given us plenty of veges, as well:  potatoes, gherkins, peas, beans, and beetroot (beet).

As plants finish their productive cycle, I am planting new seeds or seedlings (grown myself on paper towels on bread plates), so that we will continue to enjoy the fruit of our labors.

Life here in New Zealand is wonderful in many ways, one of which is the bountiful yummies from our gardens and orchard.


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