Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Beginning - and an end.


This is the beginning of my new grow house. M is constructing it with guidance from Joe. As you can see, we use old water tanks that M has cut in half as my raised beds.The two in the front of the photo hold potatoes and New Zealand yams (old men’s toes) and the one on the right has tomatoes, cauliflower and one, yes one, zucchini.I’m happy to say that most of the vegetables growing at the moment have flowers coming.

Inside the grow house are another three water tank raised beds and then down one side, on the North, I have an ordinary garden bed prepared for corn, rock melon and beans etc. On the other side of the grow house are a couple of smaller tanks and one of those will become my dedicated strawberry tank. I’m not sure yet about the other, maybe blueberries.

I have more tomato seedlings growing happily in the cold frame and two or three eggplants. I’m hoping for more if my seeds come through. I’ve already planted three apple cucumber plants in one of the tanks that will be in the grow house and I’ve also raised a couple of cold weather rock melon which are waiting for the construction to finish.

On the other side of the garden are more tomatoes; that dehydrator of mine is going to be busy this year – I hope. There’s also broccoli, lettuce, beetroot, rainbow chard (finishing), broad beans (finishing), peas, snow peas, sugarsnaps, and lots of garlic. I’ve planted some scarlet runner beans against the old grape vine with another zucchini but that one will be for the “girls”. I’ve covered it with some mesh at the moment but will remove the mesh when it’s a bit larger and more established.

The herbs are also doing well except my coriander has already run to seed. I’m going to plant some more and put them on the shady side of the house I think. I use so much coriander I can never have too much. I’m feeling optimistic about everything growing this year, we’re going to have so many plums and apples and even the young nectarine and peach trees have fruit coming. So I anticipate being very busy in the kitchen later this year. 

And now onto the end – the end of the life of one of my favourite people here where I live. Peggy was in my book group for a few years and she told the most wonderful stories. She was 87 years old when she died last week and was born in Canada in 1923, moved with her husband and family to a farm in New Zealand in the ‘70’s, I think, and then to our town just seven years ago. You can imagine the stories that she told of raising four children on one wage throughout some tough years. The stories of saving up to buy a chair from the local second-hand shop and walking through the deep snow to get the children to school.

I was at her house yesterday with most of her family and friends to celebrate her life. Peggy was a quiet activist, achiever, book lover and according to her kids “The best Mom in the world”. Yesterday I learned that she had been a cheer leader at school, had met her husband at a local dance and chosen him because he had the best moustache in town and had taken all her kids on the anti Vietnam war rallies. The children, who are now in their forties and fifties, all said that Peggy had made being a mother her career. She knew it was important to instil good morals and ethics and to promote respect. Being a mother she taught her daughters and one son how to be good parents – and they love her for it.

Peggy died quickly and with the names of her children on her lips as she drifted away. She never wanted a big fuss, she was a mother to the end.

RIP Peggy, I’ll miss you and your stories so much.



  1. That is one impressive looking growing area. I'm envious :-)

    I'm sorry to hear about your friend. She sounds like an amazing woman.

  2. Thanks Nevyn - she was an amazing woman. She had actually planned to go out to the "Ladies Lunch" on the Saturday, which she usually attended once every month. She always drove herself there and still lived at home and cared for her 92 year old husband. Unfortunately he will have to remain in the local old folks units as he is too frail to care for himself. And that group of Ladies is not a bunch of "old" ladies - they're all a blast! I can only aspire to be like Peggy, she was one in a million!