Most New Zealanders are getting it – unless you’re an essential services worker stay at home. That does not mean going for a drive to the beach, even if you don’t get out! Take exercise in your neighbourhood and really, why wouldn’t you? It’s so pleasant without traffic. Stay 2m away from anyone not in your ‘bubble’. We often see people we know on our walks and stop and chat – social contact is important – but we all keep that 2m distance. And big thanks to the joggers who move out into the road and give us a 2m berth as we stay on the footpath. Everyone’s smiling!
While we’re being grateful … the neighbourhood is rich with tui song as they return to the big banksia trees along our block, and the dogs are quiet because their owners are home all day. I often wonder if people who own dogs and then leave the house for at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week realise what noise polluters their pets are! (Says someone who always works at home and is surrounded by three barking dogs.)
I’ve spent the first full week of lockdown at my desk. Yes, the Escape! festival in Tauranga due to take place at Queen’s Birthday Weekend has been cancelled but the festival team has been working hard to produce an ‘arts at home’ programme for lockdown – the first step is replaying audio from the 2018 Escape!. If you couldn’t make it now’s the chance to enjoy some stimulating and fun conversations.
There will be regular posts through the week and starting next weekend we’re adding a surprise package in time for Easter starring some local arts supporters. Keep up with the conversations at the Tauranga Arts Festival website (also on social media).
Yes, the garden awaits. The Vege Grower has been planting some seedlings, collecting bean seed for next year, and doing a bit of tidying, all the while still working fulltime from the spare bedroom. Lawnmowing Son has been mowing, trimming and weeding, and he’s working fulltime doing ungodly night-shifts at a supermarket. So I’d better up my game this week!
In fact, it’s probably never been a better time to start a vege garden or a flower garden if you don’t have one already.
Kings Seeds has put a temporary halt on orders to catch up on distribution but will open again (it’s an essential service, as are NZ Post and couriers). In their latest email newsletter owners Gerard and Barbara Martin say that from the end of March every day has been like their busiest day in spring.
Their advice, given the warm days and cooling nights, is to sow beetroot, beets and brassica (Asian greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, pak choi, swede and turnip), chicory/endive, florence fennel, lettuce, mesclun, radish and spinach.
“But don’t be tempted to sow heat lovers any time soon. Beans, cucurbits (cucumber, melon, watermelon, zucchini), chillies, eggplants, peppers and tomatoes have their own special time for sowing and it is definitely not now.”
The Western Bay of Plenty Super Grans organisation has monthly vege planting and gardening advice on their blog. Read it here.
The Go Gardening website has heaps of information for New Zealanders on how to plant a vege garden, how to grow food in containers and small spaces, how to deal with pests, etc.
And Plenty Permaculture has put its Essential Gardening workshops online until further notice, with a discount for tuition. Read more here.