Jamo Bristow | Musician and music teacher
Piha| West Auckland| February 2014
“If you can grow it then you should grow it!” ....more words below images
Our garden is located on Auckland’s west coast. Its north-facing and exposed on the top of Piha hill. We have four raised beds each about 1.5m x 1.5m, a slightly larger 3m bed and a glass house. Soil tends to be fairly dry – probably thanks to the kauri trees that surround much of our garden. We have been growing veggies here for around 6 years now. Every night, when I am home after work, I spend about half an hour watering the garden and I try to get out there whenever I have time on days off and at weekends. My parents and my neighbor are my two main influences. We have chats over the garden fence and share seedlings, tools and tips.
I garden mostly on my own and sometimes with my girlfriend. We are fairly lucky with things like globe artichokes, cucumbers, rocket, beetroot, kale, spinach, courgette, white sage and weeds!! Garlic was a big disappointment this year as well as tomatoes - for some reason they always seem to take for ever here. My mum’s toms are usually totally finished by the time I have my first red tomato.
I’m currently looking after three hens and a rooster called Stevie and am about to inherit a bee hive from my awesome neighbor - I’m very excited about it all!
Its not peachy in my plot - I get these tiny spiders in the glass house and they wrap up all the flowers of my chilli plant which stops it from fruiting. I find them and squash the little buggers but it takes a while to kill them all.
The biggest chore is definitely watering because we are on tank supply and every summer we seem to be experiencing droughts. I collect water from anywhere I can to keep the plants alive, I catch the grey water from the washing machine and fill buckets from in town and the river down the hill. I get quite jealous watching friends in town hosing their gardens of an evening. My favourite and most useful tool is my thousand litre water tank.
I love my garden because it’s mine, I know what’s been sprayed on it (nothing) and I get great pleasure from eating something that I grew that’s healthy and tasty.
Summer, for sure, is my favourite season, I love basil, tomatoes and courgettes and all the summer fruit too avocadoes, nectarines – yum!
My garden gives me heaps of satisfaction. I reckon if you have the opportunity to garden then you should take it - If you can grow it then you should grow it!
My highest gardening moment so far is being interviewed by POD – it actually makes me feel like a bit of a pro!
The most important thing for me - and the tip I’d offer anyone - is to feed your plants. I used to think all you had to do is just put them in the ground and away they’d go. But after years of average harvests I now know they need food - liquid seaweed, comfrey, fish stew blood and bone and worm wee.