This winter has really reminded us we are living in a rainforest. We love the native trees and the birds that rely upon those trees (as well as the exotics like the Taiwanese flowering cherry to which the birds have gleefully adapted) and the trees need the rain, so we have to love the rain. It hasn’t been hard to love the rain as generally the beauty has outstripped the inconvenience, but by this end of winter the mud and the inconvenience of constantly getting wet in the process of doing the simplest tasks is beginning to wear a little thin I have to admit.

On the bright side however, the seedlings I have planted out are standing to attention and looking pretty enthusiastic, probably helped by a good feed of “worm tea” applied in a higher concentration than normal because of the amount of water in the soil, before and after transplanting. Everything in the garden received this feast and everything is looking vigorous. We have learned that this soil needs twice (at least) as much feeding as the soil we have had at lower altitudes. We are not sure why this is, but have some guesses about the surrounding trees and the sheer volume of rain which surely must leach nutrients from the soil.

Last summer we arrived here very late in the season and nothing we planted thrived despite tomatoes and courgettes being planted in pots in anticipation of the shift. The soil looked rich, but the worm count was low for reasons we have not yet ascertained as there appeared to be plenty of organic material in the soil. However, we have observed huge flocks of quail, pairs of pheasants and blackbirds and thrushes and the occasional pukeko (moorhen) in the garden area and that may answer that worm question! This year I have put netting around each garden as I have planted it, so we shall see. The worm count is much higher in the garden we left fallow over winter as the worms would have been protected by weeds.

CJ is in Australia at the moment, welcoming a darling little granddaughter and visiting his son and partner, so I don’t have the camera available, but I shall upload some photos in later posts and welcome any advice or feedback as we progress into Spring.