10 months ago

Selwyn Times: May 31, 2016

30 Tuesday

30 Tuesday May 31 2016 SELWYN TIMES Gardening Keep veges growing to protect beds Use winter for routine maintenance Transplant seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli for a continuous supply over winter. Although the weather has cooled, there are still a few tasks to be done in the garden this month. Here are some tips to get you started. • Vege gardens – The winter vege garden should be well established by now and most of your seedlings should already be planted. Continue to sow broad beans and transplant seedlings of cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and silverbeet for a continuous supply over winter. Sow green manure crops such as lupin and mustard in the parts of the vege garden that will be empty during the winter months. This will add nutrients into the soil and protect beds over winter. • Strawberries – It’s the traditional time of the year for final preparation and planting of strawberry plants. Areas to be planted should be mounded 80-100cm above existing ground level. Incorporate large amounts of compost into the strawberry bed. New plants or offsets from last year’s plants should be planted 15-20cm apart. • Fruit trees – Pip and stone fruit will have shed their leaves and pruning can now begin. We do this as early possible with pip and stone fruit to avoid the infection of silver leaf. Remove all weak and inward growing branches and reduce the height of trees to allow for easy picking and maintenance. After pruning, spray with a copper compound to help prevent any re-infection of fungal diseases. • Hedges – It’s an ideal time for a final tidy up and hedge trims. But remember, there will be no new growth until spring, so final trims should not be too vigorous so the plants don’t stay bare looking. • Roses – It is possibly a little too early for pruning, and it does depend largely on the weather. In the meantime, apply a copper spray to prevent infection of fungal diseases in spring. Remove all dead leaves around Below: Fruit tree pruning can now begin. the base of the rose bushes and apply compost as both a soil conditioner and mulch. • Lawns – Grass growth has now ceased due to the cooler weather. It is an excellent time to level lawns with a roller as the moist soil makes levelling quite easily. • Paths and walkways – Paths around the house and through the garden can become very slippery during the winter months; water blasting can quickly remedy this problem. In winter months, we mainly utilise paths especially when there are boggy parts in the garden or lawn. For this reason, you may wish to consider additional paths to provide easier access. • Container gardens – Brighten up decks and entrances with containers full of blooming winter annuals such as cinerarias, pansies, primulas, snapdragons and violas. Finally, check local garden centres for newly arrived winter stock of trees and shrubs as June is a very safe time for planting. gardening without guesswork Last year I put in garlic cloves but they did not expand into multiple Question: cloves except for one which made only small cloves. The other cloves changed shape becoming symmetrical but stayed small. I grew them in garden mix, but did not add anything other than compost. What has gone wrong and what should I do this time round to grow garlic successfully? Answer: Thanks to Jenny for her question. What a great question! You could try and start your garlic in our Patio Plus Potting Mix in small pots, and then transplant the growing plants into the garden in August. Garlic needs plenty of fertiliser at planting so garden mix wouldn’t have enough nutrients for the garlic’s liking. Patio Plus potting mix is ideal as it is packed with nutrition. A side dressing of Nitrophoska in November will help to keep sustain growth also. Garlic needs a long growing season and may be planted from May to August. The bulbs should be planted about 2x the size of the bulb deep and 25mm to 30mm apart to allow the plants to develop good size bulbs. Garlic does not cope well with competing with weeds, so make sure that if you see weeds pop up, you remove them straight away. The plants should not be lifted until the tops have fallen over and show signs of drying off (this may appear as the leaf colour goes from a bright green to a grey green colour) so do not be in too much of a hurry to lift the plants unless the weather goes very cold and wet. The idea that you plant on the shortest day and harvest on the longest day is only a guide, and we have found from experience that the time to harvest is usually a lot later than that (as late as mid to late January). Hopefully this helps! for more information, check out our website: or visit our facebook page: QualITy prOducTs frOm ThE WEB TO ThE shEd! WIN! a $50 INTEllIgrO gIfT VOuchEr! Quick recap Send us your question and BE IN - Plant in Patio Plus in pots to start - Transfer to the garden in August - Keep weed-free - Side dress with Nitrophoska in November - Don’t lift too soon, wait for the signs TO WIN! Email to: or post your question on our Facebook page: Questions must be received by Thursday 7th June.

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