6 months ago

The Star: March 30, 2017

24 Latest Christchurch

24 Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday March 30 2017 Gardening The Star All you need to know about chilling bulbs • By Paul Hoek TO CHILL or not to chill. It’s an age-old question and one I get asked every year in the lead-up to spring bulb planting. So what’s the answer? Yes – you may need to chill your spring flowering bulbs, but only tulips and hyacinths. And it’s only essential if you experience fewer than five frosts a winter. But even if you do get enough natural chilling in winter, fridge chilling can still give benefits – taller stems and earlier flowering. Why you need to chill certain bulbs? Tulips and hyacinths are native to areas which experience quite cold winters and they need this cold period for the bulb to complete the development of the flower bud deep inside. Sure signs you should have chilled your bulbs are if they produced unusually short stems or the bulbs failed to flower at all. Done correctly, chilling your tulips and hyacinths will result in perfect spring flowers. Here are my tips for optimal bulb chilling: 1. Don’t start chilling until late March – too early and you’ll stunt the flower bud development. COLOUR: Tulip ad rem – chilling will complete the development of the flower bud. 2. Use a paper bag. It’s very important the bulbs can breathe and plastic bags cause sweating and rot may develop. 3. Keep the bulbs to the side of the fridge, not at the back where the cooler plate may ice up and damage them, or where condensation may cause mould to develop. 4. Never put bulbs in the freezer! The freezer is too cold and will kill your bulbs. 5. Keep fruit out of the fridge while you’re chilling your bulbs. Ripening fruit releases a gas called ethylene which can cause severe damage to the developing flower bud in the bulb. If you can’t keep fruit out of the fridge, include an ethylene-absorbing sachet (available on our website) in the bag with the bulb. This will prevent ethylene damage and suppress mould growth (they’re actually really good in the vege compartment too, to make your veges keep longer). Once you’ve chilled your bulbs for around eight weeks it’s time to start planting in mid to late May when soil temperatures are cooler. Before you plant, work the soil with a fork to a depth of 25cm. This is deeper than the bulbs need to be planted but will allow their new roots to easily push further into the soil. Then plant your bulbs around 15cm deep – it’s cooler down there. Once planted give your bulbs a light watering. In cooler parts of New Zealand you can plant tulips and hyacinths successfully in pots, but because pots warm up so quickly, even in winter, I don’t recommend them for warmer areas. Apply a bulb fertiliser (available from your local garden centre) once the shoots emerge, water well and you can expect your bulbs to put on a spectacular show come spring. CREATION: Hyacinth purple sensation – will flower perfectly if chilled. Make haste GET STARTED: It’s time to get your winter vegetable garden growing. AUTUMN HAS rolled in bringing shorter days with a definite chill in the air. Leaves will start to turn as we embark on a busy month in the garden. A very ‘fruitful’ time in the garden with late harvest of numerous vegetables such as jerusalem artichokes, beans, beetroot, carrots, corn, cucumber, kumara, leeks, lettuce, onion, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, silverbeet, spinach and tomatoes. If you haven’t prepared your winter vegetable garden now, then get started. Include plenty of compost and a ‘base’ fertiliser of blood and bone. If possible, raise the earth to be planted to ensure winter veges do not become water logged over wet winter months. Winter veges to plant in April include broad beans, carrots, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, onions, peas, radish, spinach, swedes and turnips. In the flower garden, your summer annuals will be winding down. Continue to dead-head plants where you want to prolong displays. Ouruhia ‘The greatest little nursery in town’ SPECIALIST LANDSCAPE NURSERY • 20% off Fruit Trees, Citrus & Berry plants (excludes Persimmons) • Huge Native Sale • Moptops • Topiary from $12.99 HUGE NATIVE SELECTION Plus lots more! On site garden design Cnr Marshland & Turners Road 8.30-5pm • 7 DAYS • Ph 323 8588 Eftpos, credit cards and most garden gift vouchers welcome Mushroom Compost $9 .95 per scoop Forest Floor Mulch $9 .95 per scoop You won’t find a better price in town!! Landscape Lane (off Lunns Rd) P. 348 2915 OPEN 7 DAYS Remember... we are NOT in Parkhouse Road NO GREEN WASTE IN ANY OF OUR COMPOST The magazine for gardeners who like To geT Their hands dirTy 100%

z The Star Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday March 30 2017 25 GARDENING ADVICE with $85 PRIZE PACK! Q A Instead of having a ‘regular’ lawn, I would like to plant native grasses and tussocks. What would you recommend? Today’s winning question came from Sasha Williams. Congratulations! Rather than simply replacing your lawn with native grasses, we would suggest a combination of low growing grasses and native ground covers. This will not only provide interest in your garden, but the ground covers will also help suppress weeds from emerging. The plants listed to the right are suitable for cultivating in the Canterbury district. Grasses and Grass-like Plants: Aciphylla dieffenbachii (spear grass) Aciphylla squarrosa Anemanthele lessoniania Carex comans Carex buchananii Carex fl agellifera Libertia ixioides Libertia peregrinans Ground Covers: Acaena inermis Coprosma acerosa (Te Puna) Coprosma taiko Geranium traversii Fuchsia procumens Gunnera prorepens Mazus radicans Nertera depressa Pimelea prostata Prepare your soil well before planting to ensure your new plants get the best start. To achieve this, incorporate lots of organic matter such as Daltons Compost, which improves the soil quality and help plants develop strong, healthy root systems. You can fi nish with a layer of mulch, or perhaps decorative bark or pebble. There is a wide selection of products available in the Daltons range. For more advice, read our How to Grow Guides at Bulbs are a superb way to add springtime fragrance and colour to your garden after a long winter. Plant different varieties to give variations in height and colour. Always label where the bulbs are in the garden so they are not damaged or accidently dug up when dormant over winter. BE IN TO WIN! Send us your gardening question to be in to win! We have a Daltons Premium Bulb Pack to giveaway. Each pack is valued at $85 and contains: 2 x Daltons Premium Bulb Mix Daltons Premium Bulb Fertiliser Daltons Organic Bio-Fungicide Granules PLUS a pair of comfortable, versatile Red Back gardening gloves from Omni Products ( Email your question and glove size to: Entries must be received by 5 th April 2017 in the garden Soil should be prepared for new plantings in the same fashion as the vegetable garden. Plan your winter flowering garden carefully to achieve longevity of blooms throughout the season. Winter annuals to plant in april include – Alyssum, calendulas, cornflower, cinerarias, lobelia, nemesia, pansies, snapdragons, stock, sweet william and violas. April and May are the main months for planting AUTUMN GARDEN SHOW SATURDAY & SUNDAY 29 & 30 APRIL 10AM-5PM new strawberry plants. Strawberries crop freely on one and sometimes twoyear-old plants, and then they should be removed. Strawberries grow best in fertile soils, and beds should be raised to ensure good drainage. Space new plants 150-200mm apart, on mounds up to 200mm above the existing ground level. Autumn is the time to lift and divide any perennials where overcrowding has occurred. This involves trimming any old growth back to ground level, digging up, dividing and then replanting where required. Not all perennials require this treatment and therefore can remain undisturbed for many years. Replant containers with salad vegetables, herbs or flowering winter annuals and move them into a position that is warmer and sunnier during the winter months. CELEBRATING AUTUMN Vibrant flowers & plants from alpines to bonsai Free Entry Christchurch Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre & Marquee Plant & produce for sale, horticulture discussion, free entry jointly presented by Canterbury Horticultural Society Christchurch Botanic Gardens