Here comes the sun! As the soil temperatures heat up and days get longer, the garden is like a magnet that draws you outside, in some cases from dawn until dusk.
Take control now, to avoid that overwhelming feeling of things getting on top of you, when weeds loom, crops go to seed and lawns get tatty.
In the veggie garden:
What to sow:
Seeds are so much fun and exceptionally economical to grow. Sow carrots, beetroot, parsnips, radish, spinach, lettuce, rocket and salad greens now. In cool areas sow early crops of Brussels sprouts. Carrots and parsnips need to be sown directly into the soil as they don’t readily transplant. Sow all the others in Tui Seed Raising Mix in trays, or in friable garden beds.
What to plant:
Keep planting cucumbers, gherkins, melons, pumpkins, tomatoes, herbs, lettuces, celery, spinach, and silver beet. Seek out a copy of the Tui NZ Vegetable Garden, it’s in all the shops and is packed full of information and tasty recipes for over 70 common and more exotic vegetables and herbs.
What to pick:
Broad beans will be in full swing, note the pods are certainly more palatable when picked young. Harvest lettuces, hand pick salad and micro greens, celery, spring onions, spinach, silver beet and cavolo nero. Early tomatoes will be starting to ripen, apply Tui Tomato Food around the root zone to give them a boost. Berries will be ripening by the day, the trick is to keep the birds at bay; Christmas tinsel works a treat and adds a festive feel to your garden. Early potatoes will be ready to harvest, as will carrots and radish.
Top harvest tip: Try to only harvest what you can use in one meal; the crops always keep better in the garden than in the fridge.
What to Preserve:
Beans, carrots, radish, courgettes and spring onions can all be used in pickles and relishes. Rhubarb is in plentiful supply, try making roast rhubarb chutney, this makes a tasty home made Christmas gift or thank you present for someone who may be watering your garden over the holiday period.
It’s simple, it’s all about the roots. Keep them watered, moist and your garden weed free. Add Tui Vegetable Food or other specialised feeds to give crops a boost to enhance harvesting capacity. Add more layers of Tui Mulch & Feed or Tui Pea Straw Mulch to veggie beds, this will keep weeds at bay and help the soil retain moisture if you are away for a week or more.
Blend in Saturaid to enable the soil to hold onto more moisture; dry, dusty soil equals poor crop results. Bugs enjoy your crops as much as you do, when they appear zap them with Tui Eco-Pest, an organic, safe insect spray that quickly sends them packing and allows you to eat crops knowing that no chemicals have been used. Lay Quash Slug and Snail bait to deal with these slime balls!
Remove and dispose – of any diseased plant material. Don’t be tempted to compost this unless your compost really heats up enough to kill the diseases and spores.
In other areas of your garden:
To keep it fresh and green, water deeply once a week, sprinkle Saturaid over light soils and add Tui Lawn Fertiliser if you haven’t already done so. Lift the height of mower blades too, this helps the lawn conserve moisture and look fresher for longer.
Dead head the first flush of flowers now and in six weeks time you will be rewarded with another flurry of blooms. It’s a good point to remember if you are planning a special occasion and want your roses in bloom. Add a layer of Debco Rose Compost around the root zone, not hard up against the stem and water deeply once a week in dry periods.
Water the soil not the plants and avoid watering in the hottest part of the day, the water can scorch the leaves.
Clean out the garden shed and spoil yourself with a few new Joseph Bentley tools, you will find after a few sessions in the garden they become your go to tools.
And lastly a message from the bees – do us a favour and plant more flowers please, we are starving. Feed us and we will feed you with honey and pollinate your plants.
By Rachel Vogan