Winter is not time to hang up the gumboots and store the spade – there are still jobs to be done and much to be enjoyed. It’s also a good time to be thinking about next season and working out which crops you may want to grow and harvest.
Winter to do list
- To protect your plants from cold weather, now is a great time to add a layer of Tui Mulch & Feed - about 5cm thick around your plants. Tui Mulch & Feed will protect from the cold, conserve moisture and also add valuable nitrogen back to the soil with the healthy additions natural blood and bone, sheep pellets and mulching straw to replenish nutrients.
- Check your tool cupboard and give them some TLC - sharpening, cleaning, oiling, and replacing anything beyond repair.
- Have a frost cloth or tunnels handy for those cold days and nights.
- Take a look at the Tui range of bird feeders and seed. Natural food sources are scarce for birds during winter so help them out with a regular food source – they will reward you with hours of entertainment. See our Wild Bird Guide for more information.
- Get planning for spring. Think about what crops you may want to grow and harvest, along with flowers you would like to pick!
- Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to all areas of your garden once a month. Seasol is a liquid seaweed extract that contains high levels of naturally occurring growth stimulants and other essential compounds which promote strong root growth, reduce transplant shock, help plants cope with temperature extremes like frost, and strengthen cell walls to give plants better resistance to pests and diseases.
In the vegetable garden
- For root crops, dig over garden beds as all the action happens underground and they require well worked soil. If you have lumps in your soil chances are your carrots won’t grow nice and straight.
- In July it is time to sprout new season seed potatoes ready for planting in August or September. Always choose certified seed potatoes, such as Tui Certified Seed Potatoes, as these are specifically selected to thrive in the home garden and guaranteed to be free of viruses and pests that affect potatoes.
- Plant broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, celery, garlic, kale, mizuna, onions, peas, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, coriander. Dig in Tui Compost and Tui Super Sheep Pellets before planting to replenish nutrients used by previous crops.
- Sowing seeds - in warmer parts of New Zealand use sheltered areas of your garden to sow broccoli, broad beans, cabbage, cauliflower, and peas. Lettuce seeds can be sown too, if you choose hardy winter varieties.
- The shortest day of the year is traditionally garlic planting day, but you can plant through into early spring in some areas. Dig the soil over well and add lots of lovely compost. Plant cloves 5cm deep with the pointy end to the sky. Garlic can be harvested mid-late summer. See our Garlic Growing Guide for more information.
- If frosts are a concern, plant crops into containers that you can move around to catch the midday sun and keep a cloche or growing tunnel handy.
- Don't forget Tui Quash slug & snail control - slugs and snails love juicy vegetable seedlings!
In the fruit garden
- Harvest grapefruit, lemons, kiwifruit, mandarins, tamarillos, oranges.
- Plant - winter is the best time for planting new season deciduous fruit trees. Select the healthiest specimens from your garden centre with straight stems. Prepare and plant into Tui Garden Mix for the best possible start. See our Fruit Tree Growing Guide for more information. Stake newly planted fruit trees.
- Strawberries can be planted in winter - research shows that planting strawberries in New Zealand's winter temperatures will produce a higher yield in summer. The delicate flowers can't handle really frosty conditions so in frost prone areas it is best to protect plants from the elements or wait until a little later to plant.
- Apply layers of Tui Mulch & Feed around fruiting trees and shrubs.
- Maintain vigilant weed control - weeds compete for valuable nutrients.
- Most deciduous fruit trees can be pruned except peaches, plums, and nectarines.
- A copper based spray is the most effective way of controlling leaf curl. Leaf curl overwinters in buds of infected trees. Winter clean up sprays are recommended - use a copper fungicide and oil just after pruning until bud burst in spring at 10-14 day intervals.
- Prune grapes and kiwifruit vines, and prune autumn cropping raspberries back to ground level.
In the flower garden
- Plant calendula, nemesia, pansies, polyanthus, poppy, snapdragon, stock, viola.
- Pick azaleas, camellias, Daphne, gerberas, orchids, polyanthus, protea, stock.
- Winter is the best time to plant new season roses. Garden centres will have the best range available now and as the plants are dormant planting stress is reduced. Check out our Rose Guide for more information.
- It's time to prune your roses, shrubs and any perennials that are looking untidy, or have finished flowering for the season.
- Fertilise garden beds ready for new season's planting by adding compost, sheep pellets and Tui NovaTec fertiliser.
- Deadhead any plants that have finished flower for the season to encourage new foliage and flowers.
- Bring frost tender patio plants into a sheltered position.
- Keep on top of weeding and apply mulch around plants to help suppress weeds.
- Encourage longer blooming of winter flowers by liquid feeding with PowerFeed.