April 2012

Cotton-sock animals

In an informal test Sunday Star-Times asked 21 eight and nine-year-olds where cotton-socks came from. Every child believed they came from an animal. We think this just shows how beneficial gardening (and eating the rewards) with your kids can be. Read on for the full and amusing – yet scary – article.

Burning question...

Which veges do I need to rotate?

Rotating is when you plant your seedlings in a different spot to where they were planted the previous season. The only plants you really need to rotate are your brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli etc), tomatoes and potatoes. Nearly everything else can be planted in the same spot every year. Read on to find out why these plants need to be rotated.

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.


April is a
good time to…


Mulch, move pots, compost and plant some winter veges and annuals. Pull out any summer annuals, dig over the soil and replant with winter annuals like primulas, polyanthus, pansies and cinerarias. If you get your winter annuals in now while the soil is warm they’ll get growing quickly and continue growing right over winter.

If your soil gets wet and soggy during winter, add some lime, and if it’s quite free draining but hard, add some gypsum to break it up. Give the soil an extra boost by adding some compost. Want to make your own? Click here to find out how. Then throw in some winter veges such as broccoli, silverbeet, leeks and celery.

Read on for more details.

Did you know?

Brussels sprouts, along with cauliflower and broccoli, are part of the brassica genus? Did you know brassicas contain fibre, vitamin C, folate and a chemical believed to have anticancer properties? But be careful, boiling these veges reduces the level of anticancer properties. Try steaming, microwaving or stir-frying instead.

Getting stuck into it

Some of you might remember in winter last year I managed to get the tractor stuck in the mud at the nursery. This means that paddock is out of action so we’ve moved our seedlings to a new paddock. Just like you need to rotate your vege crops, we need to move our seedlings around too. We’re really pleased with the results – very strong healthy plants – and no stuck tractors so far!

Thank you to everyone who entered last month’s competition. We received loads of entries and great feedback on which sections of the newsletter you enjoy. Tod’s burning questions and what to do this month were strong favourites! Congratulations to Stepanka from Helensville who was our lucky winner of six seedling bundles.

Sadly, during March we called an end to our newsletter for school and kindy teachers – Gardening Gazette. We still think people are interested in learning about gardening with kids so we’re going to try and include more on this topic in this newsletter. If you were subscribed to Gardening Gazette we’ve added you to the Cultivated News database. As always, if you’d like to unsubscribe simply click the link at the bottom of this newsletter.

Thanks again for all your great feedback.
Happy gardening

Henri Ham
Awapuni Nurseries


Super strong seedlings

New to buying seedlings? Here’s Henri’s top tip for what to look for to ensure you get the best plants.

Look for individual root systems

The stronger your seedlings’ roots are, the more likely they are to grow well.

Not sure how to tell if the seedlings your buying have individual root systems? Any seedlings packaged in plastic containers with little dividers will have their own root systems. Watch out for the ones with a whole lot of seedlings tangled together in one pot – their roots will break when you pull them out, which means not many will grow well. Because we only use recycled newspaper and biodegradable packaging, our containers don’t have dividers. But we guarantee all our seedlings have strong, healthy, INDIVIDUAL root systems – see the picture for proof.

As a final check – when you pull the seedlings out of their packaging you won’t need to break apart the plants if they have their own root systems – they will already be separated.


Pump up the colour this winter

This is just my personal opinion, but, when compared to the remaining three seasons, winter can be a bit dull – colour wise.

In summer the light is bright, spring is full of vibrant colours, and autumn brings spectacular golden and burnt orange colours.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. There are plenty of annuals, which love cooler, shadier conditions and will provide the colour your garden is missing over winter.

Primulas, polyanthus, pansies, antirrhinums and wallflowers are just a few. But if you’re looking for a colourful plant that really packs a punch, then look no further than cineraria.

Read More


Bringing brussels back

That’s right, I’m bringing brussels back – brussels sprouts that is.

Brussels sprouts have long been given a bad rap. They’re the butt of many a joke. But I think most people who say they don’t like them probably haven’t even tried these mini-cabbages.

And I would argue the reason for all this sprout hatred is largely due to over-cooking. There’s no doubting brussels sprouts smell terrible when they’ve been boiled to within an inch of their life.

Click here to read more.


Yes you can!

Got some spare soft drink cans lying around? Try making these recycled can flowers. Great for keeping the kids entertained and, if you nail them to a stake, they should keep birds away from your produce. Check out this crafty blog for step-by-step instructions.

Henri and Paul Ham, Awapuni Nurseries Ltd
Pioneer Highway PO Box 7075 Palmerston North 4443 NEW ZEALAND

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