February 2013

Pounds of peppers

Got a stack of zucchinis and peppers in your garden but not sure what to do with them? Try this tasty and easy to make relish. Eat it now or store for later use.
February is a good time to...

Continue to mulch and water. Plant celery, leeks, lettuce, basil and spring onions. Prune your oregano if it needs it. Water everything and particularly your courgettes, beans, strawberries and tomatoes. Harvest and cook your fennel.

Read on for more details...
Burning question

Lots of plants in my garden are getting brown tips on the leaves – what’s happening?

Sounds like your garden is drying out – a common problem with plants with a shallow root system like rhododendrons, camellias and natives. Spread mulch out from the stem of the plants to the drip line and water regularly.

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.
Going the distance

Having problems with spoiling onions? Well, according to "27 ways to make your food last longer" you should store your onions in pantyhose and never next to potatoes. We can’t guarantee this list of food saving ideas will work – but it gives you food for thought (excuse the pun!).

Getting our garlic on

Last year, for the first time, we had a crack at growing garlic seedlings. It was a pretty successful attempt, if I do say so myself.

So we decided we’d give it another go this year. We planted garlic in our nursery and then harvested and hung it. Now we’re going to pull the cloves apart and hand plant them in cell trays. We then grow them until they’re big enough to wrap in our recycled newspapers and sell to customers.

In other news, I’ve been busy with my go-kart racing and managed to have a few days holiday with my family.

Happy gardening
Henri Ham


Go corny for cornflowers

I’ll be honest – I’m not a fan of all flowers. I’m not going to name names but some are a bit cheesy or old-fashioned and others are a little hard work.

Cornflowers, however, are a variety I’m quite fond of. In my opinion, they have universal appeal. I know all sorts of different people from different generations who are fans of cornflowers, all for different reasons. They look good and they’re easy to grow. But the main reason I’m a fan of cornflowers is for the wild, non-conforming feel they add to a garden.

This pinky, lavender, blue or white coloured flower grows well next to cosmos because they like the same conditions and they’ll hold each other up. I also like to plant it amongst my lavender, roses or delphiniums for the same reasons.

All you need is a sunny, well-drained spot with soil that isn’t too sour. Before you start planting, I recommend adding a good general fertiliser like nitrophoska blue or blood and bone to help give the seedlings a good kick-start.

Then dig a little hole and plant each seedling around 10cm apart. They’re quite upright growing plants and planting at this space apart will allow them to support the weight of each other. Don’t have much space? They also grow really well in pots. Try planting cornflowers in the centre of your pot and lobelias around the outside.

In around six to eight weeks your non-conforming plants will start to flower and provide a splash of colour for autumn.


Stock up on spinach

There are a few plants I like to always have on hand in my vege garden. I plant them regularly to ensure I’m never caught short. Lettuce is one. Rocket is another. And one other I can’t do without is spinach. We add it to salads, quiches, pies, and lasagnes – just about everything.

Grab some Awapuni Nurseries spinach seedlings from your local supermarket, the Warehouse or Bunnings. Alternatively, head to our online store and get the seedlings delivered to your door.

Like to select your own seedlings for quality? We guarantee you’ll be happy with the seedlings we send you. And, if for any reason you’re not, we’ll replace them – no questions asked.

Once you’ve got your seedlings you need to find a spot to plant them. Spinach likes full sun to partial shade, and soil that is moist and with a ph around 6-7 (similar to conditions you’ve been growing tomatoes in) – if it’s too low add lime. Before you start gardening it pays to mix into the soil some compost or a good general fertiliser like nitrophoska blue. Then simply plant your seedlings around 20cm apart from each other. If you want, you can plant the spinach seedlings in between your brassicas (cauliflower, broccoli etc). The idea is that as you harvest your spinach the brassicas, which take a little longer to grow, start to fill up the space the spinach was in.

Spinach is also pretty tasty to slugs and snails so keep an eye out for these slimy pests or try our foolproof beer bait.

Lastly, remember to stagger your planting (plant more every couple of weeks) if you want a constant supply of spinach. Once it’s ready to harvest, simply pick the leaves off it. The younger, outer leaves will have a slightly gentler flavour compared to the more mature inner leaves, so try experimenting with the taste. Pick the leaves often, even if you’re not eating them. This will ensure the plant doesn’t become overgrown with leaves and inhibit its growth.

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

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