July 2013

July is a good
time to...


Prune the last of your fruit trees and roses. Make sure you’ve planted shallots and garlic. Split and replant your perennials. Turn over your compost and add some lime and blood and bone to it. Rake the leaves and spray the lawn for weeds. And remember to deadhead your annuals, like polyanthus and primulas.

Read on for more details...



Burning question

My cauliflower has discoloured and gone yellow instead of white. What’s wrong with it?

At this time of the year I’d say it’s been hit by frost. This cauliflower horse has probably already bolted, but next year remember to fold the leaves over the curd to protect the plant when the weather gets colder. Or, if you have a long-leaf variety, tie the leaves together in the centre.

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.



Climbing up the wall

We’ve showcased in Cultivated News pictures of living walls before. But they’ve always been in corporate buildings or public spaces. In this story from the Guardian, Annie Gatti showcases a house with a living wall. She also offers tips on how to achieve the look yourself.



Getting the most out of your beans

If you planted your broad beans a couple of months ago, like we suggested, they’ll be ready to harvest soon. At the end of the season instead of eating the last beans, take them out of their pots and store them in a container in a dry spot. Next winter, when your kids are ‘bor–ed’ get them to clean out some yoghurt punnets, fill them with potting mix, and press one dry bean into the soil. Do this for each of the beans and in around three weeks they’ll have some of their own broad bean seedlings to transfer to the garden.


Managing the colder times

Just like for many of you, winter can be a tricky time at the nursery. Two years ago, we included a picture in Cultivated News of some of our greenhouses covered in snow. It doesn’t snow very often at the nursery, but it does get cold, which means green and glass houses are essential for growing our seedlings. To make it easier to grow our plants during the colder months, we’ve recently added more land, including 10 green and glass houses, to our current setup. We have a lot of work to do to bring everything up to our high standard but we’re looking forward to the challenge.

Happy Winter gardening
Henri Ham
Awapuni Nurseries




Perpetual spinach – the perfect addition to any vege patch

Perpetual spinach.
It's not perpetual and it's not spinach. So what exactly is this puzzling produce, I hear you ask? Well, let me explain. A member of the beet family, perpetual spinach is actually related to silver beet and also goes by the name “leaf beet”. It does taste similar to real spinach, although it’s milder and slightly bitter.

And while it does keep giving and giving, perpetual spinach does not last forever. It comes to an end, like all good things.

Read on...


Primulas – Tod’s top pick for winter gardens

Even if you manage to get out in the garden during the wild weather we’ve been having, you could be left wondering what to plant, given the weak sunlight. This time of year primulas are a great option, as they cope well without much sun and flower in the winter and spring. Actually, the word primula comes from the Latin “primus” which refers to flowers that are among the first to open in spring.

Primulas are a family of several hundred flowering plants which includes wild flowers, primroses and cowslip. They come in colours such as purple, yellow, red and pink and will add some much needed brightness to your garden in the colder months. Plus, they’re pretty and perfect if you’re after a cottage garden look – try combining them with other plants such as cornflowers, foxgloves and peonies.

Read on...


Not growing any veges this winter?

Fair enough! It’s cold, wet and miserable at the moment. But why not take advantage of your empty vege garden by growing a ‘green manure’? Planting a crop that can be turned back into the soil to provide a natural fertiliser, known as a green manure, will add nitrogen to the soil, increase worm activity and create better growing conditions. Bacteria on the roots of these green manures, like alfafa, lupin and red clover, turn nitrogen gas into forms that other plants can use. Mustard is my pick to plant because it’s quick growing, can be sown any time and is an excellent weed suppressant. Once it’s planted all you have to do is dig it in and turn it over in your soil before it starts to flower.


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

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