June 2015

The best of Brussels



Hopefully towards the end of this month your Brussels sprouts will be ready to harvest. When they're about the size of a golf ball you can pick them straight off the plant – leaving the stem to grow more. And then you might need some cooking inspiration. Forget about boiling, try steaming and frying or check out this list of delicious looking Brussels sprouts recipes from the Guardian.

Burning question

When do I prune my feijoa tree and how do I it?



The best time to prune your feijoa tree is after it’s finished fruiting. Just don’t leave it too long after it's stopped fruiting so there is still time for it to produce fruiting branches. In regards to pruning, feijoa trees are pretty tough and can handle a good cut back. Just prune it to where you like the look. I prune the feijoa tree at the nursery with a chainsaw and just cut it right back! It bounces back every year.

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.

Finishing with feijoas

Thanks to everyone who wrote in with their feijoa questions, tips and recipes last month. Jill emailed us a couple of great looking recipes for feijoa jam and cordial which we’ve posted on our Facebook page. And Jen said she gathers up all her excess fruit and puts it in the compost heap. Worms absolutely love them and you’ll end up with a heap writhing with worms.

Bring in the birds

Keen to bring in more birds to your garden?

Try making one of these fat balls from Garden Objects.

Check out this link for a step-by-step guide on how to make one. And if you’ve got tips on how to attract more birds (particularly native ones) to the garden – please send us an email and we’ll share in the next edition of Cultivated News.



Pretty up your pots



Now’s a great time to add some colour to your home and garden by growing winter flowers in your pots.

Pansies, poppies, lobelia, cineraria, viola and polyanthus will all add almost instant colour. You could pick your favourite and plant or try growing one of our pots and tub mixes which makes the decision on what to plant easy.

It’s jammed full of nine or more seasonal flower seedlings perfect for growing in containers. And, for tips on how to plant out your pots check out Tod's guide here.


Nursery vs wild

The weather up and down the country was crazy and wild last month. We hope your homes and gardens managed to weather the storms without too much damage.

We've seen our own share of wild at the nursery lately. Not the weather kind but the insect variety. Our Newbury nursery presented us with tiger slugs in 2013 and now it's producing giant crickets.

 
Here is a pic of the biggest cricket I have ever seen in my life. We've had to encourage them to go elsewhere for dinner after we found them feeding on our tiny seedlings. Do you get crickets like these at your place? And if so, how do you get rid of them?

Happy gardening

Henri Ham
 

Onions in all shapes and sizes

How many savoury recipes can you think of that don’t call for onions? Stir fries, casseroles, quiches, pasta sauces – let's face it; they all taste better with this very natural flavour enhancer.

And while the round, brown-skinned variety may be the first thing that springs to mind, don't forget onions come in a range of forms that include the spring onion, red spring onion, red onion and pearl drop.
 

Because they’re such a kitchen staple, in my mind it makes sense to have one or more of these plants flourishing in your garden at home. To get started, simply pop down to your local supermarket, The Warehouse or Bunnings and pick up some of our Traditional Value onion seedlings. Or head to our online store and get them delivered direct to your door.

I bet the traditionalists among you will go for the Pukekohe longkeeper with its brown skin and white flesh. This variety is known for its resistance to bolting, and ability to be stored for a long time. Our longkeeper does best in soil that’s friable – by that I mean soil that goes crumbly when you touch it. To start growing, dig a hole about 3cm deep and plant your first seedling. Plant each subsequent seedling 10cm away from its neighbour in rows that are about 20cm apart. If you’re a spinach fan, try popping this in between the rows as it makes a great companion plant. Keep aphids at bay and your Pukekohe longkeepers will be ready to harvest in 20 to 24 weeks (yes, patience is a virtue when it comes to these babies!).

Read on for more details...


Cut and dried

If you read my newsletters regularly, you’ll know I’m a fan of the slightly wild, country cottage look. In fact, in recent editions I’ve sung the praises of delphiniums, hollyhock and cosmos. Well, here’s another to add to the list: statice.

 
Growing to a height of 60 to 80cm, the statice plant produces flowers in white, lavender and pink that have a delicate, almost hazy appearance. Not only does this willowy variety look great grown along borders, its flowers make a nice addition to fresh bouquets, and are popularly used in dried flower arrangements (or so I’m told).

So, if you’re keen to get creative with flowers, simply pop down to your local supermarket, The Warehouse or Bunnings and pick up some statice seedlings. Or, better still, head to our online store and get them delivered direct to your door.

When deciding where to plant, look for a very dry and sunny spot. I find the side of the house is usually a winner. Dig a hole about 3cm deep and plant your first seedling. Do the same for subsequent seedlings, spacing each one around 40cm apart.

Flowering from summer until autumn, you’ll soon be enjoying some wildflower wow-factor at your place.

If you are keen for a bit of dried flower arranging, cut your statice with a 30 to 40cm stem, hang it upside down in a dark room with good air circulation, and wait seven to 10 days for your flowers to dry. Kept out direct sunlight, the colours will remain vibrant for years. Or so I’m told.
 

Complimentary companions

Other than perhaps marigolds, garlic would have to be one of the top must-have companion plants to have in any garden. And now is the perfect time to get it in the ground. Traditionally planted on the shortest day of the year, some of you may have it in already and, if not, you have until about the end of July to plant.

 
For tips on how to grow garlic visit here. Plant it next to your roses to ward off aphids, beneath apple and peach trees to prevent apple scab and leaf-curl and next to your tomatoes to protect against red spider. Crush a few cloves, soak in a litre of water for a couple of days and use it as a spray to keep at bay ants, spiders, caterpillars and cabbage and tomato worms too.

Remember, these are companion planting tips and methods we've picked up along the way or heard of from other gardeners. We're not promising they'll work 100% but they’re worth a shot in any garden – particularly if you’re trying to promote natural growth and keep it pesticide free.

For more information on companion planting visit here. And if you've had any experience with garlic as a companion plant (good or bad) we'd love to hear about it. Email us here.

 

June is a good time to...

Plant garlic and shallots. Divide and remove the runners from your strawberry patch. Cut all the leaves off your winter roses (heleborus). Watch out for slugs on your winter crops.

Prune and tidy up your roses.
 
Fertilise your soil and plant native
trees before the soil gets too wet and boggy during winter. Lastly, cut down your asparagus fern, compost it, tidy the beds and weed.

Read more...


Winners

Congratulations to the following Cultivated News subscribers, Fran and Mark from Auckland, Lynne from Palmerston North, Trish from Amberley, Christine from Wellington and Penny from Hamilton who have won Awapuni Nurseries seedlings simply for being subscribed during May.

Remember, we're giving away seedling bundles to Cultivated News subscribers every month until the end of 2015, so stay subscribed for your chance to win and remember to check your inbox in case you’re one of our lucky winners.



 

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

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