November 2015

Amazing asparagus

It’s that time of the year, when years of hard work pays off and lovely lean shoots of asparagus become ready to harvest (or be bought from the store!). So, here’s another 10 best recipes list from The Guardian – this time on what to create with asparagus.

Tank up your tomatoes

Many of you will know the trick to tasty tomatoes is keeping them consistently watered when the weather is dry. However, while it’s important to ensure the plants get water there’s a tricky balance between too little and too much (especially on the leaves) which might create the perfect conditions for diseases and pests. So, that's why we like the look of this approach to growing tomatoes.

Using a bucket, compost and some netting James has created a way of keeping the plants watered easily and staked tidily. We think it looks like such a great idea we’re giving it a crack. The pic below is of our tomato setup.

We'll keep you updated on its progress on Facebook and Instagram.

Stop slugs in their slime

We often get people telling us they have problems with slugs attacking their plants and we always say the same thing – beer bait! It’s easy, organic and effective.

Visit here for instructions on how to make it. All About Slugs have come up with six steps to controlling slugs in your garden that are also well worth a look. According to them irrigating in the morning can reduce slug damage by 80%.

For more tips on creating a slug free zone click here.

Climbing cucumbers

Apple cucumber grows nicely along the ground, short-green grows well in containers, tubs or pots (perfect for those with limited space) but telegraph and Lebanese cucumbers generally like to be staked or grown next to a trellis.

For some ideas on how to best support your climbing cucumbers check out this page from The Gardening Cook.

Majestic monarchs

Monarch butterflies are a lovely addition to any garden. Children love them and observing them is a great way of learning about life cycles. And the best way to attract and feed monarchs is by growing a swan plant. Plant your swan plant in full sun in a corner of the garden.

Once you’ve got some caterpillars try to limit it to 2-3 per plant. Too many caterpillars will eat the whole plant!

For more information on monarch butterflies in New Zealand check out the Monarch Butterfly New Zealand Trust and to get your swan plant seedlings visit our online shop.


Congratulations to Cultivated News subscribers for being subscribed during October: Tanya and Trevor from Papakura, Kaniere School in Hokitika and Ngaire from Wanganui.

Remember, we're giving away seedling bundles to Cultivated News subscribers every month during 2015, so stay subscribed for your chance to win.

Keeping Kapiti beautiful

Phew, Labour weekend has been and gone. As much as we love a public holiday (especially one so focused on gardening), it makes for a pretty busy time at the nursery. On top of getting out everyone’s online orders and plants to our stockists, we’ve also been readying some 30,000 seedlings for the Kapiti Coast District Council to plant in their display beds.  

Kaye, our greenhouse nursery manager, has been overseeing this project and also organised 60 planted hanging baskets for the district. Here's a pic of Kevin unloading the plants for the Council – he was the only one in the team not too shy to have his photo taken! We hope you had a safe and happy Labour weekend and your spring planting is showing some promise. Remember, it's still a great time to plant just about anything your heart desires.

Visit our online shop to see the over 200 varieties of seedlings we have available. We're also excited to announce that we're now stocking paradise planters at Awapuni. While you’re there be sure to check out the other gardening products we now have available online. And keep an eye on our Facebook Page. We're going to give away another paradise planter and Awapuni seedlings during November.

Happy gardening

Henri Ham

Lots of lovely lettuce

If stews, pies and soups make you think of winter. Then surely salads are a symbol of summer. And while there are plenty of vegetables like carrots, beans and beetroot that make great salads, lettuce would have to be my favourite salad ingredient.

Cos lettuce makes a great Caesar salad. Great lakes or iceberg work well combined with cucumber and tomato in a classic lettuce dish. Mesclun, pear and Parmesan create a tasty blend.

The list of lettuces available at Awapuni and the various types of salads you can create goes on!

For those who like to have a range of difference lettuces on hand, try growing our hearting bundle which contains red lettuce, buttercrunch, greatlakes and cos. Otherwise simply select from the eight other types of lettuce (including chinese) we have available.

Order your Awapuni seedlings from our online shop and have them delivered direct to your door. Alternatively, grab a bundle when you’re next at your local supermarket or Bunnings.

Once you’ve got your lettuce plants look for a well-drained and sheltered spot in the garden to grow them. Don’t have much space? Lettuces grow great in pots and can be placed in a spot easily accessible to your kitchen.

Read on for more details

Salvia, a plant for every situation

Every month I write about a particular plant or two. I showcase what gardens the plant suits and mention the particular features of that variety. This month I’ve decided to write about salvia.

But unlike most of the other plants I feature, salvia can’t be narrowed down to just one set of traits or characteristics. The salvia genus includes over 900 species!

It has annuals, biennials, perennials and shrubs. There are dwarf varieties, bedding ones, some that grow up to 3m tall and wide and did you know that sage is in fact a form of salvia?

At Awapuni we sell seven varieties of salvia including both annuals and perennials. We have salvia red dwarf and our mixed salvia bundle which both grow to a height of 25cm. Victory white and patens electric blue both grow to approx 50 and 60cm respectively and the blue bedder which grows to a substantial 90cm high. And the range of colours includes blue and purple, white, and different shades of red.

Most of our salvia plants flower from summer through to autumn and are good for bedding and the back of borders. Because of the erect manner which salvia patens electric blue’s branches grow, it can look incredibly striking grown in a pot over summer. In fact, that’s probably the one consistent with salvia – it tends to look very striking wherever you grow it.

You can grab your salvia seedlings from our online store or next time you’re down at your local supermarket or Bunnings. Luckily, given the several varieties of salvia on offer, each seedling bundle label has clear planting instructions on the back. But generally they like rich, well-drained soil in full sun to light shade. If you’re growing a dwarf variety simply plant 15cm apart and if it’s taller salvia try planting 30-50cm apart.

Then in about eight to 10 weeks you can expect to see some striking salvia colour start to show in your garden.

Lose the laterals

Growing tomatoes? It can be a good idea to pick off the laterals as they develop. Often laterals won’t produce fruit but can produce a lot of leaves. If you pick them off it allows the plant to put all its energy into growing fruit, rather than a whole lot of leaves you don’t need.

If you imagine a tomato plant has a main trunk that grows straight up with branches growing this trunk at roughly 90 degrees, the laterals are the smaller stems that develop at approximately 45 degrees in between the main trunk and stem. Apply the same formula for working out the laterals on the main trunk to working out which are the laterals on each subsequent stem. Make sense?


Complimentary companions

Now is the time of year when it’s good to grow many different varieties of vegetables – including cucumbers. This is good news because cucumbers like to be grown with plenty of different plants. They’re said to grow nicely with beans, corn, peas, sunflowers, lettuces and particularly radishes, which may repel cucumber beetle.  

Some say they don’t like growing next to potatoes but others say they do. We’d love to hear your thoughts on this. To grab some cucumber seedlings head to our online store and for tips on growing cucumbers visit here.

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 cucumber as a companion plant (good or bad) we'd love to hear about it.

Email us here.

Curtail critters with crushed egg shells

Many of you will be aware that crushed eggshells are said to help keep slugs and snails at bay. While not 100% reliable, used in combination with other slug deterrents, crushed eggshells can be used to create a rough and abrasive barrier to slow slugs down and encourage them to go elsewhere (hopefully into your slug beer bait!).  

Lisa from Palmerston North says she keeps a bucket in her hot water cupboard and throws in her dried used eggshells as she goes and by spring she has a bulk supply of shells ready to surround her new seedlings.

Lisa has won a selection of Awapuni seedlings for sending in her tip. Don’t worry if your tip didn’t get selected this month, all tips received (no matter when) will stay in with a chance to win.

Send your gardening related tips to and for terms and conditions on entry visit here.

November is a good time to...

Plant all your favourite herbs and veges. Fennel, basil, tomatoes, courgettes, eggplant, lettuce and capsicums are all plants that grow well at this time of the year. Basically any plant that’s currently in stock on our online shop is good to go in the ground now.

Mulch to suppress weeds and
keep the moisture in the soil. Watch out for birds, aphids and slugs. And sow grass seed to thicken up lawns.

Read More.


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


P: 64 6 354-8828 F: 64 6 354-8857 W: E: