Spring 2020

From the nursery

At the nursery we do a lot of reusing and repurposing. Last spring we bought a stack of surplus concrete reinforcing mesh and utilized it together with a bunch of plastic milk crates that were given to us, to make benching for our crop of native seedlings. The combination was very successful, producing super healthy native plants. One of the results of using the reinforcing mesh was that the underside of the seedling trays was open to the air and that stopped the plants roots growing through the tray, the benefit being that when we harvested the plants there was no damage done to the roots getting them out of the trays. The demand for native seedlings has increased, so we're building more of this awesome benching this season. Here's a 30s clip of our native seedlings getting ready to be sent out.

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Happy gardening,
Henri Ham

Spring salads

Typically, Spring marks the busiest season of the year at the nursery. While this year has been anything but typical, it’s hard to imagine kiwi gardeners not wanting to get out in their gardens in the coming months. If you’re not sure where to start, I often point people towards a few lettuces. Even for the novice gardener, they’re simple to grow, quick to produce and take up relatively little room. 

I like to keep lettuces in my garden all year long, but from August I try to plant a few more seedlings every few weeks, to ensure I’ve always got a constant supply of greens in my kitchen. You can grab your seedlings from the Awapuni Nurseries online shop and have them delivered direct to your door. We guarantee satisfaction and if you’re not completely happy with your order we’ll replace them.

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Swan plants

I remember as a child being fascinated with monarch butterflies. Spotting brightly striped yellow and black caterpillars chomp through our swan plants, and then magically turn into amazing monarch butterflies, seemed to consume a lot of our time.

January is peak monarch season, and if you wanting to grow substantial swan plants to entice some monarchs to, you should be thinking about planting your swan plants now. You can grab your swan plant seedlings, (and more established plants) from Awapuni Nurseries online shop and have them delivered direct to your door.

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Cauliflower soup

Cauliflowers can be so satisfying to grow. But if you’re like me (who didn’t stagger my planting) and are suddenly inundated with caulis – try making cauliflower soup. It’s hearty, tasty, and super easy to make. First chop up a cauliflower (including the stalk) and boil for 4 mins. In a separate pan sauté an onion. Drain a cup of water off the cauliflower, dissolve a large tsp chicken stock, tsp of cumin and salt n pepper. Once all are slightly cooled, blend until smooth, and then return to a pot to simmer for 10 mins. Add more water if needed. Plate up and top with your favourite fresh herbs - delish! For variations, try adding curry powder or swapping to beef stock.


Spring planting

Your planting options right now are endless. I always look forward to getting my tomatoes, basil and zucchini in (especially when zucchini have been in the news for costing $21/Kg lately!). Zucchini (pictured) like to have around a square meter per plant, to really spread out. If you’re short on space, they also grow well in pots, and even being staked to grow vertically.

It’s also time to get your potatoes planted if you’re after home grown spuds for Christmas. The nursery stocks four varieties of Tui seed potatoes, each with different tastes and growing times. And thinking Christmas, how about having a well-known NZ Christmas tree this year; a Pohutukawa tree? Our Pohutukawa are currently about 10cm tall, so you’ll be able to plant them in a pretty pot for a few months, before planting out. Click here to be notified when they’re available.


New tomatoes this season

Brandy wine pink tomatoes are new to the nursery this season. They’re an heirloom (meaning older generation seed, so often tastier) tomato, producing pink fruit, with green shoulders.

They can grow very large – from 350 – 700gm each. Brandy wine pink slices are meaty and solid, and slightly prone to cracking, perfect for relish and sauce! The plants will grow to around 150cm high, and require solid staking given the size of the fruit.

For other tomato varieties click here and remember to use the ‘notify me when available’ button, to find out when they are ready.

Also coming soon to the nursery is Griselinia broadway mint, as an established plant. Griselinia is a kiwi favourite for hedging, with a shiny green leaf. It’s fast growing and easily clipped into shapes, reaching 3 - 4m high, if allowed


Cottage garden appeal

Wanting a pretty but more relaxed ‘whimsical’ flower garden? To grow your cottage garden for summer, now is the time to be planting sweet peas, dahlias, poppies, carnations and viscaria (to name a few!) The trick is to space them far enough away from each other to ensure they have room to grow but not too far apart as to create a 'gappy' look. To make it easier, Awapuni also have a cottage garden flower category and even a Cottage garden seasonal flower mix.

Remember herbs and veges (kale, rainbow beets and lettuce) can also suit many cottage gardens types. Keep in mind, we often typically harvest these before they flower, and many herbs do have beautiful flowers too.


September is the time to…

I don’t know about you, but it feels like spring set in earlier than normal this year. Here are some ideas for tidying up your garden this month:

  • Weed your garden and flower beds
  • Start prepping your tomato beds
  • Clean up hanging baskets
  • Dig in organic matter throughout your soil 
  • Prep your strawberry patch

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Water conservation

While it’s our fellow gardeners in the Auckland region who have been on water restrictions for most of winter, conserving water is something that we can be mindful of. Watercare have some great water saving tips here. For quick wins you can keep a timer in the shower, set your washing machine and dishwasher on ‘eco’, and check for leaks, especially the cistern of your toilet.

Spring is a good time to think about how you can conserve water for your summer garden. Catch your dirty laundry water – depending on what detergent you use; you could be able to repurpose this outdoors. But catching rainwater is still your best bet for saving bulk water. Here are some tips from Smarter Homes, on how to install a barrel or tank to collect your rainwater. It includes a useful guide to work out what size you’d need, depending on where you live, and what sized garden you have.


What’s on around NZ...

Starting north, the Auckland Horticultural Council is hosting the Spring flower show, Western Springs, September 12th. At the end of Oct, the 33rd Taranaki Gardening Festival – showcasing 40 gardens and various events scheduled over 10 days. Daffodil Days is on in Carterton, Sept 13th.

Down south - Lincoln’s Envirotown workshop ‘Don’t treat your soil like dirt’ – is on Sept 5th. And in Alexandra the Blossom festival is on 25th – 27th Sept. Please check all these events prior, for latest Covid-19 updates.

All over NZ, September is Bee Awareness Month. Attract bees by planting bee friendly flowers, especially blues, white and yellow. The nursery also has its own Bee mix, a mix of seasonal plants that will help bring bees to your garden.


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Awapuni Nurseries Ltd, Pioneer Highway,
PO Box 7075, Palmerston North 4443, NEW ZEALAND
Phone: 64 6 354-8828 Fax: 64 6 354-8857

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