April 2019

From the nursery

Preparing your garlic - The year is going by really fast. The official word re planting garlic is that you should wait until the shortest day to plant them, and harvest on the longest day. I believe that you should plant the garlic about a month earlier; this gives them a good chance to get started before the super cold days of winter arrive. We will start planting our garlic that we sell as plants in the middle of May. Last year we dropped the ball a little and didn’t pay enough attention to our garlic. When it’s growing in spring it needs to have a regular boost of nutrients - we didn’t feed our plants quite enough and some of them struggled. This has resulted in a lower than normal harvest. This season we will be watering any time it gets a bit dry and fertilising monthly. Click here and press notify me when available if you are keen on some plants.

Happy gardening,
Henri Ham

Biodegradable labels

You may have seen our big news - our labels are biodegradable again. We converted to plastic labels a few years ago, because we could no longer find paper that withstood the watering our plants require. Ever since then we’ve been trialling different paper stocks to find one that will. And we’ve finally done it!

We still have a lot of the old plastic labels to use up first, but some of our seedling bundles already have the biodegradable labels on them. Look for the small biodegradable sign on the back. You can rip the biodegradable labels up and bury them in your garden or add them to your compost. For other tips on things to compost around the home, click here


NB: To make the labels ‘waterproof’ they have a clay-based coating. This means they will take a little longer than newspaper to biodegrade (around six months or in just a couple of weeks if you have slugs and snails as they seem to like the taste!). And if you’re ordering online and don’t want to receive any plastic labels, you should still request no labels. We’ll let you know when the labels are all biodegradable.


Harvesting and storing kūmara

We know you guys love kūmara – our planting video we posted in November was viewed over 6000 times! Which means there’s got to be a lot of kūmara about to be harvested right now. But how do you know when it’s ready to harvest? Well, kūmara take around four months to grow. By then, the plants should have yellowed off (this may not happen if you live up north), and the tubers should have firm skins. Then ‘tickle’ the kūmara, which means putting your hand in the ground to gently see if the kūmara are ready.

Harvest very gently - broken kūmara won’t store well. It helps to feel the plant with your hands under the soil, to ensure they don’t break.

If you want to store the kūmara for a while, you need to ‘cure’ them. Once harvested, they like a warm humid home for at least a week - around 25-30 °C. To increase the humidity, put them in a box covered with a blanket or perforated plastic. The holes keep the air circulating, so they don’t go mouldy. You’ll know they are cured when the skin is looking cleaner, drier and harder. Then store them in a dark place, at around 14 °C. Wrapping your kūmara individually in newspaper or brown paper bags will also help extend their life.

Order your spring bulbs today!

The perfect time to plant spring flowering bulbs (like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths) is mid-April to mid-May, which means now is the perfect time to order. And the place to order your bulbs from is NZ Bulbs. This family-owned company is based just down the road from us in Feilding and have been growing and selling high-quality bulbs to Kiwi gardeners for 62 years now. So it’s fair to say they know bulbs! They have an extensive range of tulips, daffodils, corcuses and hyacinths. Plus loads of lovely freesias, ranunculus, Dutch irises and more. They’ve also got a special offer for Awapuni customers. If you use the code Awapuni when ordering your spring flowering bulbs, NZ Bulbs will deliver your order for FREE. Visit their smart, new website and shop online today.

**GIVEAWAY** We’ve got our hands on a twin pack of Irene Parrot and Alibi tulip bulbs from NZ Bulbs (25 of each in the pack) that we’re giving away to one lucky gardener. To enter the competition to win, click here


Burning question

Last year I chilled my tulip and hyacinth bulbs in the fridge and then planted them in the garden. Do I need to dig them up and re-chill them this year? If you live in a warmer area and chilled them before planting the first time, it is probably a good idea to lift them and repeat that for subsequent years.

Ideally, you will have harvested them during December/January and left them in an airy place for some weeks until you start chilling them now.

However, if you didn’t lift your bulbs and they’re still in the ground, it’s best to leave them there now. Areas that have had rain may have caused roots to start already and we don't want to disturb that. In December/January you can lift them and follow the above instructions. For more info on chilling bulbs go here

Paul Hoek, NZ Bulbs NZ Bulbs
  Photo credit: thisNZlife
Image by I Heart Naptime  

Fundraise with us

Awapuni Nurseries fundraising is a simple and easy way for your kindergarten/school or charity to raise money in a healthy way! HOW IT WORKS: Your organisation will be given a unique fundraising code to share with friends and family. Over a two week period your organisation will encourage supporters to make a purchase from the Awapuni Nurseries online shop and enter the unique code. Your supporters will pay the same price all our customers do, but by entering the unique code we will know to give 20% of that sale (excluding delivery fees) to your fundraising group. Each order will be sent to the individual who made the order (just like with our regular customers) within our normal delivery timeframes.

At the end of the fundraising period we will tally up the orders that have your unique code and will send you a report and deposit 20% of those sales into your nominated bank account. Easy! For more info check out our FAQ’s, or email Mel here to get started.

Baking with beetroot

There’s no doubt – beetroot is versatile, whether it’s sliced in your burger, roasted in winter vege salads or grated into a slaw. But beetroot isn’t just for your main course – check out this epic chocolate and beetroot cake from Jaime Oliver. Baking with beetroot adds moisture to your dish without needing excess oil or butter. Beetroot also adds sweetness and a beautifully rich colour, not to mention all the antioxidants and vitamins.


If you’re wanting a variation on cake, beetroots in brownie, beetroot cookies or even choc-beetroot pudding all look delicious. And make sure you check out this month’s article below, for more info on how to grow beetroot, and other red-hot tips.


Beetroot relaunched

I have distinct memories of eating beetroot as a child. To approach with caution - there was the constant reminder that “beetroot will stain” (gasp), making it seem way more effort than it was worth.

Fast-forward 40 (ish) years, I now put beetroot as a must-have kiwi vege. And gone are the days of only ever seeing it in a can too. Beetroot’s been relaunched as a super-food celebrated for its antioxidants and vitamins, not to mention delicious versatility in recipes.

Read more


Giant pansies

Easter is on the horizon, and this year it also marks the middle of autumn. Although I still feel like I’m only just farewelling summer, it’s nice to be able to slacken off from my watering programme, and think about my winter garden.

Luckily the end of warmer weather doesn’t also mean the end of bright colourful flowers in the garden. Now’s the perfect time to inject new bursts of colour – and the easiest way is to plant some pansies.


Now is a good time to…

Harvest pumpkins, squash and kumara. Really any leftover-from-summer veges can be harvested now corn, capsicums, cabbages and chillies. If you’ve suddenly got a chilli overload, remember they freeze really well.

Get started on your winter garden. Pull out any remaining summer vege that are looking past their best. If you’ve still got some green tomatoes on your plants, you can hang the stalks upside down inside to ripen them.

Use this time to dig over your vege beds before adding in your winter vege seedlings. Dig in some compost, and if you’re keen on food scrap vege trenches, now is the time to make these. If you ever have fish skeletons, bury them in your garden now too.

Read more


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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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