August 2014

Burning question

I'd like to plant a couple of fruit trees and some native trees in my section. When's a good time to do this?

Now. The soil is still moist so it's perfect for planting trees. Plus, if you get them in before the end of winter/start of spring they will be ready to kick into action when the soil warms up.

World's longest leek...

A few years ago Bryan from Hamilton sent us a photo of what he claimed was a contender for the world's longest leek. Well, Bryan has recently decided to (tongue in cheek) reclaim this title and sent this photo as proof.

Here's a pic of him and his fully-grown Awapuni leek. Has anyone else got a contender for the world's longest leek or world's largest vegetable of any kind? If you do, we'd love to see a pic. Thanks for sharing Bryan!

Plant now for Christmas spuds

Mashed potato, crispy wedges, potato salad, new potatoes covered in butter - whatever your potato preference, now's the time to plant this versatile vegetable. For a step-by-step guide from our gardening guru, Tod - click here.

Did you know?

Beet is high in vitamins A, C, E and K? It's also a great source of dietary fibre and folate.

Pizza fantastic

Did you plant rocket last month like we recommended? If you did you might be interested in this appetising pizza recipe.

We've included the steps for the pizza dough, the tomato paste and some tips for toppings (e.g. rocket!). Got kids? Get them involved in the preparation. Haven't got any rocket? It's not too late – rocket can be planted all year round.

Plus we've included plenty of other ideas for toppings anyway.

Not too late for garlic

As many of you will know, the traditional time to plant garlic is on the shortest day of the year - 21 June. And then, conveniently, you simply harvest on (or around) the longest day of the year - 21 December. How's yours growing so far? If you haven’t got your garlic in yet, it’s not too late.  

We've still got a few seedlings available at our online store

At the nursery, we're already working on next year's garlic seedlings. This pic is of the garlic we're growing to produce seeds for the 2015 crop of plants. And, if garlic isn't your thing but you're still keen to do some planting during August, delphiniums, Canterbury bells, rainbow beet and Christmas lilies can all be planted now. Check out 'August is a good time to...' below for more ideas on what to do in the garden during the countdown to spring.

Happy gardening
Henri Ham

Perfect peony poppies

In the past I’ve extolled the virtues of both Iceland and Shirley poppies. Both are easy to grow and great for brightening up your garden and then your home as cut flowers. Well, now let me introduce you to the peony poppy.

Much like other poppies, the peony variety enjoys sunny, well-drained and dry conditions and grows to around 70cm high, but unlike the Shirley and Iceland poppies it has multiple fluffy flowering layers of petals.
The peony bundle sold at Awapuni has at least nine seedlings, which are a mix of different colours including varying shades of pink, red and cream.

You can grab a bundle of peony (or any of our other poppy varieties such as Iceland, Shirley, ANZAC, oriental and champagne bubbles) seedlings next time you’re down at your local supermarket or Bunnings. Alternatively, head to our online store and have your seedlings delivered from our online store direct to your door.

As I said above, look for a sunny, warm and well-drained spot in your garden to plant your new seedlings. Garden beds next to the house are the perfect planting spot because of the cover and protection the house provides.

Once you've found the right spot simply dig a little hole and plant. It pays to water them once they are planted, as this will help them get started. But after that they shouldn't require much watering. If you do think they need a drink be careful not to overhead water as they don’t take kindly to it and can get squashed by wind or rain.

In around just six to eight weeks you can expect a fantastic injection of layered colour in your garden. Remember, to de-head the flowers when they die, and they will keep flowering longer.

Eventually the plants will seed down and go dormant for winter. At this point, I'd recommend replanting the area with winter annuals like pansies. However, if you just leave the garden bed as it is, the poppies should re-grow next spring. But the colours may not be as bright as what you planted originally.

Silver Beet – the perfect filler

In my opinion silver beet is the ultimate filler. It's ideal for filling up tummies by bulking out dishes like stews, quiches or lasagnes.

It’s the perfect plant for filling empty pots or tight spots in your garden, such as in between slower growing veges like cauliflower and broccoli. And it's full of vitamins. If there were a prize for the ultimate filler, silverbeet would beat out the competition.

If I haven’t confused you too much and you’re still keen to plant this easy to grow vegetable, you can get your seedlings from your local supermarket or Bunnings. Or order them online without even having to leave your home.

When you've got your seedlings look for a well-drained spot to grow them and mix in some compost. If your soil is a little sluggish mound it up before you plant.

As I said before, silver beet grows well in pots so don't feel restricted to your garden. And, for that matter, don't even feel restricted to silver beet. Coloured beet looks great in pots and is particularly suited to them because it likes full sun and is not quite as frost hardy as regular silver beet. Just remember to use a good quality potting mix to ensure your seedlings get a good kick-start.

If you've recently planted seedlings such as broccoli or cabbage, which take a while to mature, try growing your silverbeet in between the rows. Your beet won’t impinge on your existing plants because it will grow up rather than out and will be ready to harvest earlier.

Once you've found the perfect spot to plant, simply dig a little hole and place the seedling inside and then plant each one around 20cm apart.

Depending on the condition of your soil your silver beet will be ready to harvest in around eight to 12 weeks. If your soil is well composted and free draining you'll be looking at more like eight weeks.

Lastly, watch out for snails and keep them away with some quash or our tried and true beer bait.

August is a good time to...

Dig over your garden and add some NPK fertiliser and a bit of mulch. Plant new brassicas (broccoli, kale, cauliflower etc) for summer harvesting and new season potatoes, yams and kumaras for enjoying around Christmas time.  
Plant lettuce, peas, broad beans, silver beet and new season rhubarb. Finish off rose pruning. Grow fruit trees. Towards the end of the month, when the weather begins warming up, start to plant carrots, radish and beetroot. And brighten up your flowerbeds with pansy, viola, stock, delphinium and lobelia seedlings.

Read on for more details...


Congratulations to the following Cultivated News subscribers, Sheena from Wairoa, Gaylene from Morrinsville, and John, Lynda and Karen from Auckland who have won Awapuni Nurseries seedlings simply for being subscribed during July.

Remember, we're giving away seedling bundles to Cultivated News subscribers every month during 2014, so stay subscribed for your chance to win.


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: