December 2014

Burning question

I have lots of beautiful flowers in my garden at the moment that I’d like to cut and bring inside to put in vases. What’s the best way to make them last?



Recut the stems and remove excess foliage that will be below the water line; harden the flowers by setting them in warm water in a cool place; use a floral preservative (which provides food to the flowers and prevents bacteria from growing); keep them cool and avoid drafts, hot spots and television sets; avoid placing near ripe fruit as the fruit will ‘ripen’ your flowers; use a clean vase or container; and check the water level daily.

For more tips and recipes for creating your own floral preservative visit here

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.

Lots of lavender fun

At this time of year there's lots of lavender to be found in the garden. We’ve talked before in a past edition of Cultivated News about making soap.

And now we'd like to introduce you to lavender play dough.

The lavender makes the play dough smell lovely and is great for little ones experimenting with nature and textures.



Season's eatings

As we mentioned last month, coleslaw season is upon us. Cabbages are becoming ready to harvest, and plenty of other tasty herbs and veges like fennel, bean sprouts, radish and cucumber are too. In fact, add a whole lot of mint and coriander to that list and you've got a tasty salad right there. And this salad dressing is the perfect addition to drizzle over top.

Plus it makes use of some of your garlic, which, if you planted in winter, is traditionally ready to harvest on the longest day of the year – 21 December.



Lose the laterals

Growing tomatoes? For better and more fruit, try removing the laterals as they develop. 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 branch.

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.

Apply the same formula for working out the laterals on the main trunk to working out which are the laterals on each subsequent branch. Make sense?



Awapuni Nursery Tours

You’ve still got a chance to attend one of the free tours of the nursery this month. We held the first yesterday and we'll be running two more on Wednesday the 10th and 17th of December.

Everyone who attends will receive a free bundle of seedlings, the chance to win more seedlings and of course our regular nursery deals such as $1 potted colour plants, three bundles for $10 and our new Pick & Mix deal (fill a pot with any seedlings for $4). Tours start at 10am.

So if you've ever wanted to see what happens behind the scenes at Awapuni lock one of these dates in your calendar and visit here for more information.

Lastly, there's no need to book but if you're planning on attending it would be great if you could flick Jo an email so we can get an idea of numbers.








Happy festive season

We don't tend to get too hard-hitting with our stories in Cultivated News, but I thought we'd round off the year with something really soft and fluffy – literally. Here’s a pic of one of the chicks that recently hatched at the nursery.

 
We purchased 10 Barred Plymouth Rock eggs off Trademe and put them under the nursery hen. So far we can see two chicks but we don't want to disturb the hen too much by doing further investigation. Hopefully in the next edition we'll have more chicks to tell you about. So, on that happy note, the Awapuni team and I thank you for your support during the past year and wish you a happy and safe festive season.

Henri Ham and at the team at Awapuni Nurseries

P.s Please note if you want to order seedlings from our online shop to arrive before Christmas you need to place your orders by 9am Monday 15th of December. Any orders placed after the 15th of December won’t be delivered until the week beginning 5th of January 2015. Over the Christmas and New Year period our office and the physical shop at the nursery will be open on the 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th of December for the full day and for the morning only on the 24th and 31st of December but, as mentioned above, there won’t be any online deliveries going out during these days.
 

Give the gift that grows

Got a keen gardener or chef in your family? Plants are the gift that keep on giving and are guaranteed to be a hit with any die-hard gardening or cooking fan.

Gift a selection of Awapuni seedlings in advance of Christmas to any green-thumbed friends or relatives.

Alternatively, plant petunias or impatiens in pots for those who like colour around their porches and verandahs. And for those who
 
like to whip up masterpieces in the kitchen, try planting a variety of herbs in a pot or container.

Your local garden centre will have lots of different choices of suitable containers. While you’re there be sure to get some good quality potting mix to ensure you give the seedlings a good head start. And, if you’ve got children – get them to decorate the pots with paint. Old house paint test pots are good for this job.

Lastly, here are a few more items that will make any gardener happy this Christmas: plant-related book; garden-themed jewellery; bird feeder; chimes; bird bath; gloves; gardening shoes; tools like rakes, hoes or loppers; plant tags; a kneeling pad; and a gardening magazine subscription. And if you subscribe to Weekend Gardener before 16 Dec for yourself or as a gift you’ll also go in the draw to win a year’s supply of Awapuni seedlings. Alternatively, leave the list lying around as a hopeful hint for family looking to buy you a gift!



Sweet corn: simply made for kids

I can't think of a vegetable that’s more fun for kids to eat than sweet corn. I have many happy memories of sitting around the table engrossed in a hearty cob or two.

Since I've become a parent, I've discovered it's also a great time-killer for the wee ones – though mine aren't quite so wee any more. Pop them outside with a
 
few cobs left over from last night's dinner and it'll keep them busy long enough for you to get a job or two done (or even enjoy a cuppa if you're lucky).

If you like to put more time and effort into your meal preparation, you can, of course, also turn your corn into fritters, or add it to salads or Mexican dishes. The options are endless.

Sold? Great, because now's the time to get planting. Grab some Awapuni Nurseries sweet corn seedlings next time you're down at your local supermarket, Bunnings, or The Warehouse. Alternatively, head to our online shop and have them delivered direct to your door. For a family of four you’ll need around 20 plants, or two bundles.

Corn likes sunny and free-draining conditions, so make sure you find the right planting spot. It will also need a bit of space to grow.

Once you've found your place, dig a little hole and plant your seedlings about 20cm apart from each other. I like to plant mine in rows or in a group so each plant can support another as they grow taller.

As the corncob starts to form, it’s important to water your plants to ensure they don't dry out. You should be able to get around two cobs off a plant starting in late summer. Not sure if they're ready? Peel back the husk of the cob a little bit and if they look juicy, they’re ripe for the picking. Still look a little hard? Give them some more time.

Read on for more details...
 

Country cosmos

These days, garden design seems to be all about simple foliage and clean lines. As much as I admire the contemporary look, sometimes I prefer a bit of wild flower-like personality in my back yard. That’s where the easy-to-grow cosmos comes in to play.  

Bursting with hot summer colours and growing to around one metre tall, cosmos are no shrinking violets. In fact, I love the way they sway gently in any summer breeze.

These devil-may-care flowers also come with easy growing instructions, thriving in the heat of summer and flourishing almost anywhere, as long as it’s hot, dry and sunny.

I've learned to give my cosmos plenty of admiring glances during the warmer months as, like all annuals, they germinate, flower and die within a season or a year. But don’t fret – they also pop up again each following year.

For me, cosmos look best when grown en masse, creating a sea of country-cottage colour. So, I recommend getting your hands on as many seedlings as you can afford.

All you have to do is pop down to your local supermarket, Bunnings or The Warehouse and grab some Awapuni Nurseries’ cosmos seedlings. Ours are the ones wrapped in newspaper or biodegradable pots (you’ll never see our plants packaged in plastic). Or, if you prefer, head to our online shop and get your seedlings delivered direct to your door.

Read on for more details...
 

Complimentary companions

Recently we asked our facebook friends to tell us what you'd like to see in Cultivated News. Quite a few of you said you'd like to know more about companion plants. So from now on in each edition we're going to try and include a couple of plants that are good to grow now and that grow well with others.

These are 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 keep it pesticide free.

This month's companionable seedlings are radishes and lettuces. Radishes like to be planted next to lettuces because of the lettuce’s ability to control flea beetle. And we couldn't start a companion planting column without mentioning the companion of them all, the marigold. This colourful plant can set up a barrier around your vege garden, in particular your lettuces, against insects and bugs that don't like the smell of marigold. If you have any feedback, experiences or questions about this month's companion plants please do flick us an email. And thanks to all those who came up with the idea for this column.

December is a good time to...

Keep planting gourmet veges (like fancy lettuce, radishes and spinach) and herbs (like basil, coriander and rocket) so you have a continuous supply.

Plant flowering annuals, like red and white petunias and impatiens, for the festive season.

Mulch your herb, vege and flower gardens. Watch out for aphids. Start deadheading your roses. And remember to keep watering your garden and try to do it in the mornings. Lastly, dig up those new potatoes for Christmas lunch or dinner.


Winners

Congratulations to the following Cultivated News subscribers, Sandy from Hamilton, Anne from Napier, Chris from Auckland, Trish from Nelson and Flora from Christchurch who have won Awapuni Nurseries seedlings simply for being subscribed during November.

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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P: 64 6 354-8828 F: 64 6 354-8857 W: www.awapuni.co.nz E: sales@awapuni.co.nz