July 2014

July is
a good time to...


Turn your compost and protect it from rain by covering it. Rake your leaves and spray the lawn for weeds. Plant your shallots and garlic. Prune the last of your roses. Plant fruit trees. Prune and spray existing fruit trees with conquor oil to combat thrips, spider mites, and other pests; and copper to prevent curly leaf. And deadhead your annuals (like polyanthus and primulas) so the don't get mushy in the middle.

Read on for more details...



Burning question

I don't feel like planting winter veges this year. Is there anything I could do to my vege patch while there's nothing in it to get it ready for spring?

Definitely. I recommend planting a cover crop like lucerne or mustard. These plants will help provide a natural fertiliser to your soil by adding nitrogen. Then in around spring time, before the plants flower, simply dig them into your soil. And don't be limited to winter. You can grow cover crops like this at anytime of the year.

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.

Take your pumpkin out of the cold

Here's a hot tip to remove the need to refrigerate or get rid of the seeds from cut pumpkin. When you cut into a pumpkin sprinkle pepper on the cut surfaces and just leave on the bench. Thanks to Lyn, one of our readers, who thought our Cultivated News subscribers might be interested in this tip from the Oily Rag Newsletter.



Cooking with leeks

Stuck for ideas on how to cook or eat your leeks? Here are a few recipes to get you started. Braise your leeks and add as a side dish to a hearty winter meal. Throw them in a risotto or chicken pot pie or combine with potatoes for a tasty soup that can be eaten hot or cold.



Plenty of perennials

Now is the perfect time of year to expand your garden for little more than a bit of work. If you have herbaceous perennials, like hosta, heleborus, iris, and lilies, simply dig them up, split the plants apart and replant them to grow your garden size.




Sweet scheme for small fry

School holidays are upon us once again. While we're always big fans of getting kids out in the garden, we don't blame you if you'd all rather be inside at this time of the year.

So why not try our second favourite activity - cooking. Savoury muffins are a great way for getting some veges into children who aren't typically prone to healthy eating. And for something sweeter, try this delicious lemon muffin recipe.





Smack bang in the middle of winter

We're officially past the halfway mark for the year. It's amazing how quickly the months have gone by. July is often the time of year when your garden gets the least amount of attention but, as Tod says further down in the newsletter, it's surprising how much there can be to do in the garden right about now.  

The picture to the right is of our vege seedlings soaking up the winter sun, which hardens them up and makes stronger plants. As lovely as the day looks in this pic it is still winter, so we have plastic covers at the ready in case of heavy frost, hail or big rains.

Happy gardening
Henri Ham
 

Rockets away!

In our household we tend to eat a lot of warm and hearty meals at this time of year. Typical winter veges like broccoli, cabbage, and silver beet feature high on the menu and we don't have as many salads as we would during summer.

But sometimes a leafy side or main dish is just what you feel like and it's nice to be able to pick something straight from the garden that meets the bill. And this is where one of my favourite salad herbs comes into play – rocket.
 
 
Rocket can be grown all year round and has a mild peppery flavour, which tastes great in a salad, added to pasta or the top of a pizza, in a sandwich and the list goes on. And, what's more, it's incredibly easy to grow and maintain a crop of. In fact, at the end of its life cycle, or if the weather gets too hot, it will probably just self-seed in your garden and establish a new crop of seedlings.

Next time you're down at your local supermarket or Bunnings grab yourself some of Awapuni's rocket seedlings. Alternatively, jump online to the herb section of our website and get some of this half-hardy annual delivered direct to your door. Add a few more bundles so you're ordering six or more and we'll even deliver for free to a non-rural address or for just $4 to a rural residence.

Once you've got your seedlings dig through some compost into the area you plan to plant. Or add some good quality potting mix if you're planning on planting in large containers (approx 25cm or more deep). Then plant each seedling around 20cm apart. Remember to water lightly after you've planted.

At this time of year make sure the area you're growing your rocket in, or the spot you plant to place your pots, gets a good six hours of sun a day. In summer, choose an area that doesn't get hit by the midday sun to avoid sending your plants to seed.

Watch out for snails and remove old or yellowed leaves to help your plants continue to flourish.

Read on for more details...


Several shades of cauliflower

Did you know there are a hundreds of different varieties of cauliflower available around the world? And that white isn't the only colour cauliflower comes in?
 

At Awapuni we grow a 'violet' variety and of course regular white cauliflower. We also stock the lime green looking broccoflower - a hybrid between broccoli and cauliflower.

Both violet and broccoflower tend to have a slightly milder and sweeter taste than the white variety. All three are fantastic sources of vitamin c, folate and fibre and can be used in any recipe that calls for cauliflower.

You can grab your cauliflower or broccoflower seedlings from your local supermarket or Bunnings. Otherwise, check out our online store and get your seedlings delivered direct to your door.

Once you've got your seedlings you need to find somewhere to plant them. Like with the cabbage we recommended growing last month, its important you grow them somewhere you haven't planted any other members of the brassica oleracea species (broccoli, kale etc) recently. This will prevent your plants getting club root – a disease which stops the heads on your brassicas developing fully.

Not that I want to keep harping on, but if you read my last couple of articles on kale and cabbages you might have noticed me make mention of ‘edible landscapes'. If you took my advice and planted your brassicas in a border or pattern, you may also like to consider adding violet cauliflower.

Wherever you decide to grow your seedlings (did I mention edible landscape already?) add some lime to the soil prior to planting. This will also help prevent club root. Then plant each seedling around 35cm apart. This will ensure the seedlings have room to expand and grow.

Because cauliflower can take a long time to mature, during the earlier weeks you can plant other seedlings that grow quicker, like spinach and silverbeet, in the spaces between each seedling. This is a great way of maximising the use of space in your garden. Your fast growing seedlings should be ready in about six weeks – depending on the weather where you are. And your cauliflower plants in around eight to 10 weeks.

Read on for more details...
 

Winners

Congratulations to the following Cultivated News subscribers, Keitha from Otaki, Margaret from Cambridge, Edna and Mandy from Christchurch, Joy from Taupo and Andrea from Tokoroa, who have won Awapuni Nurseries seedlings simply for being subscribed during June.

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

Take your garden to the next level

Given we're pretty much smack bang in the middle of winter, it's actually surprising how much there is that can be done in your garden at this time of year. If you've been thinking about taking your vege garden to the next level (so to speak), now's the perfect time to do it.
 
 
A raised vege garden makes it easier for your plants to grow (because you can fill it with friable, rich soil such as a good quality potting mix, compost and or mulch) and it makes it easier for you to garden (there's less need to dig over like you would with a regular garden bed, and it's higher off the ground so less bending and back-breaking required).

You can use something like old railway sleepers to build your garden higher or try building some planter boxes like the ones pictured. Once you've finished your raised vegetable and herb garden, fill it with quality potting mix, compost and/or mulch – basically any good garden feed you've got. Then replant it with Awapuni seedlings.


A final note - white butterfly

After nearly five months worth of discussion on how to protect against white fly and white butterfly we've decided to leave the final note to Julie from Nelson. This is her "guaranteed method of dealing" with white butterfly. "I put large, ranchslider sized fine net curtaining on the moment I put the seedlings out, being careful to thoroughly inspect said seedlings before planting for any eggs or baby caterpillars. I hold it up with tall stakes topped with small pots to stop holes. And make sure the bottom edges are either buried or held down with stones. I have taken off the curtain I put over my brassicas this year and they are all a joy to behold, heading up nicely with not a hole in sight." Thanks for sharing Julie.
 
 

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

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