January 2015

Tasty tater tots



These zucchini and tater tots look delicious and are a healthy snack for any house hold. Visit She Likes Food for the simple recipe.

Get more variety

They say variety is the spice of life. And when it comes to herbs I couldn’t agree more. If I need to add to my herb garden I always grab an Awapuni mixed herb bundle. This way I get one each of several types of herbs, rather than several seedlings of one type of herb. Make sense?

For example, I’m quite a fan of the Awapuni mixed bundle, which includes parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. (See if you can say that out loud without wanting to sing. Hint: are you going to Scarborough Fair).

One seedling for each of these herbs is a good fit with our family. We’re able to keep the plants under control and stop them going to seed simply by picking the leaves as we need them. And it also means we can ensure a steady supply, particularly of herbs like parsley, by staggering our planting. That means every few weeks or couple of months we plant another parsley seedling from another mixed bundle.

If you’re starting up a herb garden this is a great selection to begin with. But if you’re after a different mix check out our online store. We have seven different varieties of mixed herbs available – depending on the season

Read on for more details...



Bigger, better leeks



A couple of years ago Bryan, one of our customers, shared his top tips for growing leeks. Given now’s a great time to get this staple vege in your garden we thought we’d share his advice again. And this pic of Bryan with one of his leeks surely shows why we think he’s qualified to advise!

Visit here for Bryan’s top tips for growing bigger and better leeks. And if you’ve got any other tips to add, we’d love to hear from you.

Burning question

My cucumbers often end up with powdery mildew, what can I do to avoid this happening this year?



The perfect conditions for powdery mildew are warm, limited air circulation and moisture. Often there’s not a lot you can do about the temperature or air circulation (other than thin out unnecessary leaves) but you can minimise moisture.

Water the base of the plant and soak the soil rather than watering over top of the plant. And make sure you do this in the morning so it can dry off during the day. If you do get mildew cut off the worst affected leaves and spray the rest with a mixture of 1tsp per litre of water and a squirt of detergent. And don’t spray on a hot sunny day so that it doesn’t burn the leaves when the sun hits it.

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.

Remember with rosemary



Did you also know that rosemary is known as the herb of remembrance and symbolises loyalty and friendship?

While New Zealanders usually wear poppies for ANZAC and other remembrance days, Australians will wear sprigs of rosemary. With this in mind, a potted plant of rosemary could be a special gift for someone who has lost a loved one.



Happy New Year

I hope you and your friends and families had a fun and festive break over the last week or so. Here at the nursery we’re getting straight back into things. Seedlings are being dug up and wrapped up and sent out to all our stockists and customers. And our regular avian guests, the swallows, are back in residence in our packing shed.

 
This is the third year in a row they’ve used this nest. As you’re probably aware from the pics of chooks, cats, dogs, ducks and more that we’ve posted over the years, we’re quite into having the old furred or feathered friend around the nursery. It’s really beautiful to watch the parent swallows flying around getting food for their babies. And soon we’ll see the baby swallows themselves learn to fly.

Happy gardening

Henri Ham
 

Win a planter box and seedlings!

We’re very excited to partner with urbanmac to give away a 1m x1m x 280mm kitset macrocarpa raised garden and six Awapuni Nurseries herb and vege seedling bundles to one lucky winner.

This is the perfect size for a space-challenged gardener and fits in a fair selection of crops (the vegetable kind!).
 

Urbanmac raised garden boxes are delivered in a flatpack. An easy to assemble kitset you simply slot each side into the corner posts, and use the screws provided to secure.

Holes are pre-drilled for easy assembly, even for a DIY rookie. Proudly made in New Zealand from sustainably sourced, plantation grown and untreated macrocarpa. They use 30mm thick dressed timber, oh so smooth and very sturdy.

To be in with a chance to win this fantastic prize visit our facebook page before 8 January.


Add some sweetness to your life

Sweet peas would have to be one of my favourite plants to have in the garden. They are super simple to grow. They smell fantastic – if you plant the scented variety. They look amazing. And they make great cut flowers. In my opinion, you really can’t go wrong by planting sweet peas.

This lovely addition to your garden can be grown from seeds. But I prefer to plant seedlings.
 

Getting seeds to flowering stage can be a bit hit and miss. When you purchase Awapuni Nurseries seedlings all the hard work of getting the seeds to germinate and grow into established seedlings has already been taken care of. This means they’re pretty much guaranteed to grow, and they’ll develop faster – resulting in earlier flowers.

At Awapuni we sell three varieties of sweet peas. The dwarf mixed variety produces plants that grow to about 30-40cm and is perfect for growing in borders, bedding and pots. The fragrant beauty variety has a fantastic fragrance, grows to around 120-180cm and climbs or trails well on walls or trellises. And while all three varieties make great cut flowers, our specific cut flower mixed variety also grows to a height of around 120-180cm and produces extra good blooms perfect for taking inside and placing in a vase.

Grab your sweet pea seedlings from your local supermarket, The Warehouse or Bunnings. Alternatively, if you’re one of the many Kiwis who prefers to buy online these days, simply head to www.awapuni.co.nz and get your plants delivered direct to your door.

Next you need to find a place to plant. As mentioned, sweet peas grow well in pots – particularly the dwarf variety which don’t require staking and will cascade over the edge nicely. The other two varieties will also grow well in large pots. You’ll just need to tie four or five bamboo stakes into a tee-pee shape to support the plants as they grow. And make sure you plant them in some good quality potting mix to really help them along their way.

Read on for more details...
 

Complimentary companions

Parsley and thyme are both fantastic plants to have in the garden for their ability to attract bees. Simply plant enough of these handy herbs so that you can let some of it go to flower and bring in the bees. Grow them near anything that requires extra help with pollination, like zucchini and cucumbers.

 
And plant your parsley near tomatoes, roses, asparagus and anything else that tends to get hit by aphids – apparently aphids don’t like it.

Remember, these are companion planting 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 promote natural growth and keep it pesticide free.

For more information on companion planting visit here. And if you’ve had any experience with parsley and thyme as companion plants (good or bad) we’d love to hear about it.

 

Keep it cool with kale

It might not be hipster trendy anymore and is apparently a little bit 2014, but we still think kale is pretty cool. And, like other members of the brassica family, a great plant to have in your garden.

It tastes good fried or baked as chips, is a nice addition to salads and stir-fries and, if you’re not in love with the taste, is a must for pumping in some nutritional goodness to smoothies.
 

Before you get planting make sure you’re growing your Awapuni seedlings somewhere different to where you last grew any other members of the brassica family to prevent your plants getting club root. At Awapuni we use high quality seeds to grow our seedlings, which means our plants are more disease resistant that your average seeds or seedlings, but it always pays to be careful to ensure your hard work doesn’t go to waste. Next, before you plant them dress the soil with some lime to sweeten it.

Then, once you’ve got your bed ready, plant each seedling around 15cm apart. Growing them quite close together in clumps, as opposed to rows, can create a quite nice visual affect. Which reminds me, don’t feel restricted to planting your kale, or any other vegetables for that matter, just in your vege garden. Try growing them, alongside rainbow beet, calendulas and any edible plants you find attractive, the length of paths or in patterns as you would with flowers. As always, there are plenty of great ideas on the internet if you try searching the words ‘edible landscape’.

In around six to 10 weeks your kale should be ready to harvest. Simply pick the individual leaves as you need them.

Lastly, to help prevent club root for next year, once you've harvested your brassicas, plant mustard seeds in the soil (while you rotate your crops). When the mustard has matured to around 10cm (when the leaves are soft), dig it into the soil. This will help get rid of any club root in the soil.


Winners

Congratulations to our last Cultivated News subscriber winners for 2015; Amanda from Morrinsville, Phoebe from Auckland, Linda from Oakura, Bridget from Tawa and Jenny from Rangiora. They have all won Awapuni Nurseries seedlings for being subscribed during December.



January is a good time to...

Keep watering regularly – particularly fruity plants like tomatoes and strawberries. This will ensure they ripen faster and become juicy.

Make sure your garden is mulched to protect the soil from heat and allow it to better retain water.
 

While you’re doing all this watering remember to try and avoid over-head watering and do it in the morning or evening when the outside temp is cooler. This will allow the water to soak into the soil and not dry out as quickly. Lastly, don’t forget to deadhead flowers, cut back roses, mulch and keep planting!

Read on for more details...

 

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