April 2016

Readers tips and feedback


Last month we asked what you do with all your produce at this time of the year. Thanks to Nic who said she grates zucchini in place of carrots in muffins and cakes. And also adds zucchini to chocolate cake as it makes it very moist. Nic said she tried the tomato, egg and zucchini bake we linked to and it was ‘really tasty – a nice twist on ratatouille’. Thanks to Elizabeth who emailed and said for an easy, sneaky snack at this time of the year, she loves to stew some tomatoes until they’re quite liquid then drops an egg on top to poach. Sometimes she adds onion, basil or capsicum but just plain tomatoes are yummy. Nic is the winner of this month’s reader tip. We’ll send some Awapuni plants out to you Nic. If you have a good gardening related tip email it to us here. We will choose the best tip from our readers and the sender of the tip will receive a selection of Awapuni seedling bundles. For terms and conditions on entry to the readers recommendation competition please visit here.

Remembering the ANZACs


As ANZAC day is coming up later on in the month we thought it appropriate to share this photo taken by a family member of one of our team at Gallipoli last year during the 2015 Gallipoli commemorations. This is one of the many cemeteries at Gallipoli which are all very-well cared for and planted around with bulbs, rosemary and other small plants.

April is a good
time to...



Harvest apples and feijoas. Try making our tasty feijoa jam which goes really well with blue cheese on crackers. Spray your fruit trees and prune your shrubs. Replant summer annuals with winter ones like geranium, primula, polyanthus, cineraria and pansy. Plant winter vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, leeks, lettuce, silverbeet and spinach. Harvest pumpkins, potatoes and onions, and store in a cool dry place. Rake leaves up and use suitable ones in compost.

Read on for more information.

Complementary companions


We’ve mentioned this tip before, but given it’s time to plant winter veges we thought it best to mention again. Rhubarb leaves are said to inhibit the development of club root in members of the brassica family. So, before you plant your cauliflower, broccoli, kale, cabbage etc, dig in some rhubarb leaves into the soil. We’d love to know if anyone has tried this and whether you think it works.

For more information on companion planting visit here and to learn more about club root click here.

10 brassica vege you should be eating


If you’re not typically a fan of eating vege like broccoli and and cauliflower you should take a look at this list from Huffington Post.

It lists 10 brassica vegetables ‘you should be eating’ including which ones contain which vitamins.


Taking over the tomatoes

Up until two years ago all our tomato plants were grown for us by another nursery. This was because we didn’t have the heated glasshouses required to get the plants going. We now have suitable glass houses at our Newbury nursery and we’ve also got new seeding trays. These are the trays we put the seeds in to germinate. Tomatoes require bigger cells (the space that each seed is planted in) than what we have in our standard trays.  

Each tomato seedling needs to be further apart from the next in order to have enough air circulating, which means less disease problems. But new seeding trays mean we need a new machine.

  It’s not like us to buy new when we can recycle, so our old seeding machine has been brought out of retirement. We’ve been busy trialing the old machine with the new trays – because it’s going to be a long tomato season if we have to sow each seed by hand! I think you’ll be able to tell which picture is of the seeding machine.

And because it makes for a nicer pic, I’ve included a shot of how our plants are going - the ones we’ve planted to take photos of for our labels.

Happy gardening
Henri Ham
 

Time to plant winter vege

The long, hot summer and warm start to autumn means it feels a little odd writing about winter vege just yet. But as the saying goes, good things take time. So if you want to enjoy plenty of vege from your garden when the weather gets cold, you really need to plant now.  

And you can’t get more ‘winter vegetable’ than any of the members of the brassica family. This illustrious family of vegetables includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips and more. And they’re all a good source of fibre and contain a variety of other minerals and vitamins.

You could purchase individual bundles of each variety of plant or try a couple of our different mixed vege offerings like the cabbage, cauli and broccoli bundle. This way you get a couple of each different type of seedling. Then in a few weeks you could plant two more mixed bundles to ensure you have a constant supply of vege on hand for all of winter – rather than everything maturing all at once.

Once you’ve got your seedlings from our online store or your local supermarket, you need to find a spot to plant them. The trick to successful brassica growing is planting in a different spot to where you’ve previously grown brassicas. This will help ensure they don’t get the fungal disease club root.

Then apply a fertiliser which is moisture controlled, such as nirophoska blue, over one that is temperature controlled, like blood and bone.

Next add lime to the soil to stop it going sour when wet and to also help prevent club root. Once your seedlings are planted (around 35-50cm apart), spread some mulch around to retain the moisture.

As your brassica plants will take a long time to mature, during the earlier weeks you could plant other seedlings that mature quickly in the spaces between each brassica seedling. This is known as companion planting.

Beetroot, pak choi and spring onions are all narrow in size and mature within eight to 10 weeks, making them the perfect companion for broccoli.

Also, don’t forget to put out some beer bait to get any hungry slugs and snails.

Read more.



Pretty polyanthus make popular choice

There’s a reason polyanthus is one of our top selling plants year after year. In fact, there are a couple of reasons. Polyanthus is very easy to plant and grows just about anywhere – as long as there’s some sun.

But we think the secret behind it’s popularity, comes down to the fantastic, bright colours it comes in – particularly at a time like winter when there isn’t so much colour in the garden.
 

This pretty and popular plant come in a range of hues like pink, blue and red and looks great in hanging baskets or borders.

I like to grow polyanthus in pots so I can move the colour around my courtyard and garden depending on how I feel. They also look good planted around potted citrus trees.

Get your Awapuni Nurseries polyanthus seedlings from your local supermarket, Bunnings or The Warehouse. Alternatively, jump online and get them delivered direct to your door.

Read more.

 

Reused wonder

If we’ve managed to convinced you that paradise planters are the way forward for hanging planters, you might have some old wire hanging baskets lying around. As you’ll probably know by now, we’re huge fans of recycling and re-using wherever we can.

So of course when we spotted this clever way of re-purposing some old wire hanging baskets we liked it straight away.

Click here to find out how to make your own fairy light globe and visit our website to check out paradise planters.


 

Burning question

How can I avoid getting club root on my brassicas like cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli?

Club root is a fungal infection of the roots of brassicas (like cabbage, cauliflower, swede, broccoli etc) that leads to swollen and distorted roots.

Above ground affected plants might look like their growth is stunted, have purplish foliage and wilt in hot weather.

Ultimately, if your plants get club root you they may die or be un-harvestable. So it’s a good idea to try and avoid it! The first thing you need to do is rotate your crops. So, try not to plant your brassicas in the same spot you planted them last time.

Next, before you plant them dress the soil with some lime to sweeten it. And, once you've harvested your brassicas plant mustard seeds in the soil (while you rotate your crops).

Once 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.

Lastly, make sure the seeds or seedlings you plant are high quality. At Awapuni Nurseries, we only use high quality seeds to grow our seedlings.

This means our plants are more disease resistant than your average seeds or seedlings - so less likely to succumb to club root.

Click here to email Tod your burning question today.

 

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

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