Home' Christchurch Mail : November 1st 2012 Contents 33
CHRISTCHURCH MAIL, NOVEMBER 1, 2012
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Now is time to get sowing
Consider the unusual
This column is adapted from the
e-newsletter Get Growing from New
Zealand Gardener. To subscribe to Get
Growing (it's free), visit the NZ
Gardener website at nzgardener. co.nz,
and click on the Get Growing tab. To
subscribe to NZ Gardener visit
mags4gifts.co.nz or call
0800 MAGS 4 GIFTS.
By LYNDA HALLINAN
FAMILY FRIENDLY: Blueberries are high in anti-oxidants and well worth having in the garden.
BIG BOYS: Courgettes are
good in everything from
stir-fry to raw in salads.
1. Sow courgettes
Courgettes, pumpkins, cucum-
bers, melons and gherkins are all
members of the heat-loving cucur-
bit family. They hate shivering in
cold soil so it is best not to rush
planting them. If the weather is
still chilly in your part of the
country, start them in individual
peat pots or recycled plant pots
indoors or under a cloche.
The seedlings will be ready to
transplant in 14 to 21 days. Space
zucchini about 1m apart so they
have room to grow as well as good
air flow to reduce the risk of pow-
dery mildew problems. Sow a mix
of varieties. Our favourites in-
clude Gold Rush, heirloom Cost-
ata Romanesco and prolific Black
Beauty. Or sow the super cute,
round Eight Ball just for fun.
2. Plant blueberries
Blueberries suit gardens of all
sizes. Unlike raspberries or
boysenberries, which can rapidly
start taking over, the bushes
remain compact and can be used
for low hedges, or planted in large
pots (half wine barrels are ideal).
With the right soil conditions
expect yields of at least 1 to 2kg a
bush within five years -- even
more if you can plant a few variet-
ies for better cross-pollination.
Blueberries prefer slightly
acidic, peaty soils. If you're plant-
ing them in a pot, use your own
blend of potting mix, compost and
peat. Even in garden beds, it is
worth incorporating potting mix
into the hole. Feed blueberries
twice a year with a slow-release
fertiliser -- do this now and again
in summer. You can buy specialist
blueberry food or use any fertiliser
for acid-loving plants (such as rho-
dodendron or camellia fertiliser).
Lightly fork in the fertiliser and
water it in well.
There are three types of blue-
berries. They fruit at different
periods so it's important to plant
varieties of the same type.
3. What to sow now
Keep sowing broad beans, beet-
root, carrots, dwarf and climbing
beans, all types of lettuce, peas,
radishes, silverbeet and spring
onions. Given the chilly start to
spring, it's still a little risky out-
doors for basil, melons, pumpkins,
zucchini and cucumbers -- sow
these in seed pots indoors.
4. Weed, then feed
Don't dig any fertiliser into your
soil until you've cleared it of
weeds, otherwise they'll greedily
gobble all those nutrients and
their growth will rapidly outstrip
young vege seedlings. Lawns
appreciate a boost with nitrogen-
rich fertiliser and fruit trees
should get an annual feed now
too. Combat competing weeds --
especially grasses -- at the base of
fruit trees by laying down card-
board or newspaper and covering
it with mulch or compost.
5. Sow florence fennel and
Both these gourmet veges are
root crops, so should be sown
directly where you want them to
grow. Florence fennel, also known
as bulb fennel (because of its
swollen base), is the easiest of the
two to grow, with the seeds ger-
minating in seven to 10 days.
Space the seeds t 20 to 30cm
apart. When the plants are grow-
ing well, mulch their bases to con-
serve soil moisture and keep them
Florence fennel swells rapidly
and the crisp flesh has a distinc-
tive aniseed flavour. But if the
plants become heat-stressed they
will bolt to seed.
Celeriac, also known as turnip-
rooted celery because its bulbous
flesh looks like a knobbly turnip
but with the flavour and fragrance
of celery, is a long-haul harvest.
Seeds sown now will not result in
a crop till next winter. Sow cel-
eriac in warm soil, 30 to 40cm
apart. It is worth dropping two
seeds into each hole because cel-
eriac is known to be a patchy ger-
minator. Seedlings should emerge
in three to four weeks.
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