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The Garden

# Early spring can be frustrating for us gardeners. We are keen to get planting but we have to remember how changeable the temperatures can be. Later in the month you can begin to sow seeds of tender plants such as cucumbers, pumpkins, cucumbers and tomato seeds in containers in a greenhouse or somewhere warm and protected from frosts. These can then be planted out mid October, depending on the weather. But don't forget to harden them off before planting out into the elements. Be weary of frosts to avoid disappointment!!!!

# Top up veggie bins with compost and sheep pellets. Dig in cover crops that have been cut down and also add sheep pellets and compost. It will then be ready for planting into in October.

# Continue to prune your roses. Renew the ties on climbers and standards, using soft stretchy cotton strips of fabric. Follow with spray of spraying oil.

# Later in the month fertilise roses with a specific rose food and apply a layer of mulch/ pea hay/ compost.

# Add groups of colour by planting potted colour flowering polyanthus...it won't be long before summer flowering annuals are available. Keep off very wet gardens.

# Keep planting fruit trees, berries, roses, and ornamental trees. Divide runners from strawberry plants and use as new plants or to replace old ones.

# Clean out greenhouses/glasshouses in preparation of new season tomato and cucumber plants. Replace soil if needed as you don't want too plant tomatoes in the same soil as last year. Replace with good quality vegetable mix.

# July is the month to plan what you ,would like to achieve this coming spring .New veggie beds, a specimen tree to provide shade, spruce up the patio, add to the orchard, add to the rose bed. The maintenance jobs are the same as you would have read last year...but they are all well worth doing. 

# Purchase new roses now. Dig a good size hole, make a mound in bottom, spreading roots over it[ cut back any damaged roots]. Add good compost too hole and firm down. Water well. Make sure the budded union is at ground level and not buried. Stake standards at planting and tie well.

# It is hard to believe we are close to the shortest day, but winter will come. It has meant we have had extra time in the garden to do those pre winter jobs, such as cutting down your dahlias, lifting and storing gladioli, remove dead leaves of daylilies, trimming hedges and shrubs. It is much nicer working in the garden without that cold wind and wet muddy ground.

# What a lovely Autumn we have had. Now focusing on what has to be done in the garden before winter hits.

#  Move those frost tender plants that are in containers to a warmer place or organise the frost cloth cover, for example, your kaffir lime or lemon grass.

# Cut back dahlias,  paeonia,  lift gladioli and hang in a dry place.

# Dig kumara and leave on top of soil to dry for a few days. Harvest pumpkins, dunk in a solution of diluted janola, before storing.

# Remove old tomato plants but don't put in the compost as disease can be carried over.

#  Tidy vegetable beds...remove beans, sad lettuce, sweet corn and any plants that have finished producing, make room for new crops. Add generous amounts of sheep pellets and compost.

# Plant celery,  brocoli, pak choy, kale and other brassicas, keeping covered until cooler and no white butterfly about.

#   Sow Broad Bean seeds around Anzac Day. Harvest pumpkins and kumara before they are hit by frost.

#  Plant pansy, primula or polyanthus in pots nad/or hanging baskets. Refresh potting mix with slow release fertiliser or replace top half of pot with new mix.

#  Continue to remove dead heads on dahlias and roses. Autumn flowers are usually smaller but the colour is more intense.

# In March we are busy harvesting, preserving and planting for the winter.

# Sow seeds of parsnips , carrots, swedes, turnips and broad beans . Plant seedlings of spinach, kale, silver beet, bok choy and pak choi. And also cabbage, cauli., and broccoli. Remember to plant a few different vegetables each fortnight, rather than having everything ready to eat at the same time.

#  Sow sweet pea seed for spring flowering. Soak seed overnight in water before sowing.Add sheep pellets, lime and compost to soil before sowing and then watch slugs and snails don't eat them as they germinate.

# Spring flowering bulbs are beginning to appear in garden centres. Be in early for those popular or rare varieties.

# What a great summer....bit harsh for plants and animals though. Remember when watering to give a good soak, rather than a quick shower of water. Mulch with pea hay or compost if you can. Trees and shrubs planted, last winter or spring, need special attention, regular soaks if you can. Avery small hole in the bottom of a plastic container, beside them, can help.

# Carrot and parsnip need to be sown now for the winter. Keep picking beans so they continue to produce flowers . You could get another crop if you sow the seed now.

# Plant leek and brussel sprouts plants, adding lots of compost and sheep pellets and don't allow them to dry out.

# Lift garlic and shallots now. Allow to dry well in a sunny dry place before storing or plaiting.

# This is a typical Hawke’s Bay summer, hot and dry. Water conservation is very important. So if you haven’t mulched, you will remember too early next spring. I find the raised beds for my vegetables, which are great, but they do dry out quickly. So every 2 days give them a good soaking, not a sprinkle with the hose every night and use a good compost prior to replanting.

# Beans will be very plentiful from now on. Keep them well watered and continue picking every couple of days, as this will keep them flowering and cropping. If you have space sow some more seed. Climbing beans up a ring of bamboo stakes is a good idea. Vertical cropping!

#  Protect newly planted seedlings from the wind and the hot sun, using windbreak cloth or shade cloth. Only water in the evening, then the plants has all night to absorb the moisture. Never water during the heat of the day, as you can burn the leaves and give garden a good soaking regularly, rather than a light sprinkle.

#  Keep garden free of weeds and give plants a light dressing of general fertilizer.

# Tie up tomatoes, and remember to take out the laterals if you want nice tidy plants.

# Look at zucchinis daily, so you don’t end up with marrows.

# Potatoes planted in September, or earlier, can be dug and I bet they will be delicious with a little butter and mint sauce {bring to the boil, then turn element down very low]

# Spring has been kind to gardeners so far, long may it last. Continue to plant tomatoes, peppers, kumara, cucumbers and all those vegetables that like it warm.

# Mound up your potatoes. Any potato tubers on the surface will go green and then not edible.

# Sow sweet corn and bean seeds directly into the ground. Watch for slugs and snails on your beans, they love them. Sweet corn produce better if planted in a block.

# Feed tomato plants with a specific fertiliser, high in potash. Also take out laterals and tie plants up a stake, carefully.

# Cover berry fruit with bird netting, as the birds will find them, as they colour up. Keep plants watered and well fed.

# Tie or support new growth on climbing roses, dahlias and delphiniums.

# Plant summer flowering bulbs and tubers. e.g gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias

#  Prune hydrangeas and fuchsia. Continue to apply aluminium sulphate (Blue Hydrangea Enhancer) to base of blue hydrangea to keep them blue and lime if you want pink ones.

# Plant up hanging baskets and pots with petunia and lobelia for quick summer colour.

# Continue to plant early varieties of seed potatoes and mound up as foliage appears. .Pumpkin, cucumber, zucchini seeds can be sown directly into the garden later in the month. Cover with a plastic milk bottle that has had its bottom cut off, protecting it from the elements.

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