Parched gar­dens have had a lit­tle re­lief lately, but the change of sea­son means it’s time to get busy with win­ter crops.

Element - - CONTENTS -

What a glo­ri­ous sum­mer we have had with many days on the trot of hot, sunny and set­tled weather. Your tan may be look­ing good but your gar­den could be feel­ing a lit­tle worse for wear and could be look­ing for­ward to more mois­ture and shade! Au­tumn may be ap­proach­ing but the hot, dry and set­tled weather con­tin­ues.


Right now rock mel­ons, av­o­ca­dos, new sea­son ap­ples, peaches, apri­cots, cu­cum­bers, cour­gettes, egg­plants, cap­sicums, beans, chillies and new sea­son pota­toes are all in abun­dance.


I’m sport­ing a gar­dener’s sun­tan, are you? It is that strip of tanned skin on your lower back which gets burnt as you are head down and bot­tom up in the gar­den and your t shirt rides up to ex­pose a strip of skin on your lower back. Not very at­trac­tive ad­mit­tedly but a badge of hon­our among gar­den­ers per­haps?

This month is the time to keep on top of pests and dis­eases. The hot weather and abun­dant growth makes your gar­den a sit­ter for aerial and ground at­tracts from all sorts of creepy crawlies. Per­haps the most pro­lific at this time of year is the cab­bage white but­ter­fly. The best de­fence for this cul­prit is very fine netting over your bras­sica crops or regular spray­ing with an or­ganic spray called Bacil­lus thuringien­sis (BT). This is a nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring bac­te­ria which just tar­gets cater­pil­lars. It is cer­ti­fied BioGro or­ganic but – as with all sprays – be care­ful when ap­ply­ing and only spray when nec­es­sary and on calm days.

Start to get your win­ter crops in the soil. I know it feels too early but if you plant some now they will get off to a stel­lar start and you can be en­joy­ing fresh bras­si­cas or broad beans be­fore any­one else.

If you live in a very warm frost-free area you could still sneak in one more crop of French beans but sow now to en­sure they pro­duce be­fore win­ter frosts de­stroy the plants.

Sow th­ese seeds now; car­rot, parsnip, let­tuce, Brussels sprouts, spring onion. Plant th­ese seedlings; cel­ery, broc­coli, cab­bage, cau­li­flower and sil­ver beet.


Now is the time to get busy with your prun­ing saw on any stone fruit in your gar­den. If you have peach, apri­cot and plums which have any dead, bro­ken, dis­eased or tan­gled wood re­move this now. Some­times once a fruit tree has pro­duced its fruit it has a spurt of lush leafy growth. This new growth rarely fruits well and is best cut out now. Prun­ing now helps to pro­duce fruit­ing spurs, which will bear fruit next sum­mer.


When you open a hive com­monly you will not just see bees. Cock­roaches, ants, spi­ders, moths and even, rarely, a mouse could greet you. Be­cause of this it is im­por­tant that if you take up bee­keep­ing you are not squea­mish in re­gards to in­sects.

In the height of sum­mer a healthy bee­hive can have any­where up­wards of 60,000 bees. At the head is the Queen. She is the mother of all in the hive. A queen can live up to four years. When she is born she leaves the hive on mat­ing flights to mate with male bees from other hives. She then re­turns and stays for the re­main­der of her life in­side the hive, in dark­ness, hav­ing all her needs met by the worker bees. The queen can lay up to 1000 eggs each day.

The drone is the male bee. They are large with big eyes. They do not have a stinger. Their job in life is to spread the ge­net­ics of the queen to other queens in the area. In a hive which al­lows the bees to build their own nat­u­ral comb, a healthy hive will be made up of around 15% drones.

Work­ers are ster­ile fe­male bees. They make up the ma­jor­ity of the hive. Dur­ing their short life, of­ten only six weeks in sum­mer, they have a de­fined, and a chang­ing, set of roles. Roles in­clude house­keep­ing, heat­ing, nurse and for­ager bees. In its life a sin­gle bee will pro­duce around 2mls of honey.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.