The fresh­est of fresh sal­ads – so easy

Manukau Courier - - GARDENING - BARBARA SMITH

Pick­ing leaves daily makes more room and if nec­es­sary some seedling can be thinned out. Plant a new con­tainer in two to three weeks ready to har­vest when the first one is fin­ished. blooms.

Plant 15cm apart and 8-10cm deep in a sunny place with good drainage. In flower bor­ders, blooms make a big­ger im­pact planted in groups among other plants rather than lined up in a row. How­ever, gladioli are ex­cel­lent cut flow­ers so can be grown in rows in a cut­ting gar­den or even the vege patch.

Tall va­ri­eties may need stak­ing – ei­ther a stake per corm or a frame­work of stakes and string for a groups of plants to grow through. Keep evenly wa­tered so the soil is just moist. Un­even wa­ter­ing can lead to bent spikes as the plants go through pe­ri­ods of slower and faster growth. Mulch to re­tain mois­ture and cut down on weeds. Don’t use an­i­mal ma­nure or high ni­tro­gen fer­tiliser.

For cut flow­ers, se­lect stems which have only a cou­ple of flo­rets at the bot­tom start­ing to open. Cut the stem with­out crush­ing so it can take up wa­ter in the vase. Leave be­hind the fo­liage which will nour­ish the corm for next year’s flow­ers. Place cut stems in luke­warm wa­ter to pre­vent wilt­ing.

Sap-suck­ing thrips can be a nui­sance in hot, dry weather es­pe­cially on plants stressed by lack of wa­ter. A blue sticky trap smeared with pe­tro­leum jelly will trap some but if num­bers get out of con­trol spray­ing might be needed.

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