Plenty to plant during winter
• If your compost isn’t breaking down, the heap might not be in the ideal spot. The best place for compost heaps is a warm, sunny space to aid decomposition.
• Slimy compost is often a sign that your heap is out of balance and has too much nitrogen-rich material. The most common culprit is grass clippings which get compacted and become a smelly mess. To combat this, add smaller amounts of clippings or alternate in layers with carbon-rich material such as dry leaves, twigs, straw, cardboard and shredded paper to allow more air to circulate.
• Ensure your garden hose is long enough to reach your compost heap. Too much water isn’t good for compost, but neither is allowing it to become too dry. Dig down a little to check the moisture levels and give a spray with the hose if required. This column is adapted from the weekly e-zine, get growing, from New Zealand Gardener magazine. For gardening advice delivered to your inbox every Friday, sign up for Get Growing at: getgrowing.co.nz person to enjoy these delicious berries all summer. Plant in a sunny spot with free-draining, fertile soil. During winter, crowns can rot if they get too wet so dig in plenty of compost at planting time. If you grow strawberries in pots or berry towers (pictured), an easy option is to plant them into Daltons Strawberry Mix – it has all the nutrients they need. Summer is still a long way off, but if you plant strawberries now, they will be in flower by the middle of August and you should get your first taste around midOctober.