Spring’s steady work­load


they had a chance to sprout. And this year has been even wet­ter, so I’m glad I waited, but now time is run­ning out if I’m go­ing to get a de­cent crop to dig by Christ­mas.

If, like me, you’re run­ning late, stick to the va­ri­eties ‘Rocket’ and ‘Swift’. These are among the fastest of the waxy early spuds, tak­ing 70–90 days from plant­ing to pro­duce tu­bers.

Both va­ri­eties are vig­or­ous and gen­er­ous pro­duc­ers. Don’t wait for them to flower, as they of­ten don’t. To judge their readi­ness, just fos­sick un­der a plant af­ter 70 days to feel for their size.

For the quick­est potato crop, don’t bury them deep. In­stead, mound up the soil in rows run­ning north to south (so the soil is warmed all day by the sun) and slip your seed pota­toes into the mid­dle of the mound. Once they’re up, feed with sheep pel­lets, chook ma­nure or gen­eral gar­den fer­tiliser and wa­ter it in well. 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 mulch, fallen leaves or win­ter de­bris, so they don’t hit any ma­jor ob­struc­tions as they emerge.

If you keep chooks, grow­ing your own chives is a must, as no omelette or egg may­on­naise sand­wich is the same with­out them.

Chives – both the tra­di­tional slender va­ri­ety and its broad-leafed gar­licflavoured sib­ling – are easy to grow in moist soil in a sunny spot. Give them a help­ing hand with liq­uid fer­tiliser early in the sea­son.

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