Oc­to­ber top & flop CROPS

Lynda’s reg­u­lar round-up of the best & worst seasonal per­form­ers in her Hunua country gar­den

NZ Gardener - - Front Page -

SAGE:

Want to know how good your gar­den’s drainage is? Plant sage ( Salvia of­fic­i­nalis). If it’s still alive a year later, well done. And if not? Join the club. I can’t seem to keep com­mon sage going for more than a few months. This time last year, we pho­tographed the lush clumps (above) in my herb gar­den. Twelve months later, I’ve lost the lot.

A drought-hardy Mediter­ranean peren­nial, sage can cope with hot, dry sum­mers but it has no stom­ach for wet, cold win­ters. When it’s un­happy, it drops its lower leaves, leav­ing only a scungy tuft of fo­liage on top of its woody stems, or it shriv­els up al­to­gether from root rot.

If your sage is strug­gling, try grow­ing it in a con­tainer instead. Or pot up heaps of cut­tings in au­tumn so you’re well stocked with re­place­ments for win­ter ca­su­al­ties.

LEEKS:

My leeks, trans­planted in Jan­uary, are still so skinny that they make my spring onions look mor­bidly obese. A late sum­mer chew­ing by rab­bits didn’t help but, even so, they’ve had nine months to re­cover. I’m tak­ing it as a sign that the bed in which they are grow­ing could do with a gen­er­ous dose of NPK fer­tiliser be­fore I sow sweet­corn later this month. I’m even less a fan of baby corn as I am of baby leeks.

‘SANTA ROSA’ PLUMS:

I only grow this Bur­bank plum for pol­li­na­tion pur­poses, as I find its fruit a bit sour. But this year my scrag­gly trees had only a smat­ter­ing of blos­soms be­tween them, which ren­ders their on­go­ing ex­is­tence rather point­less.

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