October top & flop CROPS
Lynda’s regular round-up of the best & worst seasonal performers in her Hunua country garden
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.
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.