What to do in the gar­den in apriil

NZ Lifestyle Block - - In Jane's Garden -

THE HAR­VEST IS STEADY: po­ta­toes, pump­kins, ap­ples, ku­mara, beans left to dry on the bushes, late corn, pep­pers, the chill­ies, toma­toes, and any­thing else that can be stored and en­joyed later.

As al­ways there are plants and seeds to be sown. My favourites at this time of year in­clude broad beans, mizuna, bok choi, loose­leaved let­tuces, kale, rocket, co­rian­der, pars­ley and miner’s let­tuce, and there’s al­ways a ro­ta­tion of broc­coli.

In the flower gar­den, pan­sies and prim­u­las, cal­en­dula, cineraria, sweet peas, sweet Wil­liam, corn­flow­ers, hon­ey­wort and other over­win­ter­ing an­nu­als can be sown. The soft au­tumn rain we all hope for will help with ger­mi­na­tion and steady growth.

Au­tumn leaves can be gath­ered from tracks and places where they can be a prob­lem, pushed into rub­bish bags, a lit­tle lime sprin­kled on, the tops tied shut. Leave in a cool place for a year to be­come a lovely seed­less com­post.

Peren­ni­als which you wish to in­crease num­bers of and plant else­where in the gar­den, or to pot up for fundrais­ers or gifts, can be di­vided now. Di­vi­sion done in au­tumn means the plants will take ad­van­tage of the last warmth of the grow­ing days to es­tab­lish their roots, hun­ker down for win­ter and be ready to leap into growth early next sea­son. Be­gin­ning di­vi­sion now also spreads out the work­load.

Slugs and snails con­tinue their depre­da­tions un­less kept in check. Ducks in the gar­den are meant to be good but I have yet to get around to ac­quir­ing any so for me it’s the usual hunt and squish mis­sion, and a care­ful sprin­kling of a bit of slug bait if it’s out of hand.

Win­ter greens are an im­por­tant part of our diet dur­ing the colder months, so it’s not too late to plant va­ri­eties that can be picked over and over again to pro­vide sal­ads, soup ad­di­tions, or heavy duty, hearty hand­fuls of gar­nishes of herbs such as chervil and pars­ley, co­rian­der and rocket. Whether you have a big coun­try gar­den or a tiny apart­ment bal­cony space, it’s easy to grow fresh green­ery to pro­vide two or three big hand­fuls ev­ery day.

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