5-minute gar­dener: week­end ready

South Waikato News - - Community Cookbook -

If you haven’t bought seeds yet, do so with­out de­lay. The choice is huge.

This year Kings Seeds has more than 70 va­ri­eties and Eg­mont Seeds more than 30.

Sow seeds in trays in ei­ther a com­mer­cially pre­pared seed-rais­ing mix, or make your own with a 50-50 blend of com­post and gar­den soil seived to­gether. Three­quar­ter fill the trays with the mix­ture then soak in about 5cm of cold wa­ter in the sink. Firm down soil with your palm and scat­ter the seeds, about 2cm apart is ideal. Then sprin­kle seed-rais­ing mix on top.

Putting the trays in plas­tic bags cre­ates a mini glasshouse and in­creases hu­mid­ity. Re­move from the bag once the first shoots push through the soil and keep the trays in a sunny shel­tered spot, such as a win­dow sill, sun­room, veran­dah, cold frame or glasshouse. Seedlings should never dry out. Wa­ter with a spray bot­tle or mis­ter un­til the seedlings are ready to trans­plant, at about 3cm-4cm high. Mean­while, pre­pare the beds. Choose a sunny shel­tered spot with free-drain­ing soil and dig in plenty of or­ganic mat­ter. Do not plant seedlings out­side un­til early to mid Novem­ber un­less you live in a warm mi­cro-cli­mate.

Make early sow­ings of car­rots. Early va­ri­eties are usu­ally smaller and in­clude ‘Early Crop’, ‘Early Chante­nay’ and ‘Lit­tle Fin­ger’.

Early crops are more likely to evade the dreaded car­rot fly, whose lar­vae feed on the roots, caus­ing them to rot.

Keep an eye out for black­fly on broad­beans. Squish them with fin­gers or nip off the tips of the plants as soon as they are spot­ted.

SUP­PLIED

Care taken grow­ing toma­toes will re­sult in a de­li­cious bounty.

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