Va­ri­ety show

Dahlias come in just about ev­ery colour, shape and size you can imag­ine, so there’s sure to be one that suits your taste, says Mary Lovell-smith.

The Dominion Post - Your Weekend (Dominion Post) - - Gardening -

ED­I­BLES • Sow beans if the soil has warmed up enough. Should it be too cold they can take up to a fort­night to ger­mi­nate – and may rot in the in­terim. In warm con­di­tions they should only take four days to ger­mi­nate. • Be­ing vig­or­ous grow­ers, beans need rich soil, so dig in some com­post or well-rot­ted ma­nure ahead of plant­ing. • Dwarf beans should be sown about 5cm deep and 10cm apart (or a lit­tle closer and thin to this). Run­ner beans need some­thing to climb up, such as a fence or wig­wam of bam­boo or straight branches. Ul­ti­mately, the op­ti­mum num­ber of plants per stick is two. • An old but ef­fec­tive trick is to dig a shal­low trench along the side of the bean row which en­ables wa­ter­ing with­out wet­ting the leaves and risk­ing fo­liar dis­eases. • While most veg­eta­bles pre­fer the sun, if it’s in short sup­ply in your gar­den, there are some that don’t mind a bit of shade – namely, salad and leafy greens (Asian greens, let­tuce, rocket, sil­ver­beet and spinach); bras­si­cas (broc­coli, cab­bage, cau­li­flower and brus­sels sprouts); root veg­eta­bles such as beet­root, carrot, radish, swede and turnips; onions (chives, gar­lic and shal­lots); and beans and peas. • Herbs that tol­er­ate shade in­clude co­rian­der, dill, mint and pars­ley. Shirley pop­pies and snap­drag­ons; and the sweet­est fra­granced night-scented stock. • Or try a wild­flower mix. They are al­ways pretty

and so easy to grow. • Keep new lawns damp – dry­ness is fa­tal to

young grass. • Con­tinue plant­ing glad­i­oli for a long sum­mer

flow­er­ing pe­riod. • Get in­spired by go­ing on a gar­den tour or to a

fes­ti­val – Novem­ber is the month for them.

DAHLIAS • Com­ing in a vast range of colours, shapes and sizes, there is pretty much a dahlia for ev­ery taste. Plant them about 7cm deep, 30cm apart in full sun. They do best in rich, well-drained soil but are quite tol­er­ant of a va­ri­ety of soil types. • Give them a head­start by in­cor­po­rat­ing plenty of com­post or well-rot­ted ma­nure into the soil be­fore plant­ing, keep well-wa­tered and feed with a po­tash-rich fer­tiliser once flow­ers ap­pear. • Some dahlias may need stak­ing; oth­ers do best

if en­cour­aged to bushi­ness – pinch out some shoots. • They will not flower as well if overfed with a ni­tro­gen-rich fer­tiliser, or if they do not get enough sun or water.

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