Baby beets prove a great salad option
You can also transplant seedlings from punnets (pictured), rather than sowing direct. This will save about a month of growing time if you’re in a hurry! Remove the seedling plug from the punnet with care so you don’t knock the roots too much. month and since many of our edible crops are pollinated by bees, it’s a great idea to provide nourishment for them in your garden.
Bees, hoverflies and predatory wasps have small feeding parts, so plants with small flowers suit them. You don’t need to dedicate a huge area either. A few pots or a thin strip around the edge of your vege patch can be all you need. Sow a patch of wildflowers or grow a mix of flowers and herbs including anise hyssop, sage, lavender, bergamot, borage, thyme, cornflowers, monarda, calendula, purple tansy, marigolds and phacelia, to name but a few.
When making your garden a little more bee-friendly, here are some things to consider. Bees love purple, white, yellow and blue flowers best. Flowers planted in groups not only aid bees, they bring in butterflies as well. Plant a range of different-sized and shaped flowers and try to include flowers for every season. Avoid using pesticides or spraying when flowers are in bloom. Provide clean drinking water for bees.
The September issue of NZ Gardener magazine (on sale now) has a free packet of bee-friendly wildflower seeds for every reader. We’re calling on Kiwis to sow these seeds and sign up to Plan Bee by registering your garden in our interactive map.
This month you can find out more about our beneficial insects, bees and pollinators in a series of stories on www.homed.co.nz including Ruud Kleinpaste’s look at why honeybees may pose a threat to our native bees (click here to read); a fun quiz on pollinators and close-up photos of the various bees, wasps, hoverflies, bumblebees and flies typically found in our gardens. eat. Enter the humble microgreen. These young vegetable (or herb) plants are harvested at the baby leaf stage and are a fantastic stop-gap while you wait for your lettuce crops to mature.
Peas make some of the tastiest microgreens I’ve ever eaten and are even easier to grow. Sow the seeds thickly into a pot, cover lightly with seed-raising mix and mist with water daily. Expect to start picking in about a fortnight. Try ‘Fiji Feathers’ from Kings Seeds.