Golden globes

The Southland Times - - Weekend -

Ed­i­bles

Sow cape goose­ber­ries – yum! They are very easy to grow, with fruit ready to eat in about three months from sow­ing. Chil­dren love them, not least for the fun of pick­ing them from the bushes where they hang like lit­tle Chi­nese lanterns.

Fi­nally! In most parts of the coun­try the weather is warm and set­tled enough to plant out basil, toma­toes, cour­gettes, egg­plants, mel­ons, pump­kins, pep­pers and corn. If you fear your gar­den is not warm enough for pep­pers and chill­ies, which love heat, grow them in con­tain­ers so they can be kept in a sun­trap and out of cool winds – wher­ever that may be.

Wa­ter in all seedlings well when plant­ing – and try to never let them dry out. Lack of wa­ter will com­pro­mise the num­ber of fruit that tomato plants pro­duce. Sow leeks and parsnips. Sow­ings of let­tuces, car­rots, radishes, rocket, spring onions, beet­root are best made reg­u­larly in small quan­ti­ties to en­sure con­ti­nu­ity of sup­ply.

Mean­while, ad­ven­tur­ous gar­den­ers and cooks may be sow­ing bur­dock, cele­riac and sal­sify and pur­ple car­rots. Try also cele­riac; caigua (its gherkin-like fruit can be eaten raw or pick­led); kohlrabi; multi-coloured corn; cel­tuce… there’s a world of un­usual veg­eta­bles and fruit out there.

Af­ter pe­tal fall, treat stone fruit for leaf curl (with cop­per) and aphids, and ap­ples and pears for cod­dling moth and pow­dery mildew. Be­cause cop­per is toxic to bees, it is vi­tal you do not spray un­til af­ter the petals have fallen.

Or­na­men­tals

Sow wall­flow­ers now and you will be in­hal­ing their ex­quis­ite fra­grance next year.

Cut back clumps of springflow­er­ing peren­ni­als to en­cour­age a fresh flush of fo­liage. Like­wise, when spread­ing and trail­ing plants be­come tatty, give them a quick trim af­ter their first flush of flow­ers. Trim­ming them back af­ter flow­er­ing en­cour­ages fresh growth and new flow­ers. Tie up climbers and ram­blers if need be.

Once lilacs fin­ish blooming, feed with well-rot­ted an­i­mal ma­nure and lime.

Should any var­ie­gated shrubs throw up plain green shoots, cut them off, or risk hav­ing the whole plant revert to plain green.

Take soft­wood cut­tings of de­cid­u­ous shrubs, such as forsythia, fuch­sia, philadel­phus, and spirea.

Hip­peas­trums for Christ­mas

Bulbs should take six to eight weeks to flower af­ter plant­ing. Bulbs planted now make spec­tac­u­lar presents. For flow­ers this sea­son, buy the largest bulbs as the small, rooted side bulbs from es­tab­lished plants take up to three years to flower. Plant bulbs with their neck and shoul­ders above the sur­face in coarse, bark-based pot­ting mix with a hand­ful of sheep pel­lets and a sprin­kle of Nitrophoska Blue. Don’t use too large a pot as they flower best when root bound. Boost with a lown­i­tro­gen plant food in the run-up to flow­er­ing. They do best in pots out­side in a warm, shel­tered spot.

Once flow­er­ing has ended, re­move flower spikes, leav­ing about 10cm. Keep the pot in a sunny po­si­tion, wa­ter through sum­mer and, when the leaves start dy­ing back, put the pot on its side in the shade to pre­vent wa­ter­log­ging. At the first sign of leaves in spring, turn up­right again and move back to a sunny po­si­tion. Scrape out sur­plus soil and clean the bulbs, then sprin­kle with a small amount of Nitrophoska and some sheep pel­lets, then top back up with fresh soil. Start wa­ter­ing again when leaves be­gin to ap­pear.

– Mary Lovell-Smith

Cape goose­ber­ries come in their own pa­pery wrap­ping.

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