The joy of trying something new
Some gardeners grow the same thing season in and season out. I too have my favourites, but it is always interesting to give something else a shot. How about making time for thyme?
Thyme is a great to grow in containers or in hanging baskets. The thing about thyme is that it flowers for a good part of the year with the best displays through spring and autumn.
The plant has a natural cascading habit, so it flows all over the place providing an excellent display while being handy when you require fresh thyme for the kitchen.
Bees love thyme and thyme honey is something to die for.
Petunias are another favourite, and some of the newer types have really spectacular flowers. Mine grow in 15-20cm containers using purchased compost with a little extra food such as Bio Boost or Sheep Manure Pellets, added.
When the plants get a bit scraggly simply trim them back a bit to tidy up and they will produce new growth and a lot more flowers.
When winter starts to set in, cut them back before spraying the remaining foliage with Vaporgard, and move the pots to a sheltered spot where they won’t get rained on or frosted.
Every so often in winter, you will need to give them a little drink but you can keep them going for years if you wish.
Too much water in winter and you are likely to lose them. Losses can also occur if they are exposed to frost.
Chilli peppers or capsicum are another family of plants that can keep going for several years in pots. Always use compost (potting mix is useless) and keep them protected and dry during winter.
Feijoa ‘Unique’ is an excellent variety of feijoa to grow either in open ground or as a smaller specimen in a large container. This variety produces large fruit, does not need a pollinator and is likely to produce a small crop within one to two seasons of planting.
Surplus fruit can be made into relish or chutney – a solution for any surplus of tomatoes at this time of the year – or jam.
So, can home gardeners grow the same crop in the same location year after year without depleting the soil or creating susceptibility to soil borne diseases?
If you are truly ‘gardening’ the soil – that is replenishing the goodness using natural materials, it is possible to successfully grow the same crops in the same plot indefinitely.
I have known gardeners who have successfully grown their tomato plants in the same sunny and sheltered garden space for 25 years or more.
Perhaps not, though, if you are applying man-made fertilisers, chlorinated water or chemical sprays and herbicides. Under these circumstances, diseases will build up in the soil while natural fertility will decrease.
Those with concerns about possible garden soil diseases might like to try a natural pathogen suppressant, Wallys Terracin soil drench followed up by a Mycorrcin drench.
A spray over moist soil with Mycorrcin every month for a season will build up the populations of beneficial microbes and fungi, making for healthier plants.
Problems? ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 3570606)Email firstname.lastname@example.orgWeb site www.gardenews.co.nz
Thyme is great for cascading out of containers, or as ground cover and to soften paving areas. Not only can you eat it, it also is a bee attractant.