Strong case made for gar­den­ers shar­ing seeds

Upper Hutt Leader - - MOTORING - ROBERT GUYTON

SWAP SEEDS WITH YOUR FEL­LOW GAR­DEN­ERS!

Given the sea­son, seeds are un­doubt­edly in right now. Cat­a­logues have been care­fully con­sulted, and or­ders sent and re­ceived. Gar­den­ers up and down the North and South Is­lands are re­splen­dent with pack­ets of won­der­ful seeds full of prom­ise – some we’ve bought from shops, gar­den cen­tres or on­line re­tail­ers, and oth­ers we’ve saved from plants we grew our­selves last sea­son.

Shar­ing seed is al­ways a wise thing to do. The chances of success are in­creased where seeds are sown in more than one lo­ca­tion by sev­eral seed sow­ers, each of whom will have green thumbs of var­i­ous shades. An es­pe­cially care­ful seed grower might en­sure the seeds you strug­gle to get go­ing will strike suc­cess­fully, thus sav­ing the day.

Also, over-the-fence shar­ing is the first step to­wards es­tab­lish­ing a seed sav­ing net­work in your neck of the woods and your com­mu­nity, and you could be the one to get it started.

GO ON A PLAS­TIC HUNT IN YOUR GAR­DEN

It’s truly amaz­ing how many plas­tic ar­ti­cles, mostly con­tain­ers of var­i­ous sorts and sizes, we em­ploy in our day-to-day gar­den­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

If we are nat­u­rally or­derly peo­ple, those pots, pun­nets, trays and PVC bags all make it back to the pot­ting shed or recycling bin in good time, but for those of us who could be de­scribed as ‘‘ca­sual gar­den­ers’’, these plas­tic ves­sels can drift, hang about and linger in the gar­den for longer than is seemly.

At this time of the year, there’s also an added peril: growth! Plas­tic bits and pieces left ly­ing about now are truly in danger of quickly dis­ap­pear­ing into the un­der­growth, not to be found till au­tumn, and that’s not ideal, es­pe­cially if you need them for other gar­den­ing ac­tiv­i­ties such as pot­ting up young plants. Get them out now, while you still can!

FEED YOUR GAR­LIC AND SHALLOTS

Both need gen­er­ous dol­lops of what­ever you can get your hands on, in or­der to grow to full po­ten­tial.

I’m us­ing sheep dung, mixed with a lit­tle wool, as it presents un­der­neath the wool­sheds we’ve been in­vited to col­lect from. The farm­ing world is rich with ma­nures of all sorts, and crutch­ings and dags from sheep are per­fect for the home gar­den – rich and eas­ily han­dled, where cow ma­nure is more awk­ward.

The ad­van­tage daggy ma­te­rial of­fers is the com­bi­na­tion of the quick hit the dung pro­vides and the longer, slower feed pro­vided by the wool. Sheepy stuff doesn’t smell too bad and looks okay on the soil. If cow pats are all you can find, use them, as they are good too, but don’t ex­pect them to have quite the punch sheep dags have.

Bet­ter still, go avian and get some pi­geon poo into your ground. Pi­geons pro­duce the Rolls Royce of ma­nure, rich and in­tense, and you’ll want to weather it well be­fore ap­pli­ca­tion, or risk burn­ing your plants. Dove poop, scraped from your lo­cal cote, is sim­i­larly strong. Chicken ma­nure is good, not so burny and eas­ier to find, but also needs a pe­riod of ‘‘re­lax­ing’’ be­fore it is ap­plied to your veg­etable gar­den.

RECORD THE BLOS­SOM­ING

Ev­ery year, at this time, blos­soms ap­pear, promis­ing fruits later on. It can all seem over­whelm­ing, es­pe­cially when you’ve a range of va­ri­eties in your or­chard or home gar­den. Record what blos­soms are pre­sent­ing and what the weather’s do­ing – wind speed, tem­per­a­tures, frosts that might fall. Com­pare this data with the crop at the end of the sea­son, to learn of any cor­re­la­tions that might ex­ist. Did the ab­sence of bees mean the fruit har­vest was patchy? Did the wind help or hin­der the fruit set? In­for­ma­tion is power. Now’s the time to start gath­er­ing some.

GET GROW­ING

This col­umn is adapted from the weekly e-zine, get grow­ing, from NewZealand Gar­dener mag­a­zine. For gar­den­ing ad­vice de­liv­ered to your inbox ev­ery Fri­day, sign up for Get Grow­ing at: get­grow­ing.co.nz

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