Strong case made for gardeners sharing seeds
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.
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