Plant now for a bumper sea­son

Whanganui Midweek - - CARING FOR THE ELDERLY - With Gareth Carter

Novem­ber is the last month of spring and the time to plant and sow ev­ery­thing in the veg­etable gar­den for a bumper sum­mer har­vest and the flower gar­den for a stun­ning dis­play.

Some of you have al­ready got toma­toes well on the way but for those who haven’t, now is the main plant­ing sea­son, so get some planted to­day!

Po­ta­toes

If you haven’t yet planted any po­ta­toes or want a later crop, then it’s not too late, po­ta­toes planted now will be ready for har­vest in Fe­bru­ary.

If you have po­ta­toes grow­ing then reg­u­lar mound­ing needs to be main­tained as this in­creases the length of stem cov­ered on which the potato tu­bers form. A side dress­ing of Tui Potato Food around the plants be­fore they are mounded will be ben­e­fi­cial.

It is im­por­tant to start spray­ing your potato crop with Yates Mavrik or Yates Suc­cess Ul­tra to pro­tect against potato psyl­lid. The potato psyl­lid can go un­de­tected for a while but will later show up with plants show­ing a stunt­ing and yel­low­ing of the grow­ing tip. The edges of the curled leaves of­ten have a pink blush. The stem may have swollen nodes and show a brown­ing of the vas­cu­lar tis­sue. Af­ter a while, in­fected po­ta­toes de­velop a scorched ap­pear­ance and plants col­lapse pre­ma­turely. Potato plants that are in­fected at an early stage de­velop nu­mer­ous small tu­bers.

The psyl­lid, a rel­a­tively new pest to New Zealand, has been dev­as­tat­ing home gar­den potato crops badly in Whanganui for the past six sea­sons. With the use of these Yates sprays (the only reg­is­tered sprays for potato pys­llid) it can be ef­fec­tively con­trolled.

Fruit trees

Codling moth cater­pil­lars bur­row into the fruit of ap­ples and thus make holes in them. They can also af­fect pears, quince, English wal­nuts and some­times plums. Once in­side the fruit the in­sect will bur­row to­wards the pip cav­ity and con­sume the seeds.

The in­sect “over­win­ters” as a fully fed cater­pil­lar in a silken co­coon be­neath pieces of loose bark on trees or in other shel­tered po­si­tions it can reach. In the late win­ter or early spring the over­win­tered cater­pil­lars trans­form to pu­pae and the first moths gen­er­ally ap­pear dur­ing Oc­to­berNovem­ber and can oc­cur into Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary. The best method for con­trol is an in­te­grated pest man­age­ment ap­proach. This in­volves us­ing pheromone traps be­ing hung in a tree. Closely fol­low the in­struc­tions given. Check weekly for pop­u­la­tion num­bers caught in the trap and when larger num­bers are recorded, a spray with Yates Suc­cess Ul­tra at this time is rec­om­mended.

Novem­ber plant­ing tips

Plant herbs and let­tuce among other plants. A few let­tuces planted ev­ery one or two weeks in dif­fer­ent parts of your gar­den will keep you sup­plied most of the year. Red let­tuce pro­vides some good colour con­trast as well.

This is the best month for sow­ing climb­ing and dwarf beans. The soil is now warm enough for the seeds to ger­mi­nate read­ily and the beans take 10-12 weeks to start crop­ping. Yates climb­ing bean ‘pur­ple king’ de­vel­ops deep pur­ple pods that turn green when they’re cooked — quite in­trigu­ing.

A top pro­duc­ing bean va­ri­ety is in the Ican Chefs Best Range called “Supreme”; it is high yield­ing, with strong dis­ease re­sis­tance, and has straight 14cm long beans set high on the plant for easy pick­ing, dis­tinc­tively glossy, very fleshy with ex­cel­lent flavour. If blight has been a prob­lem in the past on your potato and tomato crops spray reg­u­larly with Grosafe Freeflo Cop­per to keep a coat­ing of cop­per spray on fo­liage.

Sum­mer flower gar­den

In the sum­mer flower gar­den there are many op­tions as to what to plant at this time. Petu­nias are still con­sid­ered the top sum­mer an­nual. There are many va­ri­eties to choose but a cou­ple of favourites in­clude the Pepe se­ries which pro­duce masses of minia­ture flow­ers on com­pact plants and are tough and ideal for bed­ding borders, con­tain­ers and hang­ing bas­kets. Se­condly the up­right and cas­cad­ing groups of petu­nias which pro­duce masses of flower colour all sum­mer. They too are tough and weather re­sis­tant, but grow larger than the Pepe se­ries.

For the best dis­play make a habit of pick­ing off faded flow­ers which will en­cour­age more blooms. Al­ways use slug and snail bait to pre­vent these nas­ties from hav­ing a feed and pinch out the first flow­ers to make the plants branch out, be­come more bushy.

Roses

Roses are look­ing spec­tac­u­lar at the mo­ment with most now in flower. The Ice­berg rose is still num­ber one with its white flow­ers and more dis­ease re­sis­tant habit. Ice­berg is a flori­bunda (many blooms on each stem) and puts on a great show for a long time. Its pop­u­lar­ity is closely fol­lowed by Mar­garet Mer­ril which is also white but boasts fra­grance. Feed roses now if you have not done so since they have come into growth and then again af­ter they have fin­ished their first flush of flow­ers. Use Tui Rose Fer­tiliser for good re­sults. Feed roses grow­ing in pots and con­tain­ers with Os­mo­cote for Roses or an­other slow re­lease food.

Prune any roses that only bloom dur­ing spring when they have fin­ished flow­er­ing. Other va­ri­eties that were pruned in win­ter can be ti­died by re­mov­ing any dead flow­ers. Al­ways cut just above an out­ward fac­ing bud so that new growth will grow away from the cen­tre of the bush. Be es­pe­cially vig­i­lant with wa­ter­ing of all roses grow­ing in con­tain­ers, maybe twice daily when dry con­di­tions pre­vail. A prod­uct called Sat­u­raid can be added to pot­ting mix and soil. Have a great week!

■ Gareth Carter is gen­eral man­ager of Spring­vale Gar­den Cen­tre

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