GAR­DEN­ING Birds and their place in the gar­den


pic­ture of bird pop­u­la­tions, so please go out there and do your bit. out seedlings in­stead. Raised beds are warmer than in-ground gar­den beds and soil can also be warmed (and dried out a bit) by putting a cloche in place a week or so be­fore you plan to plant.

This year the win­ter sol­stice or short­est day of the year is Thurs­day, June 21. Tra­di­tion­ally it’s the day for plant­ing gar­lic but any time up to the end of July is fine.

Shal­lots and onions can go in too. Give all the al­lium fam­ily full sun and well-drained soil. If you planted them last month and they’re sprout­ing away, hoe around them gen­tly to re­move weeds as they don’t like com­pe­ti­tion.

Broad beans planted over the last cou­ple of months will need stak­ing. Ide­ally the sup­ports should have gone in at plant­ing time but bet­ter late than never – just be care­ful not to dam­age the roots when putting in stakes. Run gar­den twine around and be­tween the sup­ports and the plants so they sup­port each other. Re­mem­ber the leaf tips are de­li­cious steamed or stir­fried. Ju­di­cious pick­ing helps keep plants com­pact.

Don’t wait for cel­ery to look like a su­per­mar­ket bunch. Treat it as a cut-and-come again crop by pick­ing the outer leaves of cel­ery for a longer har­vest pe­riod. You can use a cop­per spray like Grosafe Free Flo Cop­per if you’ve had prob­lems with sep­to­ria leaf spot or rust in the past. How­ever, dis­ease af­fects the old­est leaves and stems first. If you pick the outer stems of­ten (be­fore they show brown spots) you can stay ahead of the dis­ease for a while. The same goes for sil­ver­beet. This col­umn is adapted from the weekly e-zine, get grow­ing, from New Zealand Gar­dener mag­a­zine. For gar­den­ing ad­vice de­liv­ered to your in­box ev­ery Fri­day, sign up for Get Grow­ing at: get­grow­ sun­shine so wrap up warm and get out early.

Fol­low your nose to the daphne bush and hunt for win­ter flow­ers which can be shy and un­os­ten­ta­tious. I nearly missed the bloom­ing of some or­chids. This tiny plant lives a quiet life tucked be­hind a vireya and I have to re­mem­ber to bring it to the front dur­ing its time of glory.

It’s easy to think of or­chids as need­ing mol­ly­cod­dling in a hot­house but toughies like den­dro­bi­ums, on­cid­i­ums and epi­den­drums pre­fer cooler con­di­tions and thrive out­doors – even flow­er­ing in win­ter. Give them a sunny spot for best flow­ers.

Water and feed with Flow­er­ing Orchid Tucker and pro­tect from frost, slugs and snails.

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