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: getgrowing.co.nz 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.