NZ Gardener - Garden Diary 2018 - - Get Growing -

Most bras­si­cas – from cab­bages to broc­coli and Brus­sels sprouts – take 120 days from seed to har­vest, so start sow­ing win­ter crops now. Sow the large seeds in deep trays (to in­su­late them from the dry­ing sun), or if you have a seed bed you can cover, sow di­rect and trans­plant your seedlings when they’re the same size as those in gar­den cen­tre pun­nets. Bras­sica seedlings sprout in seven to 10 days while it’s warm, al­though they won’t ap­pre­ci­ate dry­ing out in full sun, so keep trays moist by stand­ing them in a shal­low dish of wa­ter un­til the seeds ger­mi­nate. Cover seed trays with very fine mesh net­ting or a poly­tun­nel or cloche to stop them be­ing eaten by white cab­bage but­ter­fly cater­pil­lars. Once trans­planted, con­tinue to pro­tect your seedlings with loosely draped mesh or Ki­wicare’s Or­ganic Cater­pil­lar Bio Con­trol, an eco-friendly al­ter­na­tive to chem­i­cal in­sec­ti­cides (it’s made from a naturally oc­cur­ring soil bac­te­ria and has no with­hold­ing pe­riod). Al­though it may not be prac­ti­cal to grow large onions in pots, there’s noth­ing to stop you sow­ing their smaller sib­lings. Fill a con­tainer (at least 20cm deep) with good qual­ity pot­ting mix. Firm down gen­tly and scat­ter a few seeds on top; if you have the patience, space them 5cm apart to avoid hav­ing to thin them out later. Thinned seedlings can also be trans­planted into the gar­den or an­other con­tainer. Seeds take a fort­night to ger­mi­nate and need wa­ter­ing through­out their grow­ing pe­riod. For best re­sults, place your con­tainer in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun each day. En­sure the pot has clear drainage holes and keep plants weed-free. Smaller onions, such as Kings Seeds’ cock­tail onion ’Pearl Drop’, ma­ture around 70 days after sow­ing, al­though they’re per­fectly edi­ble at any point. Other fast-grow­ing onions per­fect for pots in­clude mini red ‘Pur­plette’, spring onions and chives.

Bury the fil­leted re­mains of fish be­neath tomato and egg­plant bushes and watch the p la nts grow l i ke mad!

Now is this month’s most vi­tal time and growth is pro­lific. Sow and trans­plant ev­ery­thing that pro­duces its har­vest above the ground; dwarf peas, spinach, pars­ley, let­tuce and sil­ver­beet can go in now. Gar­den­ing by the moon 03:18 PM New moon

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