ARE THEY RIPE YET?

NZ Gardener - Garden Diary 2018 - - Seasonal Fruit -

Pomegranates usu­ally start pro­duc­ing fruit two or three years after plant­ing, though any re­ally sig­nif­i­cant crop­ping be­gins after five years. In the first few years of growth, it can be a bit tricky to eval­u­ate when the fruit is ready to pick. Size rather than colour de­ter­mines the op­ti­mal har­vest time, as colour can vary by va­ri­ety from light or­ange to deep red. Look for fruit that’s the size of an or­ange. Tap it and lis­ten for a metal­lic sound, which in­di­cates it’s ripe. Never pull the fruit off the tree – use snips. Pomegranates can be stored for sev­eral months in the fridge.

Blanch your cel­ery

It’s not so com­mon these days to blanch cel­ery while it’s still in the gar­den, but if you like it ten­der, nip off your plants’ smaller basal sprouts (those pro­duced at the base of the plants) and heap up soil to the level of the leaves. The lack of sun­light will change what some peo­ple find to be a bit­ter veg­etable into a much sweeter

one. Al­ter­na­tively, you can wrap news­pa­per around the stems and tie it in place with gar­den twine, or place a waxed milk/ yo­ghurt car­ton, both ends open, over the head of the cel­ery plant and push it down to the base (it should cover the stems) so the leaves stick out the top. Blanch­ing usu­ally takes place 10-14 days be­fore har­vest­ing.

Break out the hoe and weed to keep grow­ing plants in the light. Feed ev­ery­thing with warmed sea­weed or com­frey tea. Gar­den­ing by the moon

Full moon 12.59pm

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