NZ Gardener - Garden Diary 2018 - - Plant Now -

Sup­ple­ment starchy crops with crisp, fresh sal­ads. Spuds – roasted, baked, fried and mashed – are the ul­ti­mate cold-weather com­fort food, but you can tire of so much starch. Plant heart­ing let­tuces, or hardy red-leafed ones, for a change. They won’t tol­er­ate wa­ter­logged soils, so if your vege patch turns to mud in au­tumn and win­ter, opt for pots. Sow ‘Cool Sea­son Win­guard’ (Eg­mont Seeds), an ’Ice­berg’-style let­tuce that’s favoured by com­mer­cial grow­ers, ’Win­ter Tri­umph’ from Yates, and ’Pas­sion di Brune’ (Ital­ian Seeds Pronto), a but­ter­head type with green and bur­gundy leaves.

Switch fer­tilis­ers

There’s no ben­e­fit to be gained by sprin­kling gran­u­lar slow-re­lease fer­tilis­ers around your plants from now on. In late au­tumn and win­ter, plant roots can’t take up nutri­ents from the cold soil, so all you will suc­ceed in do­ing is flush­ing your money away in the

rain. In­stead, use or­ganic fer­tilis­ers such as liq­uid com­post, blood and bone or chook poo di­luted in wa­ter, which are quick act­ing. The best time to ap­ply slow-re­lease fer­tilis­ers is mid-spring, once the soil has warmed up again, and mid­sum­mer.

Now’s the time to sow win­ter bras­si­cas like cauliflow­ers and cab­bage. Or­na­men­tal peas can be sown now as can broad beans. Don’t prune. Gar­den­ing by the moon First quar­ter

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