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- how to grow big, fat leeks
Protect lettuce from the midday sun.
High heat and lack of water can cause your salad greens to develop a bitter taste. Lettuce leaves need plenty of water to remain sweet and crisp. Brown edges are a sure sign they’re thirsty. Water often to keep them succulent. You can plant lettuce in among corn or tomato plants to provide them with a little shade. Sow lettuce, rocket, radishes, spring onions and carrots every fortnight for a continuous supply of salad ingredients.
Use comfrey leaves
to make your own fertiliser. Comfrey is naturally high in potassium, and tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers and peppers love it. To make a nutritious tea for your plants, fill a bucket with comfrey leaves, top up with water and cover. Leave to decompose for 3-5 weeks, stirring occasionally (hold your nose). Strain the sludge (put it on your compost heap) and apply a solution of half comfrey/half water around your plants. Moisture and sunlight have a good and bad effect, depending on what you’re growing. Words Jane Wrigglesworth
Seedlings of celery, brassicas, leeks, parsnips, swede and turnips can all be planted now.
Keep herbs cut back to encourage new and tender growth. Nip off the tips of mature basil plants to prevent flowers from forming.
Feed leafy vegetables regularly with a liquid fertiliser that’s high in nitrogen, which is ideal for leaf production.
In warmer areas, dwarf and climbing beans can still be sown for autumn harvest. Regularly lift kumara foliage to prevent it rooting where leaf nodes touch the soil. This way, the plant’s energy goes into producing tubers, not more foliage.
Jane Wrigglesworth is a gardening writer, blogger, and publisher of the digital magazine, Sweet Living. www.sweetlivingmagazine.co.nz www.flamingpetal.co.nz