Home' Greymouth Star : June 25th 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
In the Garden
home that fuses
art, design and
furniture, and the
best of Central
Otago on display
in a Q ueenstown
farmhouse, and a
garden bulging at the seams with tropical planting.
It also features the best biodynamic wine producers in the
Southern Hemisphere who tend their garden in the same
To enter the draw your entries must include your name,
address and phone number.
Send them to.—
C/o Greymouth Star
PO Box 3 Greymouth
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with garden in
the subject line. One entry per household. Entries close
on July 2.
alling milk prices,
ever-rising fuel and
electricity costs mean
that, for many, things
are getting tighter.
One way to save is
by growing your own
vegetables and it has a health spin-
off, too, as the gardener gets exercise
(cheaper than gym membership).
A big plus is that fresh vegetables
have vital chemicals that begin
to disappear as soon as plants are
A vegetable garden can cost a lot or
Bring in the professionals, have
them build sturdy edgings, walls and
trellises (hard landscaping) and fill
the beds with mushroom compost,
as I saw in one posh garden, and the
result is a splendid patch that will
take years to pay for itself.
At the other end of the scale, a
garden dug by hand, using the turf
cut from the bed or old timber
to make edges, then filled with
composted kitchen waste and manure
bought from a roadside stall costs
The small outlay will be in the first
season through the savings made on
the cost of buying vegetables but the
'wall' may need replacing within a
couple of years.
Between these two are raised beds
edged with bricks, rocks, timber,
concrete blocks or even corrugated
For those in rental properties, kitset
beds that can be dismantled and
taken with you if you move make
good sense. Expect to pay from about
Hunt the op shops for secondhand
tools, the best of which are better
made than modern cheapies, strong
knives. For sowing seeds, plastic mesh
cutlery trays are ideal (mine cost 50c
each) because their
mean the cabbages
do not get mixed up
with the lettuces.
There are lots
of freebies, too,
and it makes
to reuse or recycle
Here are a few to
Use 2lt ice-
cream containers to
grow on seedlings
until they are big
enough to transfer
to the garden. Punch
holes in the bottom
Pieces of Venetian blinds, white
plastic lids and pieces cut from ice-
cream, margarine or yoghurt pottles
make durable plant labels. Write on
them with an indelible marker pen.
The best garden ties are strips of
laddered pantyhose, as they do not
cut into stems. One old bachelor did
complain at a garden club meeting
that he lacked a source, so female
members came to his rescue.
Old pill bottles with labels
removed make airtight seed
Make your own compost. You do
not need a proper bin, as a heap on
the ground will work.
Renovating your home or know
someone who is?
Save old window
frames to cover
skips for bricks,
flower pots and
pieces of netting.
(Be a good
what you are
are perfect for
pieces of someone
vegetables such as rhubarb and globe
Grow herbs from small rooted
pieces. Rosemary, bay, thyme and
lavender can be propagated from
cuttings put in small pots of gritty
Share seed with friends. For
example, a packet of Manchester
Table carrots contains 1500 seeds
for just $2; Great Lakes lettuce 1000
seeds for $3; and Greenfeast peas are
$3 for 300. If three people each buy
a packet of different seed and divide
it three ways, there will be enough
for a season’s sowing of these three
vegetables for $2.67 a family. With
short-lived seed, such as parsnip and
parsley, sharing means excess seed is
Keep egg-sized potato tubers,
oka (yams), garlic cloves, Jerusalem
artichokes and tomato seed to sow
in spring. Spread tomato seed on
kitchen paper, leave in a warm place
and store when completely dry.
Do not save seed from F1 hybrid
varieties, such as the popular Sweet
100, as they will not grow true to
Be aware, too, that some
supermarket vegetables, such as
garlic, potatoes and oka, are treated to
inhibit sprouting, so saving them for
growing in the home garden is not
recommended. (You may be lucky but
it could be a waste of effort.)
With clubs in Greymouth, Hokitika
and Westport, most people will be
within easy reach of a garden club.
Spend a little money and join one,
not only for the inexpensive plants
members sell but also to learn how to
Gillian Vine has a gardening
blog at http://gillianssoutherngarden.
Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 7
with Gillian Vine
An assortment of home-grown garden produce.
Growing from seed keeps down costs.
Parsley seed is short-lived, so share to avoid waste.
Raised beds can be an inexpensive option.
The colder months may be upon us, but
there are still plenty of things to do in the
garden. Many winter garden activities
will make for a fantastic spring, so do not
replace your gum boots for slippers just
Fruit and citrus
Fruitful citrus trees are at their peak
fruiting now and it is a great time to
select a citrus tree for your garden. Citrus
require a sunny spot and well drained soil
enriched with plenty of organic matter. A
few handfuls of plant food incorporated
into the planting hole is ideal. For
garden citrus, chose grafted trees, as the
rootstock imparts strong growth, good
fruit production and better resistance to
root rot problems. Make sure to select a
variety suited to your climate, especially
those in cooler zones where — nagami
cumquat, meyer and lisbon lemon,
wheeny grapefruit, satsuma ( Japanese)
mandarins, and valencia oranges are
among the best selections.
Dwarf citrus are ideal for containers
or smaller gardens, reaching 1.5 to 2 m
in ground and less in pots. It is only the
size of the tree that is compact, so expect
full sized fruit and a plentiful yield, on a
tree which grows steadily. Har vest citrus
as they ripen, but some, like Valencia
oranges, can remain on the tree well
into spring. If you have a glut of lemons
or limes, and are short on time to make
jams, curd or marmalade, pop the fruit
whole into the freezer. Although the skin
will soften as the fruit thaws, the juice
inside is perfect.
Citrus are using up lots of nutrients
growing all that delicious fruit, so
continue to feed them regularly with fast
acting plant food. It is fortified with extra
potassium to promote better quality fruit.
It is planting time for bare root roses.
Although they are just bare thorny stems
and roots during winter — they hold
the promise of beautiful spring flowers.
Whether you buy packaged bare root
roses or they arrive by mail order it is
important not to let them dry out, so
plant them out as soon as possible. After
unpacking your roses plunge the roots
into a bucket of water for an hour before
planting. Roses like a well drained soil
enriched with organics, so incorporate a
good sprinkling of plant food and fork it
all in well. Dig a hole 30-40cm across and
about 30cm deep. Form a mound of soil
in the base of the hole. Sit the rose on
top, spreading the roots over the mound.
Check that the bud union (the kink on
the stem) at the base will sit about 5cm
above the soil level after planting. Backfill
the hole, firming the soil with your hands.
Water the rose in well using a bucket of
water on each plant and then keep the
soil moist until new green shoots appear.
A layer of mulch around 50mm thick will
help retain soil moisture.
Sharpen your secateurs
Hold off pruning roses until July in
most areas and August in cold zones.
Although roses might look a bit scruffy
as leaves fall, do not be tempted to prune
too early. Roses respond well to pruning
and new shoots can be damaged by frost.
Collect and dispose of fallen leaves to help
minimise disease spore levels and spray
leafless roses to control over wintering
Flowers, trees and
Hydrangea ‘Levana’ is one of the latest
hydrangeas to tempt New Zealand
gardeners. It has lots of beautiful, large
fragrant white flowers. It is a disease free
variety which prefers a sunny location
and will grow in both acid and alkaline
Unpruned it will grow up to 4.5m tall
and 3m wide, but can easily be pruned in
spring to a more compact size. An added
bonus is that the lovely flowers also
attract insects into the garden.
These easy care orchids really come into
their own during winter with flamboyant
displays of gorgeous blooms. During
spring and summer they can be left in
a shady corner of the garden, with an
occasional splash of water and monthly
liquid feed. In autumn bring them out
into the sunshine as the flower spikes
develop. Flower spikes can be supported
with a small stake, or left to arch over
Continue feeding fortnightly and enjoy
the display as the buds unfurl. Snail and
slugs are a common problem, hiding at
the base of the leaves and under the rims
of pots, coming out at night to devour
flowers buds, so sprinkle around some
snail and slug pellets so you, not the snails
enjoy the display.
Ease off the watering of indoor plants as
they require much less water during the
cooler months. Wait till the soil surface is
dry to touch, then apply water, draining
off any excess. Water sitting in saucers
under indoor plants during winter spells
trouble. Move indoor plants well away
from heaters and an occasional mist of
water over the foliage helps maintain
humidity. Potted flowering indoor
beauties like cyclamen and phalaenopsis
(moth orchids) will benefit from regular
applications of liquid plant food which
encourages healthy leaf growth and lots
of beautiful flowers.
Vegetables and herbs
There is plenty going on in the winter
veggie patch. The winter brassicas like
broccoli, cabbage cauliflower, Brussels
sprouts and kale are growing steadily so
keep liquid feeding. Dwarf, sugar snap
and snow peas, broad beans and beetroot
can be sown in most areas.
Keep monitoring for caterpillars,
especially if cabbage white butterfly
are flying around your veggies. Control
destructive caterpillars effectively with
a spray of Yates Insect Gun. Salad bowl
crops of lettuce green mignonette, or
bronzed leaved brown mignonette enjoy
the cool growing conditions, and develop
small heads of tender leaves, perfect to
partner with winter meals and pasta
dishes. They can be sown directly into the
garden bed, and do well in containers or
troughs too. You can har vest young leaves
after 4 to 6 weeks, and heads mature in
8 to 10 weeks. If you prefer the large
headed iceberg type lettuce, choose
winter triumph iceberg, which matures
into a dark green compact head that is
full of flavour and crunch.
Broad beans is another delicious crop
which enjoys the cooler weather. Sow the
seeds around 15cm apart, in rows 70cm
apart, directly where you want them to
grow. The plants need some support as
can they grow to more than a metre tall,
so some stakes wound with string help.
Cleaned pill bottles can be used
to store seed.
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