Home' Greymouth Star : September 3rd 2015 Contents Greymouth Star
In the Garden
Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 7
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with Gillian Vine
arrots are often
described as easy
to grow but to do
well there are three
qualifying “ifs” —
if your ground is
not too rich, if the soil is fine and if
the minimum temperature is above
5degC when seed is sown.
There are three types of carrot. Ball
or block varieties like Paris market
and baby are useful for stony or
rough soil, as they grow only about
Berlicum, chantenay or stump-
rooted carrots are straight with
blunt ends, of medium length
(about 20cm) and include popular
Nantes carrots, longer than
berlicum, are straight with pointed
ends. Varieties include senior and
The ideal soil for carrots is light,
moist and fertile but without a trace
of fresh manure, as this will result
in forked roots. Lumpy, stony soil
will also distort the roots, so break
up clods and remove as many stones
as possible. If this is not feasible, try
growing ball varieties.
It takes about 10 days for carrots
to pop up but they may fail to
germinate if sown when the soil is
Space rows about 30cm apart so
hoeing to keep down weeds is easier.
Alternatively, pack them closer so
the foliage blocks light and helps
keep out weeds.
Sow carrots where they are
to grow, as they do not do the
transplanting thing well. Make a
groove about 1.5cm deep and trickle
in the seed. Cover with about 5mm
of soil and press down gently, then
water lightly. Keep the soil moist.
As carrots grow, they will need
to be thinned, usually more than
once. Slim varieties, such as Ladies
Finger, should end up about 1.5cm
apart, while large-rooted main-crop
varieties need 5cm-10cm between
plants. Smaller varieties take up to
80 days to mature, larger carrots 90
to 100 days.
If you get tired of orange carrots,
seed of white, yellow and purple is
The major pest
is carrot fly (Psila
found only in the
but now in almost
every part of New
Carrot-fly lar vae
winter over in
turnips, celery and
the weed hemlock
then the dark,
flies, 5-8mm long,
in September or
eggs are laid in
the soil. The lar vae
burrow into the
massive damage. It
is believed carrot
flies are drawn
by the smell of
crushed foliage, so
smelling crops like
onions and garlic between rows of
carrots may help.
The organophosphate chemical
diazinon (banned in the EU but not
to be phased out here until 2028)
controls the pest but gardeners
dubious about using it may prefer
covering the crop with fine mesh or
— because carrot flies are low-flying
insects — putting a shield around
Breeders are trying to produce fly-
resistant carrots, so far with limited
Welcome to spring!
It is an absolutely
wonderful time in the
garden with lots of
new growth and a rainbow of flowers.
September is feeding time. You can
feed everything this month — roses,
citrus, trees, shrubs, lawns, herbs and
veggies. Fertilising makes such a huge
difference to plant health so get out
into the garden and get feeding!
The humble lemon is one of the most
productive backyard fruit trees. Choose
the right variety for your area and
you can soon enjoy fresh home grown
lemons. The important requirements
for lemons (and most citrus trees)
are very well drained soil, a full sun
position, regular water and regular
applications of citrus liquid plant food.
Grafted trees are best in gardens
as the strong root system resists root
rot diseases (eg phytophthora) and
promotes healthy growth and abundant
Dwarf citrus trees, grafted on to
flying dragon rootstock which restricts
the size of the tree but not the fruit, are
ideal for smaller gardens and in large
pots. Cutting grown trees such as lots-
a-lemons are best suited to large pots
which provide adequate drainage for
these dwarf multi-stemmed plants.
Best home garden lemon varieties
Eureka lemon — very productive,
fruits nearly all year round, with large
medium to thick skinned lemons
which are juicy, very acidic and have
few seeds. It is a large upright, cold
Meyer — a thin skinned, super
juicy lemon with a mild acid content,
cropping several times a year. The fruit
has a deep golden colour when ripe.
It is a wide spreading tree, and is very
Lisbon — a very cold tolerant variety,
large thick skinned fruit, very juicy
and acidic with few seeds. A vigorous
upright tree which mostly crops in mid
to late winter.
Lemonade — a less acidic lemon
with a sweeter milder flavour, which
is delicious eaten fresh or juiced. It is
a vigorous tree and thrives in warm
If you missed feeding your home
grown citrus in August, there is still
time to boost hungry trees (and all
fruiting plants) with applications of
citrus liquid plant food. This complete
fertiliser contains fast acting nutrients
to help boost growth and produce
more abundant fruit.
A serious pest of apple and pear trees
is codling moth, and as trees set flowers
it is time to begin control sprays.
Codling moth caterpillars burrow
into and destroy the fruit. Developed
from beneficial soil bacteria, success
ultra is a highly effective, low toxic
spray to control this pest safely, so you
can enjoy undamaged apples and pears.
Start spraying for codling moth from
petal fall. Several sprays are required to
control subsequent life cycles.
It will also control caterpillars on
other fruit trees and vegetables. The
active ingredient, spinetoram, has
translaminar action which means it
moves into the leaf, helping to protect
it from sunlight and rain.
As cymbidium orchids finish
flowering, they can be divided and
repotted. Although crowded plants
bloom happily for years, flower and
foliage production gradually tapers
off, so remove cymbidiums from their
containers, divide into large clumps
using a sharp knife (Tip: be generous,
the smaller the clump, the longer they
will take to re-flower), discard old
withered bulbs, trim back any damaged
roots and repot into fresh quality
coarse orchid potting mix. Place the
newly potted plants in a dappled shade
position, protected from hot afternoon
sun during spring and summer and
water in well. Orchid liquid plant food
is ideal for spring orchid feeding.
Sow seeds of annual petunia now
for a long lasting display of summer
colour. These hardy annuals are heat
busters with vivid flowers from late
spring to autumn, making them great
value. Petunias and portulaca have
low spreading growth to fill gaps with
colour. Zinnia is compact and domed
flowers are perfect for picking. Sow
seeds directly where you want them to
grow in sunny garden beds, borders or
Berr y delightful
Tie up the long canes of raspberry
as they grow, and net crops as the fruit
develops, to protect the fruit from
To encourage healthy foliage growth
and lots of raspberries, feed regularly
with soluble flower and fruit.
Blueberries prefer an acidic well
drained soil, so growing them in large
pots (400mm pots are ideal) filled with
quality potting mix makes good sense.
To lower soil pH, treat the soil with
soil acidifier liquid sulfur every 4 weeks
until the correct pH is achieved and
fertilise in spring using acticote fruit,
citrus, trees and shrubs which feeds
continually for up to 12 months.
When choosing blueberry varieties,
northern highbush is suited to cooler
areas as they require lots of chilling
hours and rabbiteye and southern
highbush prefer warmer areas.
Spring is an ideal time to freshen up
your indoor plants. Repot any which
have been in the same container for
over two years. Remove the plant from
the original container, shake off some
of the old potting mix and repot into
the same or a slightly larger container
using good quality potting mix.
Blend a spoonful of acticote pots snd
planters through the mix for an instant
release of nutrients, then controlled
feeding over 12 months. Water the
plant thoroughly, allow the water to
drain away, then return the plant to its
Tip: Keep indoor plants dust free by
placing them in the shower for a quick
rinse off every four weeks.
Tidy trim backs
Geraniums, pelargoniums, fuchsia
and hibiscus can be trimmed back
and tidied up now. Use secateurs
or hedge shears to remove around
a third of the old woody growth, to
encourage fresh new growth and lots
of summer flowers. Follow pruning
with an application of thrive flower
and fruit which encourages plenty of
new growth and prolific flowering,
then a layer of organic mulch for
garden plants. Top up potted plants
with additional fresh potting mix if the
original mix has slumped.
Spring wake up!
Liquid fertilisers are an easy and
quick way to give spring gardens a
much needed post winter refresh.
Liquid fertilisers help support the
flush of spring growth and encourage
lots of flowers. New natural fish and
seaweed contains a special combination
of fish and seaweed, as well as a soil
conditioner, which provide organic
nutrients and enrich and nurture soils
and improve plant nutrient uptake. It is
also boosted with fast acting nutrients
for rapid results. It gives all the health
tonic benefits of seaweed as well as
the nutrients plants need for healthy
David and Priscilla Kerley of
Cambridge set about rescuing English
double primulas from near extinction
back in the 1990s. After decades
of careful breeding and selection
they chose a dozen of the very best
colours. These became the belarina
double primulas. We have five in
New Zealand, valentine (dark red),
buttercup (yellow) cream cobalt (dark
blue) and pink ice (pink frosted with
These flower for months across
much of New Zealand, providing
outstanding spring interest and giving
a lovely woodland feel to the spring
garden. Available in most garden
centres in September.
Supplied by Yates
The sides of this carrot bed can be used as a frame to hold fine mesh to keep out carrot fly.
Left unthinned, carrots can twist like this.
Types of carrots include blocky Parmex, left, slender mini sweet and berlicum-type touchon.
September job file Prizes to win
The Greymouth Star has five
copies each of the September
issues of New Zealand Gardener
and NZ House and Garden
magazines to give away.
NZ House and Garden
features a former quake
damaged Lyttelton loft, and
a summer retreat on the
New Zealand Gardener
comes with a set of wildflower
seeds with features on planting
summer crops and helping bees
To go in the draw your entries
must include your name, address
and phone number.
Send them to. —
C/o Greymouth Star
PO Box 3 Greymouth
with garden in the subject line.
One entry per household.
Entries close on September 10.
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