Home' Greymouth Star : October 5th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
In the Garden
National Gardening Week returns
from October 6 to 13 and to
celebrate Yates and the Greymouth
Star are giving away a fabulous
Yates National Gardening Week
starter hamper valued at $225.
The hamper includes. —
Yates Garden Guide — new
79th edition, fully revised with new
sections on community gardens and
bee friendly gardening.
Thrive Fish Blood and Bone 2
litre hose on to ensure strong, lush
plant growth and healthy soil.
Thrive Natural Seaweed 1 litre
— Biogro organically certified tonic
for healthy roots.
Thrive Natural Fish and
Seaweed plus for feeding hungry
Zero Tough — the toughest
weed killer in town. Will get rid of
gorse, blackberry, wandering jew,
convolvulus, ivy, onion weed and
Zero Rapid — starts working
immediately and shows visible
results within just one hour.
Nature’s Way Veggie Insect
Spray, made from natural vegetable
oils to target whitefly, aphids and
Nature’s Way Citrus and
Ornamental organically certified
insecticide for control of insect
pests on fruit trees, ornamental
plants and vegetables.
A range of Yates seeds
including celeriac mars, genovese
basil, cut and come again lettuce,
bright lights silverbeet, silky mix
asclepias, zucchini solar flare
hybrid, birds eye chilli, spoon
mustard tatsoi, hughey
broad beans, ginormous
flower zilla sunflower,
alyssum magic circles,
Florence fennel, lamb’s
lettuce and red Russian
To win the starter
hamper, send your
name, address and
daytime phone number
Yates Prize Pack
7805 or e-mail
Yates Prize Pack in the
Strictly one entr y per
close October 12.
Week aims to foster
a love of gardening
with a focus on
growing not only
plants but friendships,
strong communities and closer
connections with nature.
This year’s National Gardening
Week is about getting everyone into
the garden, whether experienced,
passionate gardeners or just starting
During the week people are
encouraged to help out in their
community garden, lend a hand in
a neighbour’s garden or get stuck in
to their own.
Also to celebrate National
Gardening Week, Yates is giving
away free veggie seeds between
October 1 and 13.
Just register on-line during this
time to receive your packet of seeds.
Ten things to do during National
gardening week. —
Begin a bee friendly garden —
blue, purple and yellow-flowering
plants are their favourites.
Brighten up the garden with a
hanging basket of flowers — or fill
with strawberry plants.
Plant microgreens for the
Feed your plants to get them
ready for the spring growth spurt.
Start a compost bin or worm
bin to convert kitchen scraps into a
valuable plant food.
Volunteer for a local replanting
Join your local garden club.
Lend a hand in your
Help a neighbour in need —
offer to weed their garden.
Visit a botanical garden or
local park and stop and smell the
Star has five copies of
the October issue of
New Zealand Gardener
magazine to give away
This issue has everything
you need to know about
how to grow tasty tomatoes.
Send your name, address
and daytime phone number
C/- Greymouth Star
or e-mail competitions@
Garden Giveaway in the
One entry per household.
Entries close on October 12.
Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 7
with Gillian Vine
Dahlias are one of the best value
garden plants for summer colour.
Planted in spring, they will flower
from December right through summer
to late autumn.
Native to Mexico and first introduced
into Europe in the 1600s, dahlias have
been so extensively cross-bred over
hundreds of years that the dahlia family
now includes a large range of flower
types, plant sizes and every colour
Over 40 of these different varieties
are still available to purchase right now
Dahlias are sorted into main groups
according to their flower shape.
The most common types are the
cactus dahlia, with a spiky appearance
and decorative dahlias which include a
range of forms from tight ball-shaped
flowers through to more open forms
called water lily dahlias.
As well as these two, other common
types include dwarf forms ideal for
borders or potting, and single flowered
Dahlias are frost tender and should
not be planted out until all danger of
frost has passed. They prefer a full sun
location, but will tolerate some shade.
Drainage is very important as the
tubers do not like being water logged
for any length of time. In high rainfall
or wet areas they can easily be grown by
using slightly raised beds to help with
Plant the tubers with the crown just
below the surface of the soil and water
Little attention is required during
growing other than to make sure they
are watered if conditions get quite dry.
Removing old flower heads will keep
the plants looking tidy and helps the
plant to keep flowering to the end of
The flowers can be picked for indoor
use but will not continue to open off
the plant, so should be picked only
when they are open already.
Dahlia plants go through different
stages of growth depending on the day
During long day length in mid-
summer the plants produce a lot of
top growth and flowers. Decreasing
day length during autumn triggers the
plants into tuber production below the
ground. The tubers prepare the plant for
winter dormancy and store energy ready
for growing again next spring.
Because our winters are relatively
wet, tubers can be lost to rot if left in
the ground over winter. It is best to dig
them up each year in late autumn after
the first frosts have knocked the leaves
back. Lift them carefully and split any
large clumps up into smaller ones.
Be sure to keep some of the crown as
a part of each section when splitting
the clumps — it is from the crown that
the new shoots develop in spring. Rinse
the tubers off to clean them and after
drying, store them in a cool, airy place
until replanting in spring.
member of the
vast lily family,
close relatives of
garlic and chives.
Shallots are botanically the same
as garden onions but spring onions
belong to another branch of the
family, A. fistulosum, or Welsh
onions but have nothing to do with
Wales, as the plants originated in
Nor is there any evidence that
Egyptian onions came from Egypt,
although onions were eaten there
at least 5000 years ago. Hardy
perennials, Egyptian onions grow
little bulblets where other onions
Pop bulblets into the ground and
away they go.
Another Egyptian staple was
the leek (A. ampeloprasum), so
forget the Welsh connection, and
if that is not confusing enough,
consider garlic. The smaller one is
A. sativum but elephant garlic is
actually a wild leek.
An onion gardeners hate is A.
triquetrum, the wild garlic, a pesky
plant with snowdrop-like white
flowers and bulbs that multiply
rapidly. Do not let them seed and
dig out bulbs but do not put them
in the compost bin unless they
have first been left in a bucket of
boiling water to kill the brutes.
Whatever type is chosen, onions
should be grown in very rich,
well-drained soil because their root
systems are limited.
They can tolerate only slightly
about right for them), so in most
gardens, it will be necessary to add
lime at the rate of about 60g per
of brown onions like Pukekohe
Long Keeper but plants can be
bought from garden centres. Sow
red onions now (my favourites are
Red Rambo and California Red),
as well as spring onions, and to
reduce the chance of disease grow
them in a different area each year.
When seed is sown directly into
the garden, the young plants are
fiddly to weed around. I find it
easier to start them in trays of
seed-raising mix, transplanting
when big enough to handle.
Sowing in trays also makes it easier
to maintain soil moisture, vital for
the success of onions.
As onions grow, watch for any
going to seed (“bolting”). Dig
these and use at once, as they will
When onions mature in late
summer, lift them on a dry day
and store in a shed where air can
In the kitchen, if you wonder
why peeling an onion brings tears
to your eyes, it is the fault of a gas
called syn-propanethial-S -oxide,
released when the vegetable is cut.
The gas mixes with the moisture in
your eyes, forming a weak solution
of sulphuric acid and you weep to
try to flush out the acid.
It is enough to make a cook cry.
Dry onions outside or in a warm, dry shed.
Prizewinning brown onions.
Pull out onions if they go to seed (“bolt”).
Red Rambo is a reliable red variety.
Win a $225 gardening hamper
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