Potato Competition is all Go

Once again, the potato competition is underway. We've had a great start already with entries being taken away with everyone’s "Secret formula" being a closely held secret. This year we have chosen a truly local project. The Te Horo Community need help to raise funds to repair the Community Hall's kitchen floor. It’s a wonderful resource for our community and well worth our support. The variety this year is “Summer Delight”. This is a truly versatile spud. It’s a vigorous, disease-resistant potato. The flesh is creamy yellow, like 'Agria'. In spring its freshly dug potatoes have firm, waxy flesh that suits boiling or steaming. If you leave them until the plants die down in summer then the potatoes turn a bit floury and become better suited for baking, mashing and roasting. Tui has once again donated the potatoes and PrimeHort has doneated the grow bags as well as supplying some stunning pink garden gloves as prizes. Change of Harvest Date: 1st December We decided to change the date of Harvest to the 1st of December to ensure we do not clash with the Te Horo Christmas Market which is always on the second Saturday in December. On the 1st of December day look out for ♥ Raffles – especially the Firewood Raffle, win a trailer of split wood ♥ Homemade lemonade for sale ♥ Sausage Sizzle ♥ Potato based cakes for sale We have had an amazing response from our suppliers when I approached them for prizes. Once again Devon have donated a 1000L water tank. Redpath have donated 6 cloche kits, Kong's have donated BBQ equipment, DENZ have donated Diatomateous Earth and Revital have again offered fertilizers and potting mix. The offers are still coming in. Thanks to a suggestion from one of the entrants, the shop will participate this year. If, in the unlikely event we actually win the heaviest harvest, we will auction the 1000L water tank on the day. All proceeds to the hall project. Sounds like alot of fun. See you in the shop when you pick up your entry.

Easy steps to Seed Propagation

I love August for the fun that seed propagation brings. There’s nothing like seeing those new shoots coming through the seed raising mix. We have a great range of Kings seeds. The 40th Anniversary catalogue is now in store. Combine the Kings seeds with our range of seed propagation trays and heat pads and you increase your chance of success. When propagating this time of year, we always use our Super 7 heated Propagator. This neat little until keeps the seed mix temperature about 8 degrees warmer than the ambient temperature. We also have the Big 3 available. This is a bigger unit available that keeps the temperature at a constant 18-19 degrees which is the perfect temperature for germination.

How we raise our seeds.

  • We fill our seed tray with quality Tui Organic seed raising mix and dampen well – usually with a fine sprayer.
  • Firm down the seed raising mix gently
  • Sow the seeds using your fingers rather than sprinkling from the packet to give a more consistent spread
  • Cover the seeds with mix equivalent to the thinkness of the seeds
  • Water well using a fine sprayer. Don’t soak as this can sometimes cause a film over the seeds that the finer seeds have trouble breaking through.
  • Position in a warm place (propagator) with plenty of light but not direct sunlight.
  • When the seeds appear, you need to reduce the humidity – usually by opening the vent on the propagator lid. As the seeds get stronger you can remove the lid altogether.
  • Once they get a few cms high they need to be “pricked” out and put in their own pot. Crowding can cause seedlings to fail as they compete for oxygen and light. When you prick them out choose the strongest seedlings.
  • We then usually sit them in a tray on a Cocomat so they get enough water without drowning. This year we also have some smaller trays available with capillary matting that are ideal for sitting these seedlings on to encourage the roots to grow downward.
  • The young plants need to be “hardened” before you can plant them outside. We will place them in a sheltered area for a few days to gradually harden them to the strong sun and weather.
Remember – we still get frosts so once they are outside watch the weather!

Autopot News

The Autopots in my grow room are looking amazing. Especially the ones under the stronger HPS (High pressure sodium) lamp. These have outperformed the LED grow lights. Then again, it’s probably my inexperience at using the LED’s that have put those plants at a disadvantage. We have red tomatoes and red peppers ready for harvest. I haven’t taken any yet … they look too awesome to disturb just yet! In my greenhouse at home I’m still harvesting peppers from my Autopots. I feel a bit of a fraud as I’ve done nothing with them except ensure my tank has enough water and nutrient. I’m often asked if I can taste the difference between Hydroponics produce and “normal”. Although I think the variety is really what makes the difference, I have to say, these peppers from my greenhouse are incredibly sweet and way tastier than anything I have ever bought from the supermarket.

Star Performers from our garden

We have two outstanding performers in our garden at the moment. The Rhubarb variety is Cherry Red. This was grown from seed only last year and we have harvested Rhubarb from it already. It's an incredible winter grower. Unlike most varieties that die down over the winter, this one has gone from strength to strength. Well worth a spot in the garden. The other plant that is well worth a spot in the garden is the yellow pea Wando Select. This pea was stunning last year with a Bean and Pea ring and again this winter hasn't dissappointed us. Not only are the peas delicious as a type of snow pea they are an extremely attractive plant worth growing for the floral display during the dreary winter months.

Monthly Special

Compost is again on special this month to help you get those beds ready for the sprint planting.

Buy 2 Revital compost for $15.00 - usually $8.50 each

Vaild to 31 August 2018

Offer only good in store, does not apply to online purchases.

Heather’s Corner

Now is the time we all want to get out in our gardens. We’re busy adding compost, raising seedlings, potting up our new baskets and pots and generally looking forward warmer weather and summer. We thought it timely to remind you of the need to also take care and heed precautions when dealing with soil and bagged mixes. We want all our lovely gardeners to stay well. Take a minute to read this article put out by NZPPI. Safer Gardening & Legionnaires’ Disease Gardening is a popular pastime enjoyed by thousands of New Zealanders, helping people relax and escape the stresses of life. It provides enjoyment and exercise. The huge growth of interest in home-grown vegetables and fruit in recent years has added to people’s culinary enjoyment, and helped stretch their budgets further. Soil is rich with living organisms beneficial to plants which generally cause no harm to animals or people. Soil does however contain some organisms that can be harmful to people, if simple precautions are not taken. A type of Legionella bacteria, which is commonly found in the environment, is one of these. It has been shown to cause Legionnaires’ disease in a few people. This guide provides some simple and natural steps that all gardeners can take to reduce risk while continuing to enjoy their garden. Legionella and legionellosis Legionnaires’ disease (legionellosis) is a respiratory (lung) infection, caused by the Legionella bacteria and may be contracted from air conditioning and when you handle garden soils, compost and potting mixes. Legionella bacteria occur naturally in the environment and are common in water, garden soils, compost, soil conditioner and potting mixes. Legionella appears to infect humans by inhalation of dust or liquid droplets contaminated with the bacteria. The severity of legionellosis can range from a relatively mild respiratory non-pneumonic illness (Pontiac fever) to pneumonia (Legionnaires’ disease) which, if left untreated, may be fatal. There are two strains of Legionella bacteria responsible for most cases of legionellosis in New Zealand. Legionella pneumophilia has been responsible for illnesses linked to engineered water systems and cooling towers used in air conditioning systems of buildings. On the other hand human exposure to Legionella longbeachae, has been linked to the inhalation of airborne droplets or particles from garden soils, potting mix or composts containing the bacteria. Few who come into contact with the bacteria become sick and symptoms will vary from person to person. NZPPI Advice Sheet Symptoms If people become infected with Legionella, they may get flu-like symptoms that can range from mild to severe. Those in good health may experience little more than mild flu-like symptoms. It is more common in older people, particularly if they smoke, have poor immunity or have a chronic illness. There has been no reported person-to person transmission of the bacteria. Symptoms can include: • muscle aches • headaches • tiredness • chills • shortness of breath • loss of appetite • coughing • stomach pain and diarrhoea. If left untreated, the disease can progress to Legionnaires’ disease, and require hospitalisation. In severe cases, death has resulted from contracting this disease. The period between exposure and onset of illness for Legionnaires’ disease can vary between 2-14 days. For Pontiac fever, the onset of illness usually occurs between 5 hours to three days. People who develop a flu-like illness which is worsening should see a doctor immediate. Happy gardening everyone, we are looking forward to hearing about all your new planting.