I always feel that October is the month for playing Russian Roulette. It’s the month of “Will I, won’t I” plant out. We have plants we have tended in the greenhouse just waiting to be planted into the garden but at this time of year we are always under threat of a sudden frost or hail or high wind that can turn the nurtured potential of these seedlings into mush. Of course once you protect from the weather there are an abundance of bugs to keep you on your toes.
Here at the shop we are in full swing getting out the cloche covers, Nets and tunnels to give the seedlings a head start. My favorite for the smaller 1m square garden is the plastic greenhouse that fits snuggly over our little beds by the path. Don’t worry if you don’t have a raised bed these covers can be used over any area and pegged with tent pegs. Another cover is the pop-up net cover that is irreplaceable here with the rabbit population that loves to snack on all our hard work.
Heather and I are quite organized with our planning this year. The beds have had green manure crops over winter. Gardeners Choice and Revital compost has been added as well as Rok Solid and now we are waiting for the weather to play the part so we can plant. Labour weekend is always the go button for planting outside and we have mapped out what is going where.
If you haven’t already, make sure you mark the morning of Saturday December 1st in your diary to come in and enjoy the fun with our potato growing competition. We’re raising funds for the Te Horo Community Hall. Again, many thanks to those that entered and good luck with your growing. Even if you haven’t entered pop down. There will be a sausage sizzle, cake stall and raffles. The shop potato had an early start in the green house and now looks amazing. If the shop grows the best harvest, we will raffle off the 1000L water tank that Devan have kindly offered as a prize again this year.
We’re in full swing planting up our AutoPots for our summer crops. Once again we’re trying different media combinations to see what does best in clay balls, coco fibre, mixes and soil. I’m very excited about running organic trials this year. Remember the Spring Special detailed below of a free bottle of nutrient with every 4pot system sold.
Our AutoPots have given us a great harvest of spring onion, parsley and leeks outside and inside I harvested the tomatoes and peppers. The Peppers were interesting. About one in 5 was actually quite hot – much to the disgust of my teenage boys. So I gave up putting them on the plate and made Capsicum relish instead.
The recipe I used was from https://www.chelsea.co.nz/browse-recipes/red-capsicum-relish/ This is really tasty and beautiful to look at. I will bookmark this recipe for my list of staple preserves.
I’ve also got a huge number of the Jingle Bell peppers I grew over winter to stuff with feta for pepper dew. I grew tomatillo’s in the AutoPots last summer. We planted 2 plants and I made 2 batches of salsa and had so many left over that I threw them in the freezer. We’ve finished the salsa jars so I’m also about to make another batch of salsa. Daylight saving may have started but I still don’t have enough hours in the day.
Top and flop crops
Looking back over our planting I have learned a lot about the timing of putting in seeds. It’s all very well having the numbers indicating the times to sow but some times really are better than others.
Our broad beans are now a top crop but a couple of months ago I would have classified them as a flop. We planted them quite early and the bees were just not around to pollinate the early flowers. Consequently, the plants grew rather large before they finally started to pod up. Now it’s a case of putting up with the messy look while we harvest the pods. I’m not overly pedantic about tidy plants but these are really testing my patience. No point however to pull them out until the magic Labour weekend when I can plant something else.
This year we put parsnips in one of the raised beds. Although the tops look healthy the bottoms are a total flop. Further investigation shows this is due to planting them too late. Parsnips require a very long growing period and if you want to grow this tasty root vegetable my advice would be to pick a space in the garden that you wont need for a year and plant them now. They really are a very slow germinator taking up to 6 weeks to make their appearance. I read that you can plant beetroot with the parsnips. This helps space the parsnips and the beetroot is done and eaten before the main crop gets under way.
Customer Brag Box – Star performers
Be in to win! Each month we are going to give away a prize of 1L of Autopot nutrient or Neem granules to the most impressive photo a customer has sent in to us. To start this month we have these great strawberry photos from Jane. Please pop into the shop to share your photos or email them to us here.
The spring Autopot special is still available. Till Labour weekend we will celebrate spring and help you with your growing. We will be adding the 5 litre Autopot nutrient free (valued at $60) with every Autopot 4pot system sold until Labour weekend at the normal price of $199. Normal retail for this package would be $265 That’s a saving of $60. Sorry only available to in store purchases.
It’s that time of year again when we all get excited about planting our gardens. The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer so there’s no excuse not to get out there and get growing. So many people are strapped for time these days but with a little preparation you too can have a fantastic garden. Compost is always a good start, a sprinkling of Tui Sheep Pellets and Rok Solid added to this and you have a good base to plant into. The health benefits of growing your own make it an incentive to try. Just think, no spray or ugly chemicals that you don’t even know what they are, but food that you know exactly what has gone into it, food that is picked and used fresh the same day. Apart from the flavour It has got to be beneficial for your health. Encourage your non-gardening friends and relatives to give it a go too. Let everyone know how rewarding gardening can be.