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Winters nearly gone … I hope

I know I shouldn’t complain, we’ve had a pretty mild winter really but this current cold snap is making me feel cold. I’m usually out in all sorts of weather but even the animals aren’t inclined to go out in this. I’m very impressed with my winter garden this year. I’ve had a food box (pictured above) from the gardens – both at the shop and at home to keep me going all winter. My current favourite is Tabbouleh from the parsley, chili, tomato and lemons I’ve harvested as well as organic quinoa to ensure it’s gluten free. Despite the cold there’s always something from the garden to remind me it’s worth the effort.

Potato competition is here again

This year we are once again supporting a local project.  With the new expressway extending from Peka Peka to Otaki the historical Mirek Smíšek Kilns need to be preserved.

Mirek Smíšek was one of the founders of the modern ceramic arts movement in New Zealand and became internationally recognized for his work.  For nearly 30 years he lived and worked in Te Horo, firing his work in the two large beehive kilns he built, and which are now the surviving elements of his pottery.  The Mirek Smíšek Arts Trust aims to build on his legacy to create an arts centre around the kilns to celebrate ceramic arts and the arts and crafts of tangata whenua. 

This will be an amazing asset to our community to enable us to preserve the past while giving a new generation of artists inspiration.

Devan have again indicated they will support us with a prize.  This year, as well as having the amazing prizes offered by our wonderful suppliers, we will raffle the 1000L tank.  Every entry will go into the draw for the tank and additional raffles can be purchased in store.  

Swift is the variety on offer from Tui this year. It’s perfect for the competition as it’s ready to harvest in 90 days so plant it in August and the harvest date is the 14th of December which is the second Saturday in December. Rules and conditions apply and will be given when you enter. Mark it in your diary!

Foliar Feeding

Recently I have been foliar feeding my salad greens in my little propagation tent so I thought I’d share what I’ve found.  I’ve had great results using the tent for microgreens and I wanted to try growing some mesclun and rocket to a larger stage to replace those plastic wrapped salad bags in the supermarket.  They seemed to grow to a certain stage and then stop so I figured they had run out of food in the shallow tray I had planted them in. 

Foliar feeding has a 90-95% absorption rate as compared to the 10% from soil feeding so make sure your foliar feed is very dilute or you will burn the leaves. I recommend about ¼ of your normal feed.

Feed when there is little light around.  Just like spraying oil-based insect control you need to spray early in the morning or early evening.  Any water drops left on the leaves can heat up and burn the leaves if the heat / light is too intense.

If you can, spray the underside of the leaves as well – not so easy with my small plants but this gives twice the surface area for the plant to absorb the nutrients.

Make sure your sprayer has a fine mist.  Too much of anything is never a good idea and large drops will stop the leaves from breathing.

Finally – don’t overdo it.  Like fertiliser use, it is the balance of the nutrients that makes it a success.

AutoPot News

Our AutoPots in the greenhouse are doing well with cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, rhubarb and a Hungarian Yellow Wax Chili as the star performer.  The chili is now a mild one but during the summer I thought it was quite hot.  Goes to show that you need heat to grow hot chili.  The tomatoes were only pulled out in the last week to make sure we can clean the greenhouse thoroughly before the next seasons plants go in there.  I still have the last picking of tomatoes in the fridge but the tomatoes in the grow tent are a bit slow, so I may have to buy tomatoes for the first time in 18 months. 

New in stock

The last shipment has some great products to add to our range.

AutoPot XL9. With the increased interest in the XL 25L AutoPot range we have brought in the AutoPot XL 9. This is a single tray with spaces for 9 XL pots running off a single valve.  Great idea to save plumbing and housework and apparently very popular overseas in commercial situations.  I’ll be interested to see how it performs.

12 Cell seed success propagators.  This self-watering propagator features an internal water reservoir. The growing trays are supported above the reservoir on raised platforms which are in turn covered in capillary matting. The plants draw the water naturally from the capillary matting as required. This 5-piece set is the perfect size to sit comfortably on a windowsill and includes a reservoir tray, support platform, 12 cell growing tray, capillary matting and a clear cover – Available for $13.50

Titan Tray The new Titan Tray is 1m x 55cm x 15cm and complements our range of garden trays.  Check out our web site for the full range now available.

Also available are Organic Monterey Strawberries and new season Potatoes – Cliffs Kidney, Purple Passion and Heather.

Shop Special

With spring around the corner, we are all thinking about the seeds we will be propagating.  This month we are having a special on the Garland Large High Dome Propagators.  Usually $25.00 this month in store we will be selling them for $19.99

Heather’s corner

It’s that time again. Time to start thinking about seeds, planning, organising and dreaming! And to help, Kings Seeds have their new catalogue out now with loads of old favourites and some new ones too. One that we’ve been asked for over and over is Soybean, and at long last it’s in the catalogue. Hopefully Kings has plenty of stock as it’s sure to be popular. If you have a greenhouse, it’s time to be sowing tomatoes to get them into pots for an early crop. It’s a bit early to start them for outdoor planting.

We also have seed potatoes in store now. The varieties we have are Cliff Kidney, Purple Passion and Heather. Get them chitting now and they’ll be good to go into the ground in September. You just need to be aware of the odd late frost, but frost cloth will solve that problem.

Hopefully the days are warming now and we can all get on to our spring planting before long.

Happy gardening!

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