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News & tips for June 2020


News & tips for June 2020 name

It’s raining here in Auckland, not the light misty grey drizzle of a gloomy winter’s day but a fierce rain bursting with unspent energy, all its lifegiving power on glorious display. It's wonderful and gives me a sense of hope and reassurance that is much needed right now. I think that’s what gardening does too; it is an exercise in hope. One that can be cruelly dashed by a pesky caterpillar but just as sweetly fulfilled by the emergence of a spring bud or the overnight appearance of a cauliflower curd.

Gardening is like a cryptic crossword. You use what you know and fill in the unknowns. My ‘knowns’ are the things I can’t control, they are just what I have to deal with i.e. the weather, soil type and situation. What I can control but with an unknown or variable effect are - what and how much I feed my plants, what I plant in the garden and the amount of intervention (pruning, pest and weed control) I practice. The puzzle is solved once my unknowns become knowns. This month I want to focus on one of my ‘unknowns’ - what to feed my plants. Personally, I prefer to spend a great deal of time feeding my soil and getting that in top condition so that it’s the soil feeding the plants not me!

Seaweed is a fantastic soil conditioner and plant fertiliser. I use it as much as I can even making my own when I can. However, I won’t have to now, as we recently added Natrakelp seaweed fertiliser and soil conditioner to our range instore. Personally, I think it’s a fantastic product and will be a great addition to the natural products that I use.

What to plant now?

Shallots. Yes, they do take as long as garlic (6 months) but they have such a lovely flavour you really should give them a go. They need full sun and good, nutrient rich, free draining soil. Press them into the soil 15 to 20 cm apart but leave half the bulb poking out. Water regularly if its dry but reduce watering a month before harvest so they keep better. Keep them weed free and remove any flower stalks you see growing. Easy peasy.

One of our customers has asked me how to stop potatoes sprouting. She doesn’t want to plant now as its too cold in her neck of the woods - I’m talking snow cold. One method I have been told about is to put them in the fridge as it will reduce the sprouting. If anyone else has any suggestions email them to me at
Lawncare by John (the boss lawn person)
It’s a funny old season for lawns - they should be well tucked up in their dormant state but most are still growing with the climate being warmer than normal so it might be an idea to strengthen it up with a good seaweed-based fertiliser like Natrakelp. It’s also a good time for deterring moss with a good liming and maybe some sulphate of iron because - as you probably know - grass don’t grow where moss grows. The other nuisance is rogue grasses that have snuck in while you weren’t looking. Easy to identify because they grow faster than your real lawn grass and they’re normally a different lighter green colour. I have a little chisel like digger and I pop a few out before mowing just to show them they aren’t wanted.  Do the same if you can.

That’s all from us for now. Keep warm and well and focus on what you can control!

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