News & tips -


As Auckland finally opens again some of us will feel ecstatic, while others will be very nervous. Whatever camp you find yourself in, 2020-21 has been a truly remarkable period and I think we are now all changed in some way, whether it be for good or ill. So, it’s a good thing that Christmas is almost upon us because it gives us something to think and talk about, other than the pandemic!

And what I want to talk about is courgettes or squash... They are an icon of the summer vegetable garden and come in many different varieties. I love growing courgettes, they are beautiful plants but I tend to only ever grow two, not because they are difficult and need lots of care but because any more than two plants leaves us drowning in courgettes which very rapidly turn into marrows! I favour the standard long green Black Mamba and the round, yellow scalloped shaped variety often known as summer squash Sunbeam F1. The trick with growing courgettes seems to be to pick them at their peak which is around 14cm. If you religiously pick them once they reach that size and discard the rest (compost pile) you are both getting courgettes with maximum flavour and the plant gets the message that the fruit is approaching maturity - viable seed is forming and so production slows down. If you keep picking the fruit your plants will produce over a longer period. Start your seeds off in a seedling tray and then plant them out. Water often when first planted and in dry spells, then feed occasionally with some tomato fertiliser anytime from when flowers first appear.

The meteorologists are telling us we are in for another hot summer, so that means your vege garden and lawn may suffer if it hasn’t got some respite from the sun. A well thought out plot would include planting vegetables with a bit of canopy next to those that need some protection from the scorching heat, however that plan doesn’t always work out - so cropsafe mesh or shadecloth really is a good idea along with plenty of mulch for the veges and some sort of watering system or a lovely neighbour if you're away.

Now for the lawn - unless you have a couch or kikuyu lawn, you really need to get some water crystals down and leave the grass a bit longer. It would also help to have an irrigation system because you will need to water it for around 5 mins every second day at the height of summer (over a non-rain period). Turf grasses can really struggle in a long hot summer, so give them all the help you can.

We have a new range of chook food arriving from Weston Stockfeed in the next couple of weeks which will be sold in both 10kg and 25kg bags. We'll send out an email when the stock arrives and will be giving away sample packs for anyone interested in trying something new for their birds!

Stuck for Christmas gift ideas?
Don’t forget our gift vouchers are a great present for friends and family and the Niwashi or Wolf tools are also a great gift idea for the gardeners in your life.