News & tips -


Lesson learned from summer gardening - do not attempt to remove hedge with a shovel in the middle of the hottest day of the year with no protection from the sun. It took me days to recover. There will be no such attempts at martyrdom this coming Anniversary Weekend as the recent run of golden weather comes to an end and my garden gets some much needed rain. It may however be an ideal time to get some grass in the ground especially if you are looking at sowing a summer grass such as Bermuda or Kikuyu as it’s hot and if the forecast is to be believed also going to be quite wet. Both Kikuyu and Bermuda grass need lots of water and heat to germinate and given these conditions they can grow almost anywhere.

If summer grasses aren’t your thing, then it may be best to wait until autumn to put a new lawn in. But if your soil isn’t ideal either, then you can use this time to get it into shape. We have had our first delivery of biochar which is an excellent soil conditioner especially for those soils that are quite sandy. Click here to read more. If you add biochar to some organic matter to activate it and then let it sit before application, it can do wonders both with moisture and nutrient retention.

With all the rain we have had over summer and with the latest drenching, soil can leach nutrients so you may need to fertilise some crops, especially if you notice yellowing of leaves and poor yields. Organic matter is best - wonder nuggets, blood and bone or seaweed fertiliser are all good options.

Many factors play into whether heavy rains lead to nutrient loss. Some of these factors are how much it rained, what soil type you have, what crop you grew, how much fertiliser you applied, how quickly it rained after you applied the fertiliser, and whether you have irrigation. One of the key factors that determines if water will become soil moisture or runoff is rainfall intensity. The soil can only absorb water so fast. This is the soil’s infiltration rate. If rainfall intensity exceeds the soil’s infiltration rate, you get ponding or runoff.

Infiltration rate depends on both the soil’s physical properties (texture, bulk density, etc.) and its moisture content. Courser-textured soils absorb water faster than finer-textured soils. Drier soils absorb water faster than wetter ones. Less compacted soils absorb water faster than more compacted ones. In general, if soil moisture is high and you get a high-intensity rainfall event, then conditions are right for surface runoff.

Newton’s is excited to announce that we are now delivering to the South Island, so if you have any friends or relatives living in the mainland, give us a shout out!

I think that’s about it as we up here in the top of the North Island head into a holiday weekend and yet another drenching! Our physical shop is open on Saturday as usual but closed on Monday.

Happy gardening and happy Anniversary weekend Auckland!