News & tips -


I had expected this newsletter to announce the much-anticipated arrival of summer bulbs - unfortunately it seems I missed the ordering window - which is two or so months before you plant them. That’s how the bulb buying season works apparently. However, that means that it's not too long before I need to order next year’s spring bulbs in January. I will keep you updated on when they will be ready to order.

So instead of planting summer bulbs - how about trying out watermelon! They are fun to grow and even better to eat and particularly suitable for the upper North Island climate as they prefer a wet, humid environment to get out of the ground and then hot and sunny for the vine to grow, set and fruit. You can even grow them in a pot, provided you have something sturdy for them to climb up. They need plenty of water to get going - but after the fruit sets feeding with seaweed and fish fertiliser should take precedence - although you will still need to water them. Keep an eye out for any disease and that’s really about it. Oh and it's good to have some straw underneath them if they are trailing along the ground.

Whilst it’s the season for planting, it is also the season for pesky pest infestations. Guava moth and pantry moth can be particularly invasive especially to feijoa trees. Pherenome traps in conjunction with other remedies can be effective in reducing the damage. Picking up any fruit that’s fallen is key because it disrupts the lifecycle as they can pupate in the fruit. Just don’t compost them - they need to be put in a sealed bag and thrown away. Additionally, you can cover smaller trees with a fine netting when the fruit just starts to appear.

Right now I am thinking about getting my tomato seedlings into the ground. And yes I am well aware that mid November is considered very late! However tomatoes originate from the much hotter climate of South America and I have learned from bitter experience that planting out your seedlings a bit later can make a big difference to the health and yield of the plant. Here are a couple of tips to get the best out of your tomato plants:
• Plant tomato seedlings deep - to the first set of leaves as this ensures vigorous, healthy plants. It allows them to form roots all along the buried part of the stem, which anchors the plants in place and allows them to take up water and nutrients better.
• Applying liquid seaweed adds zinc and can improve the health and flavour of your tomatoes. Plants that don’t get enough zinc are paler and weaker. Seaweed fertiliser is a great source of zinc.
• Add a teaspoon of milk powder when transplanting seedlings as it can reduce the incidence of blossom end rot which can be caused by calcium deficiency (or too much nitrogen and over/underwatering).

It's only about 6 weeks until Christmas so rattle your dags and start your pressie list! Wolf tools are always a great gift idea or how about a selection of seeds and fertiliser that you can make up into a gift basket. We also have gift vouchers available which can be redeemed in store or online.