Your Garden

Set aside a few minutes for the garden

VegetablesAt this busy time of year, routine maintenance in the garden can be bottom of the list.

Set aside a few minutes every fine day to hoe around all crops, except strawberries.

Hoeing promotes air circulation, preventing the ground becoming hard and less able to take in water when it rains.

Dig up potatoes just in time for Christmas dinner

Vegetables Potatoes planted in August will be maturing and ready to eat for Christmas dinner.

Dig them just before using, two days ahead at most, because the immature tubers do not store well.

When left in the soil, they will continue growing and even a few extra weeks in the ground can produce a crop that is twice as heavy.

Watering and weeding main tasks in the garden

VegetablesWatering and weeding are the principal tasks in the garden over the next two months.

Peas, celery and leaks do best in trenches

Vegetables Peas can still be sown and dwarf varieties, such as Novella, will produce plump pods in nine to 11 weeks from sowing.

Greenfeast takes 11 to 13 weeks.

Peas do best in trenches filled with rich soil and compost topped with ordinary soil.

Keep plants well watered in hot summer months

Keep plants well watered in hot summer months

Vegetables Not a true spinach, New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia expansa) is invaluable for gardens that dry out in late summer.

Allow 60cm between each plant and sow in groups of two or three seeds, thinning later.

This plant prefers a hot dry sunny situation.

Remove dead heads for displays

Remove dead heads for displays

Vegetables  At this time of year, potatoes can be earthed up easily when the soil has been softened by rain. 

Runner beans can be sown in sunny spot

Runner beans can be sown in sunny spot

Vegetables French and butter beans can be sown in the open.

Place seeds singly, about 15cm apart and 5cm deep.

Runner beans for growing up trellises or on frames can be sown now in a sunny spot.

Now is the time to grow plants for the autumn months

Now is the time to grow plants for the autumn months

Vegetables From now until late next month is the best time for growing plants that will mature in autumn and be used in the following months.

Savoy cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, silverbeet, parsnips, leeks, salsify and swedes can be sown for autumn and winter use.

Raising from seed

Raising from seed

Vegetables Raising plants from seed is cost-effective and gives greater choices than buying plants from garden centres.

Planting is usually done at twice the depth of the seed, but during dry weather it should be a little deeper.

Rich soil allows easy growth

Rich soil allows easy growth

Vegetables Given rich soil, zucchini, marrows and pumpkin are easily grown in the home garden, although in cooler districts pumpkins need a hot, dry summer to do well.

Bush marrows, such as Cocozelle di Napoli, require less room than the trailing types but zucchini are more popular than marrows, so seed of the latter can be difficult to obtain.

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