Kings Plant Barn Garden Diary
With Lynda Hallinan and Heather Tait
Kings Plant Barn Garden Diary
12 December 2012
1. Sow mesclun salad in shallow tubs - it's ready to snip for salads in as little as three weeks and you can take the tubs with you to the beach.
2. Feed tomato plants with a fruiting formula. You can use the same fertiliser on beans too.
3. Keep your compost heap moist - if it dries out completely, it will stop decomposing.
4. Protect your fruit trees! Plums tend to ripen over the holidays and if you don't net them, the only ones to enjoy them will be the birds.
5. Give yourself a pat on the back for another good year of gardening - and take lots of photos so you can see how far your garden has grown in 2012.
28 November 2012
1. Deadhead rose, trim perennials after first flowering eg lavenders and daisies
2. Insert stakes by plants likely to shoot away over summer - eg delphiniums, sunflowers, phlox, dahlias
3. Lots of mulch around the garden to make it look good and conserve the amount of watering you'll need to do
4. Harvest crops of mint, parsley and coriander before they go to seed and make delicious pesto
5. Don't remove flax flowers - the tuis are feeding on the nectar - BUT they can be used as garden stakes after Christmas
6. Spray evergreens - viburnums, rhododendrons, bergenias and cranberries for thrips.
14 November 2012
1. Get cracking in your vege patch: sow beans, salad greens, courgettes, cucumbers, corn and pumpkins. You can sow everything direct now that the soil is warm - there's no need to use trays.
2. Feed tomato plants with a general liquid fertiliser. When the first flowers start forming, make sure you swap to a fruit fertiliser.
3. Feed your lawn to keep it lush and green in summer. Use a fertiliser that's high in nitrogen.
4. If all your spring bulbs have finished flowering and are looking shabby, resist the urge to cut them back or tie the yellowing foliage in knots. Let them die down naturally as the leaves might look bad but they'll still be feeding the bulbs for next year's display.
5. If you've got gaps in your flower beds, fill them with potted colour - these flowering annuals will keep going strong until Christmas.
31 October 2012
1. If your stonefruit trees are riddled with leaf curl, it's too late to spray with copper as it burns off the foliage. Pick off the worst leaves and burn or dispose of in a black plastic bag. You can spray with a fungicide such as Greengard or Bravo.
2. Get sowing! Sow beans, peas and salad greens for summer.
3. Make sure your tomatoes, dahlias, lilies, gladioli and new fruit trees are firmly staked. High winds can cause havoc in spring gardens and it's such a shame to lose precious plants.
4. Give your lawn some TLC. Fertilise with nitrogen-rich lawn foods, apply weed & feed formulations or dig out daisies and dandelions by hand and sow fresh seed in the gaps.
5. Feed and mulch your roses to keep them healthy and nourished during the blooming season.
17 October 2012
1. Feed your fruit trees. Give each tree a scoop of fruit tree fertiliser and water it in well.
2. Tidy up perennial borders. Cut off the old flowers and foliage of hellebores and any summer-flowering perennials that didn't die back completely last season - they'll respond with fresh new growth.
3. Refresh potted plants. Aim to replace about a third of the potting mix in your containers with fresh mix, and add a scoop of general fertiliser to replace nutrients lost to winter rains.
4. Pick asparagus daily to keep your crop coming. If you don't keep snipping it, you'll end up with spears as long as your arm.
5. Take "before" photos of your vege patch. It's always nice to look back at the end of the season and see how much you've achieved.
3 October 2012
1. Sow zucchini, pumpkins and melons in individual pots in a glasshouse or under a plastic cloche. Don't sow direct yet - the soil's not quite warm enough yet.
2. Keep planting spuds, yams and kumara sprouts.
3. Root crops such as parsnips, swedes, carrots and beetroot are cheap and easy to raise from seed. These should always be sown directly where you want them to grow as transplanting them leads to mutant, funny shaped roots.
4. Keep strawberries, blueberries and citrus trees well-watered. Without constant moisture, their fruit either won't develop or it will fall off.
5. Slugs and snails are back in force. Protect emerging perennials such as hostas and dahlias with slug bait or they'll scoff the tender shoots before you notice.
8 August 2012
1. Plant seed potatoes in frost-free areas - in colder areas wait a few more weeks, or plant under cloth-covered cloches to protect the tender green tops when they pop up.
2. Start sowing tomatoes, peppers and eggplants - but only in pots indoors or in a warm glasshouse, and preferably in a heated propagator.
3. Keep planting deciduous fruit trees. The best time to get them in the ground is now, while they're still dormant, as they'll soon sprout blossoms and leaves.
4. Start a new compost heap. Layer green waste like grass clippings and weeds with mulched tree prunings, untreated sawdust, hay or straw. Keep the heap covered in wet weather.
5. Plant marigolds, calendulas and nasturtiums to add colour to your vege garden.
25 July 2012
1. Clean out your garden shed and stock up on seed trays and seed-raising mix for the season ahead. Heat-loving crops like tomatoes, chillies and eggplants can be sown next month in a heated propagator or glasshouse.
2. Keep planting new roses and fruit trees. Dig a hole that's at least twice as big as the planter bag and incorporate compost at planting time.
3. If you still haven't got around to planting any garlic, don't delay: it needs a winter chill to initiate good sized bulbs, so it must be in the ground by the end of July.
4. Sow broad beans, snow peas, and peas in the pod.
5. Plant brassicas for spring. Punnets of seedling Cabbages, cauliflowers and broccoli can all go into the ground now - give them extra elbow room to compensate for the low light.
11 July 2012
1. Keep planting cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, spinach and silverbeet in your vege patch.
2. Fill your fruit bowl. Plant easy-peel Satsuma mandarins, persimmons, tamarillos and cherry guavas for winter crops.
3. Prune apple and pear trees if they're getting too big, but don't prune plums or other stonefruit in winter.
4. Deal to moss, mould and algal growth that can make wooden decks and concrete paths slippery and hazardous in winter.
5. And be vigilant with frost cloth. If Jack Frost catches you
unawares, you can still save your tender plants by covering them in
newspaper before the sun comes up - this helps them to thaw more
slowly, reducing the damage to them.
13 June 2012
1. Keep raking up fallen autumn leaves - if you let them lie in big soggy piles on top of other plants, they'll smother them.
2. If your soil's sodden and saturated, don't walk on it. Compacting waterlogged soil squeezes all the air out of it and ruins the soil structure.
3. Use pea straw mulch around your rhubarb - it'll keep it insulated during its winter dormancy.
4. Sow onions in trays of seed-raising mix. Transplant when the seedlings are 5-10cm high.
5. Plant strawberries, garlic, shallots, kale and cabbages.
6 June 2012
1. For winter fragrance, plant daphnes, wintersweet, witchhazel and stock. Plant freesia bulbs now too for spring scent.
2. Sow sweet peas and edible peas. Peas don't mind frosty soil.
3. Sow kale, kohlrabi, cauliflowers, cabbages and broccoli. Sow in trays and transplant the seedlings when they're 5cm high.
4. Tidy up fallen leaves and add them to your compost heap.
5. Protect citrus trees from frost - it dries up their juice.