This week April 27 2007

  • A couple of weeks ago we talked about the autumn rains having arrived. Well they have been and gone so watch out for container plants drying out too much and maybe hold back on too much planting or shifting of trees and shrubs until the rains return (which they will, this being Taranaki not Australia).
  • Dry spring bulbs can still be planted although it now too late to lift existing bulbs and divide them.
  • Don’t delay on sowing new lawns and April is good month for topdressing. Time it for just before rain or the sun may act with the fertiliser to burn the grass. If the nitrogen doesn’t get washed in, much of it will disappear in the air. Use a cheap NPK fertiliser, or Bioboost works well.
  • If you covet sweet peas, sow them now in a well dug bed with lots of rich compost. They need a frame to climb up and are ideal for growing in the vegetable garden as a cut flower.
  • Sow leafy greens now from seed. The female half of our household regards silver beet as stock food but others may like to plant it, especially the coloured chards which are allegedly ornamental. The same goes for swedes, kohlabi and turnips which can be planted now if you are desperate enough to want to eat them later.
  • Rhubarb (which we do like upon occasion – very nice cooked the Alison Holst method with sago) can be divided and planted. It likes plenty of compost and fertiliser.
  • Plant strawberries. If you have runners from the season just past, you can use these but some of the newer varieties do not seem to put out runners. In our climate, strawberries are often treated as an annual and tend to give their best crop in the first year.
  • Take cuttings of fuchsias, lavenders, pelargoniums and similar plants now. Apparently you can use honey instead of rooting hormone – presumably liquified honey but we have never tried it.