In the Garden: August 27, 2010

  • The Living Art bonsai fraternity will be at Cedar Lodge Nursery on Egmont Road this Sunday from 10am to 4pm and are keen to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with anybody interested in learning more. Some might style this hobby as occupying the bondage and discipline sector of the gardening world and there is no doubt that the skills are highly specialized so it helps to learn from people who know what they are doing.
  • You are running out of time for moving large plants. They need time to settle in and make some fresh root growth before the heat of summer starts. Take as large a root ball as you can manage and prune back the top to reduce the stress on the plant. Make sure you dig a deep enough hole to replant, ensuring that the level of the plant remains the same but no deeper than it was.
  • September is nearly here and that is the big time for planting the summer vegetable garden. If you haven’t yet dug your green crops in, do it this very weekend so the process of breaking down in the soil can be well underway before you want to plant.
  • Learning to grow vegetables from seed can save you a great deal of money as well as extending the range of different varieties you can grow. Some seeds, such as carrots, peas, onions, beet and lettuce can be sown directly into the position where they are to grow. Others, particularly tomatoes, melons, cucumbers, aubergines and pretty much anything exotic or needing a long growing season are started in seed trays or small pots for planting out later in the season. Egg cartons can be a useful quick turnover seed tray and, like the cardboard core of toilet rolls or even newspaper folded into tubes mean that when the seed has germinated and put on some growth, you can plant out the whole item without disturbing the roots. The temporary pot will decompose very quickly in the soil but keep this technique for germinating quick turn over crops such as lettuce, cabbage or bok choy.
  • If you haven’t got a copper spray onto your deciduous fruit trees yet, do not delay. You want it done before bud break and that is imminent.
  • Further to the article on growing apple trees at home by Glyn Church in the Taranaki Daily News last week, I have been looking at control of codling moth, the single most troublesome pest we have for apples. The short answer is that there is too much information to summarise in brief. If you are organic, Hort Research have been doing a lot of work on organic controls which you can find easily on the internet. There are no one-step answers – the pheromone traps need to be used in conjunction with other measures. The collar of corrugated cardboard around the main stems is not a stand-alone technique. If you had a problem last year and didn’t do anything, it will get worse this year. This is why we will be resorting to spraying this year, to try and break the cycle after a decade of total neglect which has allowed numbers to build up. Springtime is when you need to start the fight against codling moth.