In the Garden: Friday 1 April, 2011

A game of chance with the pepper crop this year

A game of chance with the pepper crop this year

• The capsicum crop this year has been causing me problems. Peperone Padron is apparently a Spanish heirloom variety, renowned for the fact that it bears both mild and hot peppers but you can not tell the difference until you eat them. The seed packet proudly proclaims that eating a portion is popularly linked to Russian roulette. I prefer a little more predictability in the harvest so we may be more conservative with next year’s varieties.

• The spring bulbs are bolting into growth so if you have patches you have been meaning to dig and divide, do them this weekend and handle them gently. You have longer if you are buying dry bulbs which are still available at all garden outlets.

• We should still have at least five weeks of very mild weather, albeit with cooler nights, before the threat of frosts in inland areas and the first blasts of winter chill. So it is perfect planting time for trees and shrubs.

• The mild conditions are also the reason why right now is a good time to do an autumn fertilising round. The plants have time to benefit from the feed before they either go dormant or slow dramatically in growth over winter.

• Sow new lawns and over sow bare patches now. The grass has time to germinate and get some roots out before winter.

• Don’t walk away from the vegetable garden after you harvest the autumn crops, even if you are not intending to replant until springtime. It is time to do a big tidy and clean up. Remove blighted and mildewed plants entirely from the site to try and break the cycle. You don’t want the fungi and diseases wintering over in your patch. If you are going to dispose of them by burying them, don’t do it in your vegetable garden and only compost them if you make a hot mix. It is also good practice to rake up the leaves from fruit trees as they fall. You can help break the cycle of pests and diseases by good hygiene.

• With cooler nights, mice will be moving indoors. If you are storing seed, move the packets to rodent proof containers.

2 thoughts on “In the Garden: Friday 1 April, 2011

  1. Harriet Penhey

    Abbie,
    Now we have had our first rain for autumn and the temperature has dropped we are just getting into the garden. Our growing period for veges starts now and goes until the end of December. We go out into the garden in winter and come inside to avoid the heat in summer. I am having to reorganise my watering system for next year as we are moving to container growing for veges as the water needs of a garden are just too high.

    And a point to make me smile, the mice have just moved in to our compost heap as it is now cool enough for them to live there! In peak summer heat, although our top temps are only around 40 – 45 degrees it gets much hotter in our back yard, by at least 10 degrees, so everything bakes. We are considering putting in a pergola over our vege patch and training the grape vine over it to cool the place over summer.

    I like your blog.

    1. Abbie Jury Post author

      There is no doubt that we live in a climate which is blessed for gardening here – never very hot and never very cold. And with regular rain. Nice to hear from you. Glad you like my writings. These are all the pieces published weekly in the Taranaki Daily News.

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