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Mon, 19 Jun 2017
Getting out in the garden right now doesn’t have a lot of appeal, but a couple of ‘power hours’ can make a big difference!
Feed soil with blood and bone, sheep pellets, compost and/or a complete fertiliser to replenish nutrients, dig in well before planting. Even in winter mulching is important. Add a layer of mulch about 5cm thick around your plants to protect from the cold, conserve moisture and add nitrogen back to the soil. Apply a regular tonic to all garden areas to help prepare the soil and reduce transplant shock for your spring planting. Be vigilant with weed control, weeds compete for valuable nutrients. Prune and deadhead roses, shrubs and perennials as well as any plants that have finished flowering, to encourage new growth. If frosts are a concern, plant crops into containers that you can move around to catch the sun and consider a cloche or growing tunnel. Move any frost tender patio plants into a sheltered position.
Broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbages, cauliflowers, cavolo nero, celery, garlic, kale, onion, mizuna, rhubarb, rocket, shallots, silverbeet, spinach, coriander, parsley, peas, rosemary, sage, thyme.
Winter is the best time for planting new season deciduous fruit trees. Select the healthiest specimens with straight stems. Be sure to stake newly planted trees. Strawberries can be planted in winter! Research shows that planting strawberries in NZ's winter temperatures will produce a higher yield in summer. In frost prone areas it is best to protect plants from the elements or wait until a little later to plant, so as not to compromise those delicate, white flowers.
Winter is the best time to plant new season roses and lots of varieties will be available in your garden centre. The plants are dormant in winter, so transplanting stress is reduced.
Garlic likes moist soil and does not like competing with weeds. Here you can see how closely garlic can be planted and the dying back of the foliage at harvesting time.
The most versatile superfood to include in your kitchen garden, garlic doesn’t take up much space and is really easy to grow! Traditionally, garlic is planted in June on the shortest day of the year when the soil is cool, and harvested in December on the longest day. Garlic thrives in any well-drained garden soil in a sunny position, and also in pots.
Prepare the soil by digging it over to a depth of about 20cm and adding plenty of compost or well-rotted organic material, plus a dose of vegetable fertiliser. When your soil or pot is ready, break the garlic bulb up into individual cloves taking the largest undamaged cloves from around the outside of the bulb.
An unassuming little nutrient powerhouse, Pak Choy is dead easy to grow. Find a deliciously simple salad recipe below.
Pak Choy / Bok Choy
Dead easy to grow, Pak choi is a great source of nutrients, including omega-3s, vitamins A and C as well as the antioxidant mineral zinc. It can be cooked or eaten raw (surprisingly palatable and superb sliced up with an asian-style dressing), added to smoothies and even works well on the BBQ. This is a great vegetable for planting in a pot or a tub because of its shallow root system.
To harvest use a sharp knife and cut off just above soil level, you can leave the stem and root in the ground, more shoots will appear and these are edible, too. Keep planting a few extra plants each month for a continued supply
Asian-style Pak Choy Salad
Dressing: Combine in a jar and shake.
1 small red chilli, deseeded & sliced finely
2 tablespoons tamari or light soy sauce
1/3 cup rice bran oil
dash of sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar or similar
1 teaspoon mirin, sugar or rice malt syrup
3 heads Pak Choy sliced finely, leaves and stems
Optional inclusions: diced mango, capsicum: julienned carrot, radish; sliced spring onion; lightly toasted nuts/seeds, e.g. sesame seeds, flaked almonds, sunflower seeds; chopped coriander and/or parsley
Add vegetables to a large bowl, pour in dressing and toss well to coat. Let it sit for a few minutes to blend the flavours. Sprinkle with nuts/seeds and herbs, serve immediately.