In cities around the world where people are living in confined spaces, hanging baskets and wall troughs are frequently used. Photo / Supplied
Labor Weekend has arrived and has always been the traditional signal that the temperatures are now more stable and soft summer vegetables and flowers can be safely planted outside.
It is recognized as the time
when soil temperatures have risen to germinate warm season vegetable seeds such as beans and sweetcorn.
Also, night temperatures should (hopefully) remain above 10C so the cucurbits (cucumbers, gherkins, pumpkins and many others) will actively grow.
A wet and cold spring this year has meant many have found that early plantings of soft summer vegetables have struggled to thrive.
Many plantings can be made more safely.
Seeds to sow and plantings that can now be made in Whanganui include beans, capsicum, chilli, cucumber, eggplants, kamokamo, melons, pumpkins, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and zucchini.
Other vegetables that can be grown that are indifferent to cold snaps include beetroot, broccoli, carrots, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, spring onions, radish, rhubarb and silverbeet.
If you haven’t planted any potatoes yet, it’s not too late. Potatoes planted now will be ready for harvest in late January or February.
If you have potatoes growing already then regular mounding needs to be maintained as this increases the length of stem covered on which the potato tubers form.
A side dressing of Tui Potato Food around the plants before they are mounded will be beneficial to growth and tuber development.
It is important to soon start spraying your potato crop with ‘Yates Mavrik’ or ‘Yates Success’ to protect against potato psyllid.
The potato psyllid can go undetected for a while but will later show up with plants showing stunting and yellowing of the growing tip.
The edges of the curled leaves often have a pink blush. The stem may have swollen nodes and show a browning of the vascular tissue.
After a while, infected potatoes develop a scorched appearance and plants collapse prematurely.
Potato plants that are infected at an early stage end up with small underdeveloped tubers.
The same psyllid affects all plants in the Solanaceae family which includes tomatoes and tamarillo. Using the same mentioned spray treatment as for potatoes is effective.
The same warmer conditions that summer vegetables need are desired by summer flowering bedding plants too.
Impatiens and petunias are two of the most colorful and vibrant and plantings can now be safely made.
Now is the time to get your pots and hanging baskets planted for a stunning display for Christmas and summer.
Growing flowers in pots and hanging baskets is a wonderful way to garden and continues to gain wider popularity.
Today’s lifestyle, often with emphasis on the full use of limited space, has led to the acceptance of any means by which plants can be used.
Almost any plant that will grow in a container can be grown in a hanging basket, creating new visual perspectives even in a small courtyard, balcony or veranda.
Luxuriant mini-gardens can be developed without taking up valuable ground or floor space. In cities around the world where people are living in confined spaces, hanging baskets and wall troughs are frequently used for growing vegetables, flowers and herbs.
Hanging baskets are often an answer to interior decorating problems.
For example a basket containing a large green hanging fern will soften harsh walls or attractively fill an empty corner.
Making a combination of a shrub or perennial along with flowering annuals can make for a long-lasting and eye-catching display.
For those looking for flowering annuals to add color for pots and hanging baskets some suitable varieties include; impatiens, marigold, nasturtium, ageratum, begonia, lobelia, nepeta (catnip), pelargonium, petunia, portulaca, zinnia (dwarf), etc.
Fuchsia are one of the finest flowering shrubs for a shady situation with stunning displays in summer and autumn. They have a magnificent affinity with hanging baskets and their branches will cascade over the side of the basket.
There is much to admire and many choices to plant to have a colorful spring garden.
Many rhododendrons too are looking amazing in full bloom. The intensity of a blooming rhododendron is impressive as the flower trusses hide the leaves and the stylish green structure becomes eclipsed by a mass of color.
Azalea mollis are coming into bloom now, many hostas are now through the soil too.
Protect Apple Trees for Codling Moth Now
Codling moth caterpillars burrow into the fruit of apples and thus make holes in them.
They can also affect pears, quince, English walnuts and sometimes plums.
Once inside the fruit the insect is relatively safe and will burrow towards the pip cavity and consume the seeds.
The insect ‘overwinters’ as a fully fed caterpillar in a silken cocoon beneath pieces of loose bark on trees or in other sheltered positions it can reach.
In the late winter or early spring, the overwintered caterpillars transform into pupae and the first moths generally appear during October and November and can occur in January and February. The best method for control is an integrated pest management approach.
This involves using pheromone traps being hung in a tree. Closely follow the instructions given.
Check weekly for population numbers caught in the trap and when larger numbers are recorded, a spray with ‘Yates Success’ at this time is recommended, to provide a reasonably complete control.
Gareth Carter is General Manager of Springvale Garden Centre