Summer in Christchurch tends to be unpredictable, and this year is no exception. We've experienced a mix of hot days and occasional moisture, resulting in a favourable growing season. My stone fruit crops have been abundant, and after their harvest, I've applied a fungicidal spray and conducted a light prune to manage unwanted growth.
The apple crop looks promising, fortunately unaffected by pests or diseases, requiring only preventive sprays. Tomatoes, grown in three different cultivars, are yielding well without any notable whitefly issues. Saxon tomatoes have displayed good size and flavour, while Rubee Prize and Rubee Plus have surprised me with exceptionally large fruits, ranging from 300 to 578 grams! I'm contemplating whether to grow both varieties next year.
As warmer weather persists, diligent watering becomes crucial, considering the higher evaporation rate due to wind and limited rainfall. Lawn maintenance, including feeding, should be timed with irrigation or before a substantial rain shower. Adequate watering and fertilisation are essential for citrus plants to support fruit development and prevent small, dry fruit at harvest.
To encourage new growth for later flowering, I've been Summer pruning the roses as they finish blooming. Additionally, I've been removing spent flowers from Summer bedding plants like Dahlias and Begonias, ensuring they continue to bloom.
In the vegetable garden, the focus remains on harvesting, sowing, and continuous planting for ongoing yields, while also planning for the upcoming Winter.
Wishing you a joyful and fruitful gardening season in 2024! Michael Coulter
The CHS are working with the Southern Seed Exchange (SSE) to bring you a range of fabulous seed packs, for big and small gardens alike Take a look here.