Great weather.  Been looking on the computer.Rainfall been below normal and well below normal across most of the South Island.  Temperatures were above average throughout most of New Zealand.  Had a few winds.

Of the main centres, Auckland was the warmest, Dunedin the coolest,  Wellington the wettest and Tauranga was the sunniest.  Christchurch was the cloudiest of the main centres.  So the weather has been true to form.

I’ve noticed the bulb fly is on the wing.  It gets into daffodils.  Dave Adams tried to catch one.  What he needed was a pitcher plant.   I believe many members bought pitcher plants during a recent meeting here.  I’ve been watching flies buzz around mine but so far it has not caught anything.   It pays to pull the tops off your daffs when dried and cover with soil.  Sprinkle with Diazinon.   Diazinon is a granual insecticide used for the control of porina caterpillar and grass grub in your lawns.

WATERING.   Behind in rainfall.  Been very dry last month.  One watering per week and that is deep watering.   Put your finger in the ground.   Depth of one finger.   It is important that you do that.  Make sure the moisture level is up.   Looks like we’re heading for drought conditions towards the end of January.   Most plants we buy come in plugs.  Water well before you plant.   Most of our potting mixes are pine bark based and can get very dry in the middle.   Make sure it is wet all the way through.   I use two hour mechanical timers on my taps.  At $9.00 to $10.00 they are a very good investment.

QUESTIONS;

When does the carrot fly, fly?   I heard they only fly eighteen inches high.

A;     From August onwards.    They fly only eighteen inches above the carrots.  You can put a cloth over your carrots.   I’ve given up growing them.   The trick is to ‘know your enemy’    They follow a regular cycle.   You can use Neam granules and mould up so the shoulder of the carrot is covered.   Carol Anderton suggested a use for re-cycling potting mix.  Carol stated that she grew potatoes in bags and when finished empty the contents out to grow carrots.

I recently had a visitor from Wales.   We attended the Christmas dinner for the Dahlia Circle.   We were talking watering your garden.  He said  ‘we do the same thing in Wales’.   It is a universal language and the same all around the world.

The magic wand to help you water only plants that are dry is your finger.  Before watering any plant, put your finger in and check for moisture around the plant.  If dry, water.  If moist, leave alone.

Many rely on the appearance of a plant when deciding when to water.  Droopy leaves can mean that the plant is too wet or the plant has not been watered enough.

Always use your finger to check and not your eyes.

Believe it or not, plants die quicker from over watering than under watering.   The majority of plants that fail to grow are killed with kindness, not neglect.

One last tip for the year.    When you have finished your Christmas dinner, go out and pinch the tips out of your chrysanthemums.

I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

See you all in February.

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