Monthly Tips & Tasks February 2013

With Carol Anderton

I’m filling in for Michael who is speaking at the Ellerslie International Flower Show which opened today.  You’ve got a ‘new look’ Carole – so instead of being 70…..I’m forty.   What I don’t know……I make up.

At this time of the year I have a half an acre of wilderness.  I think a smaller section must be easier to keep, because as you get older the task seems harder.

In your vegetable garden if something has been harvested and is finished you can still replace with another crop.

This summer was one for the record books – characterised by much higher pressures than normal over the Tasman Sea and New Zealand region, with more south-westerly airflow than normal over the country.

Tauranga was the sunniest of the six main centres, with 772 hours of summer sunshine, while Dunedin was the cloudiest with 612 sunshine hours.  Christchurch had its second sunniest summer with 755 hours. Wellington had 760 summer sunshine hours.

Christchurch was the driest main centre with 96mm of rain, 76 per cent of normal.

I plant perpetual spinach as I find it not as strong as silver beet.  As the name implies, this plant is a cut-and-come-again crop and just keeps on giving. The perfect plant for small gardens.

You can put your bulbs in now.  I plant my daffs in pots.  Hyacinths can also be planted.

Grass grubs need to be dealt with NOW.  Grass grub is considered New Zealand’s major lawn pest. Apply lawn guard prills on lawns you want to protect.  Ideal to use February to late autumn, but can be used effectively through to spring. Must be well watered in.  Sprinkle before moderate to heavy rainfall (13mm ) or water thoroughly with a sprinkler. Most important that it soaks in.  If you have starlings on your lawn, then you certainly have grass grub.

I go to Bunnings were the plants are cheap.  I buy colourful pots from The Warehouse.

Colourful pots makes you smile.  The life-blood of every pot is….WATER.

Q;      What works quickly as a ground cover.

A;    Little nandinas. Otherwise known as Heavenly Bamboo plants. They are completely unrelated to bamboo.  Plant them close enough so they look as though they are talking to each other. With using bark as a ground cover….use nuggets and not chips.

Harbour Dwarf Heavenly Bamboo is an evergreen shrub with an attractive compact form. It grows to 18 inches tall and 2 ½ feet wide. In spring the foliage has a pink tint and in fall and winter it turns to brilliant bronzy-red. Plant in partial to full sun. Harbour Dwarf Heavenly Bamboo is perfect for year-round interest and can be used as a groundcover or border.

Q; Rust on plants
A; If  rust is noticeable on your plants then just cut it off.  If it comes back again then spray with neem oil. Gardeners can also use neem oil to control or prevent many common plant pests and diseases.  It biodegrades quickly and, in small doses is nontoxic to mammals.

Do I repot daffodils each year ? 
A; No. I normally empty my pots and place the bulbs under a tree or in the garden when I want a change.

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