MARCH ALL ABOUT GARDENING

With Michael Coulter

‘Autumn  has come a bit early’, said Michael.  Rainfall has been above average  BUT sunshine hours are about 45 hours below average.    Temperatures  have  been between 18 and 22 degrees.

‘Things have been growing pretty well considering the imposed water restrictions’

‘Now is harvesting time and time to plant broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts’

Michael said he uses the Golden Ash trees in Jamieson Avenue  as a guide,  as they are among the very first to lose their leaves.  He noticed that they are already starting to change colour.

‘Yesterday,  we saw the sun for the first time in a long while and  the leaves on my weeping tree appeared lime in colour with a hint of yellow’.

Ground temperature has been around 11 – 12 degrees which is good for grass growing. Now is the time to fertilize yours lawns.  Spray for broadleaf  with a good weed killer.  Thicken up lawns that look tired with a good lawn seed.

Stone fruit trees are starting to get a bit past it.  Once all the fruit has been picked get into a spraying programme.  Also prune your stone fruit but, don’t do it if it’s wet.  Wait for a dry day.

QUESTION TIME;

Q;      This year my apple trees are not happening. What’s wrong?

A; Check the leaves for red spider mite and don’t forget the underside. If they are one year-old trees check the shape and form of the tree.  If you are espaliering the tree, shape the branches now by crossing them over to create strength.  Make a good strong structure to support the weight of the fruit laden branches if you are not using the cross over method.

Q;     Why do we have white butterflies?

A; In our gardens we create an artificial environment.  In nature you don’t get 10 cabbage plants all planted in a neat row.   It is the white butterfly that causes gardeners grief with their brassicas but all butterflies feed on nectar.  Some butterflies  may live 10 hours while others last 10 days

Q;    Will apple trees fertilize themselves?

A; They need bees, moths or other insects to do the job. When in full blossom and the weather is cold and there is a lack of insects, you will not get a good fruit set and hence a lack of fruit.

Q;     Margaret Teague wanted to know what was wrong with her tomato plant she showed Michael.

A; It’s a fungus disease that’s destroyed the plant. A blight.  Grapes tend to get the same disease. Another member showed a grape leaf that looked like it had been shot with miniature shotgun pellets. This was caused by a wasp.   It was only cosmetic and would do little harm to the plant.

Q;      I had a bug that looked like a ladybug, except it was green.  What is it?

A; There is a purple one that looks like a ladybug that eats fungus.  Unless he saw the bug he could not be certain what it was. Michael said he was more than a little frustrated with his potatoes this year.  He had talked to commercial growers who were spraying every ten days for the potato psyllid.

Q;      My curly kale has spots?

A; Need to spray with a fungicide.  Might help if the crop was planted a little later.  The same disease attacks cabbages.

Q;      After pruning fruit trees do you then fertilize them ?

A; No.  Late August is the time to fertilize.

Q;      What causes the cracking in my red cabbage ?

A; Result of too much rain.

Post script;

Love ( in ) Your Garden, the Canterbury Horticultural Societies sculptural rooftop garden display designed by Rough and Milne Landscape Architects won a SILVER MERIT with DISTINCTION AWARD at the Ellerslie International  Garden show

A  SILVER MEDAL  was won by the C.H.S. Begonia Circle’s,  Sensational Begonia display. Congratulations to Anne Tubman and her team.

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