It has been rather windy.  I lost a few panels on my growing tunnels although the last couple of days have been really nice.

We can still expect the odd windy spell.  It has been an interesting spring.  N.I.W.A. said a number of weather records around the country were broken in October  –  some a century old.  Figures show a number of weather extremes, including higher than average winds and sunshine hours.

October saw stronger than normal winds around the country causing severe damage, downing trees and cutting power supply to many parts.

This October, Auckland was the warmest, Christchurch was the coolest, Tauranga was the driest and sunniest, and Wellington was the wettest and cloudiest of the six main centres. The highest temperature was 28.9 C recorded at Christchurch on 24 October.

The Ilam azaleas are magnificent this year.  Also, roses appear to be earlier this year.  There are a few bugs and grubs around at present.  I am a bit late planting my vegetable garden this year.  You can now get your warm loving plants into the ground, like corn, cucumbers, beans, cabbages, carrots, lettuce, pumpkin and radishes.

Plant your tomatoes and peppers.  Get in parsnips, but do not let the seed bed dry out.

I have been planting perennials down my long driveway.  I try to plant in blocks of colour.  Salvias are good for this.

Spittle bugs and aphids are about at present.  The spittle bug is a pest that looks worse than it is.  Spittle bugs are very good at hiding.  That mass of froth you see on your plant isn’t there to do your plant any harm.  It’s a very clever cover for the spittle bug. You try and find him.  They are related to leafhoppers, but have a broader body.  They also have faces that resemble frogs and are sometimes called Froghoppers.  Wash the Spittle bug off with the hose and then spray the plant

Q;      I have got rust on my raspberries.  First time in over 50 years.
A;     Relatively mild winter.  Fungal disease like a dry spell.  Normally rust attacks roses. You have a relatively short window in which to spray. Get spraying Orthene  Insecticide or Shield combination spray. Bravo is a preventative spray for roses. Rust fungus is easily identified by the many orange or red pustules on leaves or stems which break open and release masses of spores.  Rust fungus grows within the leaf so there is usually a copy of the spores on the underside of the leaf as well. Yates Super Shield Rose spray controls the most common rose problems including aphids, black spot, rust and powdery mildew   Also ideal for controlling mites and whitefly.  Spray in the early morning or late evening when the air is calm and there is no bee activity.  Don’t be tempted to put in a bit extra for good measure.  Always follow the manufacturer’s directions EXACTLY.

Q;          I have black spot on my roses already.
A;          Day like today with misty rain is just ideal.  Fungus diseases just love it.

Q;         My potato leaves are curling up?

A;         Turn the leaves upside down and look for the potato psyllid.  They are now all over Canterbury.  It is still early stage so get spraying with Orthon or Confidor

Q;        Can pre-mixed sprays be used at a later date?
A;        Yes, as long as at is kept in a cool dark place.  Temperature and sunlight will effectively ruin the mix.

As I said earlier when talking about spraying, be aware of bees.  If a swarm of bees suddenly turn up at home do not ring the council, they are not interested.  Better choice would be to contact a professional beekeeper.  He would turn up and fix your problem for a small charge of twenty dollars or so.