Home' Northern Outlook : October 6th 2012 Contents 6 NORTHERN OUTLOOK, OCTOBER 6, 2012
Weed checkers sitting pretty
PLANT NOW: Rhubarb is one of the few edible crops (along with silverbeet) that
doesn't mind growing in semi-shade.
By LYNDA HALLINAN
This column is adapted from
the e-newsletter Get Growing
from New Zealand Gardener.To
subscribe to Get Growing (it's
free!), visit the NZ Gardener
website at nzgardener. co.nz, and
click on the Get Growing tab. To
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0800 MAGS 4 GIFTS.
you planted crowns
last year, you will
be able to pick a
few spears for the
first time this
1. Sit down on the job. At this time
of the year, when weeds flourish
in the slowly warming soil, it's
tempting to rip up and down
between your rows of vegetable
seedlings with a push hoe. And
certainly, if you have a big garden
like mine, it's more convenient to
weed this way, but you could end
up sacrificing a natural bonus of
Don't be afraid to sit or kneel
down and hand weed instead, so
you can get a good look at exactly
While weeding my strawberries
this week (in preparation for
mulching), I was thrilled to find
dozens of self-sown buttercrunch
lettuce seedlings and a handful of
self-sown spinach plants.
At the end of summer, I always
leave a few lettuces, cabbages,
cauliflowers, silverbeet, rocket
and spinach plants to set seed
because I've found it far easier to
let mother nature raise these
plants for me in the open ground
than fuss over them in seed trays.
If you are a new gardener, it can
be difficult to work out what's a
weed and what's not, but once
your seedlings develop their first
set of true'' leaves (the first pair
of leaves are round and fleshy and
bear no resemblance to the foliage
of the crop you're sowing), you'll
soon get the hang of it.
2. Plant brassicas. If you're
prepared to take steps to foil the
white cabbage butterfly later in
the season, either by spraying
with Organic Caterpillar Bio
Control, sprinkling with Derris
Dust or netting your plants with
fine mesh, then cabbages, cauli-
flowers and broccoli are cheap to
raise from seed sown in shallow
trenches filled with seed-raising
Sowing direct is easy because
the seeds are a good size and they
germinate rapidly (seven to 10
Space the seeds 50 centimetres
apart, because brassicas grow
quickly at this time of year and
can produce enormous leaves if
you have rich soil.
If you sow direct, rather than
transplanting seedlings, you'll
avoid the common problem of
buttoning'' (when the plants
prematurely produce heads not
much bigger than buttons).
This tends to happen to seed-
lings that have been allowed to
dry out, or have ended up root-
bound in their punnets. (For this
reason, it's best to avoid buying
bargain or clearance seedlings on
special at the garden centre.)
Mulch brassicas with grass
clippings; they're free and
plentiful at this time of the
3. Check your asparagus bed.
The first spears should be poking
their tips through the soil by now.
If you planted crowns last year,
you'll be able to pick a few spears
for the first time this spring.
But if you only planted them
this year, you'll have to resist the
urge to eat any.
You must let the spears grow
into ferns to feed the crowns for
Carefully remove (by hand) any
emerging weed seedlings, too, so
that they don't get a foothold in
your asparagus bed.
In some South Island garden
centres you can still buy
asparagus crowns, so get them in
the ground now.
4. Plant rhubarb and feed
Rhubarb is one of the few edible
crops (along with silverbeet) that
doesn't mind growing in semi-
shade, though it will do best in
moist soil in full sun.
In most parts of the country, the
plants die down over winter but
will be returning to lush growth
now, so crank up your feeding
regime. Rhubarb, like
passionfruit, will happily scoff any
food you give it.
Established clumps appreciate
a bucket of sheep pellets and a
handful of general garden
fertiliser in spring, plus a good
dressing of compost.
When planting new rhubarb
plants, enrich the soil first and
they will hit the ground running.
Like asparagus, it's best to
leave newly-planted rhubarb to
establish itself for a year before
you start harvesting the stems.
Don't panic if your rhubarb
produces enormous leaves on
stumpy stalks in its first season;
that extra leaf cover is a sign that
there's a good supply of nitrogen
in the soil, and those large leaves
will be producing energy to feed
the developing roots.
to the world
Very proud parents
Michael and Claudia
Pretorius welcomed their
first beautiful boy, Neo
Cornelius Pretorius, at
12:51pm on September
27. It was a special
moment and they feel
very blessed. ''This 3.3kg
bundle will bring us lots of
joy. Special thanks to our
midwife Sharon Lindley
and her team at Rangiora
Amanda, Ben, and big brother William
are pleased to announce the arrival of
Sophie Ann Roper, born on
September 17. Thanks to midwife
Jackie Snowden and the teams at
Christchurch Women's Hospital and
neonatal for all their support.
Daniel and Monique Havelaar, and
proud big sister Jodie, wish to
announce the very speedy arrival of
Nathan Daniel, born at home on
September 19 at 5.45am, weighing
3.9kg. A huge thanks to honorary
midwife, Mum -- Paula Bangma, and
Lynda Dalton and Jackie Snowden.
Marshall Geoffrey Sheath was born
at Rangiora Hospital, at 7.04am on
August 16, weighing 7lb 3oz. He's a
little brother for James. Bridget and
Royce thank midwife Lynda Dalton
and the staff at Rangiora Hospital.
Ben and Lisa Leech are
thrilled to introduce Ava
Emma, born on September
11 at 1.56am, weighing 7lb
10oz. Thanks to all the staff
at Christchurch Women's
and Rangiora hospitals.
Very special thanks to our
midwife Jackie Snowden
and student midwife
If you would like a photo of your
newborn published free of charge in
the Northern Outlook, email Rachel-
or phone Rachel on 03 311 8714.
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