Home' Northern Outlook : May 18th 2013 Contents 5
NORTHERN OUTLOOK, MAY 18, 2013
Have your say
Tenants need to clean up
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Reading your article about a
couple looking for a rental home
in Rangiora made me sympathetic
to their cause until I turned to the
next page. On viewing the photo of
the pile of rubbish outside the
back door of their rental unit, I
My husband and I have rented
property locally and in the North
Island, and being a tenant had
requirements, but we can
empathise with this situation.
We have always treated rental
properties as if I owned them and
ensured all rubbish was removed
as quickly as possible, thereby
looking after the both landlords'
and our interests.
We took pride in our living
surroundings, no matter how
humble they were, or for how long
we lived there.
Applying for a property was
always like going for a job
In fact, one future landlord
insisted on an impromptu visit to
view our then current living
arrangements. We did pass his
test and were offered his property
However, while renting
properties we never allowed
rubbish to accumulate or leave
untended gardens or allow the
house to become messy.
I wish I could do more to help
this couple, but please, more effort
on their part is required I think.
We have waited nearly three
years for our home to be repaired
after becoming trapped in the
insurance repair programme.
Thankfully we had the
opportunity to opt out and that's
where local builder Pinez
Construction Ltd entered our
lives. The can do'' attitude and
the ability to organise and meet
promised deadlines has been a
real treat and an illustration of
the good guys out there only too
willing to get on and do the job.
Thank you Jerry Knowles and the
gentlemen you work with -- my
family and I appreciate it.
Tips for winter gardens
This column is adapted from the
e-newsletter Get Growing from
New Zealand Gardener.To
subscribe to Get Growing visit
The NZ Gardener website at
nzgardener.co.nz, and click on
the Get Growing tab. To
subscribe to NZ Gardener visit
mags4gifts.co.nz or call
0800 MAGS 4 GIFTS.
DIG UP JERUSALEM
Few veges are as easy to
grow as Helianthus tubero-
sus -- a perennial sunflower
with edible, earthy, tuberous
The plants grow up to 2 metres
tall and have golden daisy-like
flowers in summer. When they die
down in late autumn or early win-
ter, you can start digging up the
tubers to eat. (Chuck the stalks
into your compost heap.)
Only dig as many as you need
for that night's dinner, as the
tubers soften once out of the soil.
Give them a scrub (or peel if you
can be bothered) and roast, slice
into a gratin or simmer in chicken
stock to make a creamy soup.
The plants aren't fussy about
soil conditions, though they prefer
full sun. Any tubers left in the soil
will resprout the following spring,
so note they can become weedy.
PROTECT YOUR PLOT
FROM JACK FROST
Beautiful clear blue days in late
autumn invariably signal frosty
nights ahead, so take proactive
steps to protect your plants with
cloth, cloches and grow tunnels.
Frost cloth is cheap and you can
buy it by the metre from garden
centres and hardware chains.
Even if the temperature doesn't
dip below freezing, popping a cloth
cover over tender seedlings at
night can make all the difference
to their growth. Remember to lift
the covers off during the day
If you still have spuds in the
soil, use a double layer of frost
cloth suspended on stakes above
the foliage, or take it as a hint
that it is time to harvest your
If you are sowing crops of baby
beetroot, carrots, radishes or baby
turnips, rig up your own inexpen-
sive grow tunnels over the top of
the seed trench. Use bent wire
hoops with a strip of frost cloth
over the top (pinch a few pegs
from your laundry basket to
secure it to the hoops).
Broad beans and peas, both of
which can be sown now, don't
need protecting as they will still
germinate and grow quite happily
in cold weather, though you might
want to protect them from birds.
Lay twigs or chicken wire over the
seeds after sowing, then remove
when the plants are 10-15cm high
(before the peas' tendrils start
clinging to the wire).
Insulate frost-tender plants
with mulch or pea straw, but don't
pile it up high around their stems
as wet mulch can lead to rot. This
blanket layer'' ensures the
warmth/goodness is trapped at
the root level before the soil
becomes too cold and unworkable.
Subtropical plants, such as cit-
rus trees and passionfruit vines,
will benefit from a coat of Liquid
Frost Cloth. It's an organic wax-
based spray that is nontoxic and
safe to use on all edible plants.
Spray once now, and again in six
to eight weeks.
All is not lost if youdo get hit
with an unexpected frost. Just
keep in mind that it's the thawing,
not the freezing, that does the real
damage to your plants -- so if you
can slow down this process, you
can save your plants. In the morn-
ing, cover frosted plants with
sheets of newspaper to shade
them from the sun's warmth, or
spray with a fine mist of water to
break up any ice.
Or look for the silver lining: get
out your camera and capture the
beauty of all those frost crystals
sparkling on the foliage of archi-
tectural plants like blue lupins.
PLANT POTTED COLOUR
Splurge on seasonal flower power:
plant pansies, calendulas,
cinerarias, iceland poppies and
polyanthus for winter colour, and
get your last spring bulbs in now.
PROPAGATE AND PLANT
For winter roasts, rosemary, mint,
sage and thyme are must-haves --
and they are easy to propagate for
Poke rosemary cuttings into
containers of potting mix, slip
sprigs of mint into jars of water
(the stalks soon grow roots) and
divide established sage and thyme
With the exception of mint,
which likes it moist, all of these
evergreen herbs prefer free-
draining soil, so add a little grit or
gravel to the planting hole.
PLANT UP SOME POTS
Even the sunniest winter's day
won't warm up the soil enough to
keep your crops chugging along at
a reasonable pace in cooler cli-
mates, so try containers.
Potted salad greens grow at
twice the pace of plants in wet,
cold soil and will mature even
more quickly if you can keep your
pots on a covered porch or in a
conservatory or glasshouse. Hardy
salad greens for winter include
miner's lettuce, corn salad,
mizuna and all types of mustard.
Centre is seeking
WORK EXPERIENCE: Matthew Wickert helps dust the shelves at Civic Video in Kaiapoi as part of his work experience
with the Chris Ruth Centre. He is pictured with carer Leeane Barnes.
By PETER HIDE
A NEW centre catering for school
leavers with high need disabilities
has been operating in Kaiapoi
The Chris Ruth Centre runs out
of the Riverside Christian Fellow-
ship building at 45 Charles St.
The centre has six people enrolled
Each has a personal programme
designed to individual needs.
Programmes typically include
exercises such as swimming,
dancing, gymnastics and physio-
therapy, as well as social and rec-
Manager Dianne Booker said a
special feature of most people's
programme was work placement.
Support staff work with
employers to provide appropriate
work experiences. Some of the
work includes cleaning, stock-
ing shelves and folding cutlery
Work experience locations
could include plant nurseries,
libraries, hairdressers, cafes,
transport firms, garages and
These placements are vol-
untary and people are suppor-
ted by our staff at all times,''
said Mrs Booker.
Two of the Chris Ruth Cen-
tre personnel have been lucky
enough to secure work place-
ments at the Civic Video shop
in Williams St and at the com-
However we are interested
in other opportunities, so if
anyone is able to help, please
give us a call on 03 327 0929.''
The centre was named after an
original client of the service.
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