Skip over navigation

Garden AdviceGarden Tips of the Month

Garden Tips April 2015

April Tips from the Living Earth Staff Veggie Garden - Digger Dan is back with the Living Earth staff setting their vegetable garden to rights for autumn!

The Garden: The boys have layered on plenty of Living Earth organic compost to rebuild the soil after the summer crops have been pulled out. This also adds lots of good nutrients for our winter crops to use as they grow. Digger got them to dig it in to the top 100mm of the garden so that the rich compost is well mixed in. Because the garden is a large area, Digger has got them to divide it into rows of around 80-100cm with a 30cm walkway between. As the ground gets a bit wetter they will spread some woodchip mulch on the pathways for easy access.

New Crops: They're sowing broccoli, cabbage and beetroot in trays in their tunnel house. Germination at the moment has been fast because of the temperatures. Outside in the garden, there's been a wee disaster: the freshly planted seedlings have proved a bit too yummy for the local pukeko colony and lettuce and kale have been eaten down to stalks! (Or perhaps it was the Easter Bunny?) Any way the boys are in control mode, erecting temporary netting cover to out-manoeuvre the hungry interlopers! Interestingly the late crop of leeks was to their taste… The parsley patch is plentiful, but aging off, so they need to sow a new crop of it, and more coriander. Both grow well into autumn.

Pest Watch: Aside from our pukeko problem gardeners are still coping with the last of the white butterfly and green looper caterpillar devastation, but also the slugs and snails are on the move. The boys have put in late crops of marigolds to deter the munchers and will use an occasional pyrethrum spray for the former, but slugs and snails require different treatment. Try the beer trick: quarter fill a small jar with beer and lean it half buried in the garden close to crops so that the snails can easy get over the rim. Interesting how many slugs and snails end up in there overnight! Alternatively go out with a torch and catch them at their dinner after dark….

Marking ANZAC Day: Gardeners in NZ and Australia mark this time with a couple of simple practices: the sowing of red poppy seeds and getting broad beans in. Another tip is to get garlic in early - this establishes it as winter hits. Even though garlic isn't available in garden centres yet, you can use locally grown (preferably organic) heads of garlic and separate cloves gently. Discard any damaged or diseased cloves then plant each one individually - twice the depth of the clove, pointed end up. Easy!

Harvest: The boys are still picking the last cucumbers, corn and capsicum. It looks as though chillies will continue to produce until it gets much colder. Aubergines are really shiny and big, so there's a bit of a fight over those as well! Also now is great for home-grown apples, pears and quinces, plus feijoas and passionfruit! Yum. And anyone with autumn fruiting raspberry varieties is in heaven………

General March Gardening:

Maori Gardening: Following March 2015 Garden Tips we have had a lot of enquiry about the Tohunga book, Maori potatoes and kumara. Go to our website under Garden Advice and see the section on Maori Gardening for more information.
Where can I buy Paul Moon's "A Tohunga's Natural World" Book on Gardening?
Online or in store at Paper Plus
Touchwood Books (NZ Gardening book store)
Kindle edition -

Lawn Care: With autumn here it is time to turn attention to your lawn. After a very, very long hot summer a lot of existing lawns need some TLC and the sooner you do this the better it will look for the autumn. This will able your lawn to go into the winter months looking lush and healthy. If your lawn is looking tired, yellow, full of weeds or just a little thin then it's time for an autumn renovation. To renovate:
1. Fertilise with Turfmaster Gold to encourage strong growth.
2. Spray weeds with a broad range weed killer such to control broadleaf weeds.
3. About 3-4 weeks later scarify the lawn heavily to create a good seed bed.
4. Oversow bare or weak areas with the appropriate Prolawn seed blend and fertilise with Turfmaster Starter
Ask for the NEW Prolawn Lawn Guide at any of our yards for more information.

Garden Thought of the Month:

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is today." Chinese proverb

Attached Files


View all Digger Dan's Tips »