Home' The Tribune : November 23rd 2011 Contents 22 THE TRIBUNE, NOVEMBER 23, 2011
Tides (Foxton Beach) Sun & Moon (Palmerston North)
(rise & set) Moon
(rise & set)
Cloud increasing, and rain developing.
Northwesterlies strengthening, and may
rise to gale for a time.
© Copyright Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited 2011
25 Nov (7:10PM)
Rain clearing in the morning, and fine spells
for a time. Fresh or strong northwest
Often cloudy, with drizzle at times. Fresh
or strong northwesterlies.
Patchy drizzle clearing, fine spells
increasing. Fresh or strong NW easing.
Fine with northwesterlies.
Partly cloudy with northwesterlies.
Partly cloudy with northwesterlies.
S 8:23PM R 3:48AM
S 8:24PM R 4:28AM
S 8:25PM R 5:16AM
S 8:26PM R 6:10AM
S 8:27PM R 7:12AM
S 8:28PM R 8:19AM
S 8:29PM R 9:26AM
11 Dec (3:36AM)
2 Dec (10:52PM)
18 Dec (1:48PM)
For the latest weather
Nurture children's natural curiosity
We need to encourage our
children and grand-
children to appreciate
nature by including them in
gardening activities. Young children
have a natural infinity with plants
and insects when they are allowed
to explore. Children learn many
things by mimicking their parents
and are often keen at a young age to
assist in various gardening activi-
ties. I remember as a toddler spend-
ing many hours in the garden
collecting caterpillars off the cab-
bages and feeding them to our
chooks. I was given my own little
spade and wheelbarrow when I was
about three and had a lot of fun
moving the weeds my mum removed
from gardens to the compost bin or
to feed them to the chooks.
I can still remember how good it
felt to be part of nature back then
and the same feeling pertains today
when I work or wander around gar-
It was about that time when I was
given my own little plot of ground to
grow plants in. Seeds would be
planted and I would be taught
which seedlings were weeds and
which were plants. My own little
watering can would nurture the
baby plants till maturity. A great
ado would be made when one of my
cabbages, silverbeet or lettuces was
harvested for the evening meal.
Even though I hated eating
silverbeet back then, I had to enjoy
my own grown silverbeet, because I
grew it! It was the fuss that the
adults made, that gave me a feeling
of importance and likely kept me
gardening for the rest of my life.
Plants that move have a fasci-
nation for children and a great one
for this is Mimosa pudica, the sensi-
tive plant, which folds up its leaves
when touched. They are easy to
grow from seed, as a pot plant for a
windowsill. Nice pink flowers also.
As the plant matures it has thorns
on the branches which incidentally
are another attraction for children.
Cacti with their prickles often
appeal to young boys and I had a
small collection when young and
still keep a few.
Two awesome plants for children
to grow are the super giant
sunflowers and pumpkins.
My Giant Sunflower will grow up
to 5 metres tall grown in full sun in
soil that has excellent drainage and
lots of manure. My Giant Pumpkin
can weigh 450kg at maturity.
If I was going to grow either of
these giants, in an all-day-sunny
area, I would dig a hole about a
spade depth and width, chop up the
bottom of the hole, so the soil is
loose, then fill the hole with chook
manure to about two thirds full.
Other manure could be used if
chook manure is not obtainable, but
chook is best.
Fill the rest of the hole with a
good compost and soil mix, 50/50,
making a small mound about 12cm
tall above the filled-in hole.
Place one seed in the middle of
the mound and wet it down with
Magic Botanic Liquid (20ml of MBL
to 1 litre of water). Water the
mound to keep moist with plain
water and then every two weeks
Overseas, the biggest record
vegetables have been achieved with
products very similar or the same as
MBL. Spraying the foliage of your
giants every two weeks with MBL
(10ml to a litre) will also assist in a
bigger healthier plant. After your
plants are established and growing
well, give them a drink of Cucumber
Booster once a week. This is a high
nitrogen product that is a combin-
ation of sulphate of ammonia and
potassium nitrate, which you dilute
in water. Cucumber Booster is
excellent for any plants that enjoy a
boost of nitrogen after establish-
ment. It is used for cucumbers,
pumpkins, zucchini and gourds.
The MBL and Cucumber Booster
can be combined for watering into
the soil near the base of the plant.
Because of the weather we are
experiencing, after you plant your
plastic fruit juice bottle and place
this over the mound, with the cap
removed. This will give your seed
and seedling its own little
glasshouse. This is removed once
the seedling starts to fill the bottle
and needs more room.
With the giant sunflower, a tall
strong stake should be put in the
ground at seed-planting time on the
edge of the mound. This will be
needed later to give extra support to
the plant. Once the sunflower is
about a metre tall, plant three or
four climbing bean seeds at the base
of the plant. These will grow up the
sunflower and also provide extra
nitrogen for the flower.
If you have a gardening problem,
ring Wally Richards on 357 0606,
email firstname.lastname@example.org or
send a SAE to PO Box 489,
NOW is the time to plant summer veges
Today we start a new monthly gardening column with
Sian Cass, Gardening Mama. Sian has spent more than
20 years getting used to the growing conditions in
Manawatu. She studied horticulture at Massey
University and pursued this career. After being home-
based for a few years with her two children she sought
opportunities to pursue her passion to promote food
production at home. She became a vegetable gardening
mentor for SuperGrans and is a Plant to Plant volunteer.
Because of the borderline environment it
is important to get all of the growing
conditions you can control up to speed.
This is a good time to remind yourself of
those simple gardening rules of position,
feeding and watering.
It s time for action. November is such a
significant window in the vegetable garden
If you don t plant all those delicious sum-
mer vegetables now you have missed out
until next year.
You can get away with planting zucchini,
cucumbers and corn into December and
even January, but for tomatoes, eggplants,
capsicums, chillies and pumpkins, it s now
or next year.
Palmerston North s climate is just good
enough to produce these lovely summer
Most of these crops produce fruit well
enough but capsicum and eggplants can
have a good year and a bad year. Some
years they will provide you with fruit and
other years they won t.
If there are insufficient sunshine hours
over summer these crops won t do well. It s
always worth a try, but don t classify your-
self a failure if there are few, if any, fruit.
The weather is a great thing to blame.
Because of the borderline environment it
is important to get all of the growing con-
ditions you can control up to speed. This is
a good time to remind yourself of those
simple gardening rules of position, feeding
Summer veges will be best in a sheltered
position with 10 hours of sunshine. If you
have less sunshine consider some boosters
such as reflective surfaces like a white
fence behind or a light coloured mulch on
Bricks and blocks around the garden can
provide additional warmth reflected into
the vege patch that can assist growth too.
Wind reduces the plant temperature and
draws water out of the plant, thus shelter is
A container in the right place is a great
Remember the general rule that plant
growth above the ground will be a similar
size to the plant growth (roots) under the
ground, so don t be stingy with your pot
Consistent water availability is critical
particularly to eggplants and capsicum. For
many vegetables reasonable production can
occur with spasmodic watering, but for the
summer crops consistent water to pull the
plant growth through flowering and fruit
development can not be emphasised
So next time during a dry patch when
you hear yourself say I ll water tomorrow ,
that is your trigger to get up and provide a
good dose of water today.
These summer crops are very greedy and
you will need to have a rich food supply for
There are so many choices and opinions
on the best approach.
This is a discussion all on its own, but be
generous and consider liquid feeding once a
week. A sprinkle of sheep pellets on top of
the soil is a good start.
This window of planting is for seedlings
only. The seed window was way back in
August in the depths of winter. Some
amazing seedlings are available for sale
The bigger and the stronger the better
because these seedlings will be a step
ahead in their development and have a
greater chance of reaching fruiting.
Keep gardening simple. Buy a bundle of
seedlings from the supermarket and a bag
A scoop of compost into the soil and get
the plants in. You will figure out the
intricacies of what your plants need as you
watch them grow and start asking
Just a last note for those having snail
and slug wars in your garden. It is very
disappointing when you plant lovely basil
seedlings that get all munched up. Slug and
snail damage is identified by raggedy holes
in the leaves.
There are so many options for their con-
trol and very few seem to do a great job. It s
worth trying a few at the same time. First
clear all debris, they love mulch, weedy
sites and wood lying around.
It s time to be a clean and tidy gardener.
Try liming the soil and beer traps or a yeast
and honey mix.
Beer traps are stale beer in a saucer or
similar vessel like a half grapefruit skin,
buried so the top is level with the soil sur-
There are some good products to buy but
take care -- some are pretty nasty including
metaldehyde, whereas others are simple
molecules of iron or aluminium sulphate.
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