Landscaping NZ
Yates
Waimea Nurseries
Herb Herbert
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Grow your own Vegetables

There is nothing quite like the taste of fresh vegetables straight from the garden.

Add to this the satisfaction and sense of achievement, the savings, the knowledge that your vegetables are free of pesticides and you have some  very powerful reasons for growing your own vegetables.

At a Glance:

  • Prefer a warm, sunny site
  • Ensure the site has free draining soil and add compost to the soil
  • Use quality seeds or plants

Selecting the Site


Vegetables will grow best in a warm sunny position. They will not grow and yield in shade or where they have to compete for light and moisture. Shelter from strong winds is also a benefit.

The size of the vegetable garden depends on the size of your family and the vegetables required.



The Soil

Vegetables require a free-draining soil, rich in organic matter (compost).

In clay soils the vegetable plot should be raised or built up some 15cm above the surrounding soil to ensure good drainage.

The Seed

Modern hybrid varieties of vegetables are higher yielding, better tasting, more disease resistant and more uniform than old varieties. Seek advice from your Nichols Garden Adviser on the best varieties for your area and season.

The Plants


In many cases it is more convenient to buy plants than to raise seeds.  It saves time, and often only a small number of plants are required. The same principle applies as for seed - buy quality. Good seedlings should have 6-8 true leaves and be 5-8 cm high. Hybrids will cost a little more but are worth it!

 

The Seasons

Most vegetables prove disappointing if grown out of season.

Cool season vegetables grow best at temperatures of 10 to 20°C, but can tolerate colder. This group includes broad beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, onions, peas, spinach and turnips. These vegetables are best planted February to September for harvesting May to December.

Warm season vegetables grow best at temperatures above 20°C. They grow poorly in cold weather and are susceptible to frost. This group includes beans, capsicum, eggplant, potato, sweetcorn, sweet potato, tomato and all the curcubit vine crops. They are planted October to February for harvesting December to May.

There is a third group of vegetables which are intermediate and grow best at temperatures of 15 to 25°C. This group includes beetroot, cabbage, carrot, celery, leek, lettuce, parsnip, radish and silver beet. Many of these can be grown in cool or warm conditions, but the correct variety for the season must be chosen or they will bolt to seed. Refer to Yates Garden Guide for details.

Planning a Succession


Beginners often make the mistake of planting up a whole vege garden in October. All the crops are then ready for harvesting at the same time in early January, just as the family goes away on holiday!

For a steady continuous supply of vegetables it is best to plan requirements and sow little and often. At the same time make use of the season changes and rotate crops.

A plot system rather than rows often makes this easier to manage.

Watering

During dry weather it is important to keep vegetables actively growing by regular watering. If they suffer moisture stress they will bolt to seed.

Feeding

At the beginning of spring apply a dressing of Lime and Tui Vegetable fertiliser or Dynamic Lifter.  Work this into the soil and leave for a week before planting.

When transplanting it is a good idea to water in with Thrive to ensure a good start.

Regular feeding with Thrive is beneficial for fast growing crops such as lettuces and tomatoes.

Pests and Diseases

The major pests are slugs and snails. These can be controlled by spreading Blitzem pellets or granules or Baysol pellets at planting time.

Most fungus diseases of vegetables are controlled with  Yates Greenguard or Fungus Fighter.

Most insect pests are controlled with Mavrik.

For more persistent control of aphids, use Confidor.

For control of insects close to harvest use  Pyrethrum as it only has a 1 day waiting time between spraying and harvest.

 

 

            Autumn is the best time to sow a NEW LAWN and rejuvenate an old lawn. Lawns establish better from March to mid April when the autumn rains will soak well into the soil while it is still warm.

                First remove all perennial weeds, such as couch and dock, with a fork and then with a rotary hoe cultivate a seed bed about 20cm deep. Hollows and high places must be levelled out. Use a long board as well as much tramping with your heals - this will find all the soft spots that would sink and create hollows after the very first rain. A roller is not suitable at this stage for developing a level surface as it will simply roll the mounds and straddle the low bits.

                Most lawns are sown with fine leafed grass seed such as Fescue and Browntop and this is fine for a show lawn. But for a hard wearing lawn that will take the punishment of family cricket and playful dogs select a lawn mixture that contains some Rye in the mix. Clover is not recommended in a good lawn as it produces a large head of leaves that spread over a largish area in summer then shrinks back in winter, allowing weeds to take over before the clover re-grows.

                Because the seed is so small divide the whole lot into four parts and sow up and down the area then across as well as diagonally for an even coverage. Rake the seed in very lightly and roll. Moisten each morning to stop the birds from enjoying wonderful dust baths and you will find cats are not fond of digging damp soil either. Moisture is also vital for germination.  When the grass is 6cm to 8cm high it may be cut with a lawn mower set high.

                OLD LAWNS that are only slightly uneven and have good grass can be transformed into a really nice lawn. Spray out dandelions and daisies and 

            Autumn is the best time to sow a NEW LAWN and rejuvenate an old lawn. Lawns establish better from March to mid April when the autumn rains will soak well into the soil while it is still warm.

                First remove all perennial weeds, such as couch and dock, with a fork and then with a rotary hoe cultivate a seed bed about 20cm deep. Hollows and high places must be levelled out. Use a long board as well as much tramping with your heals - this will find all the soft spots that would sink and create hollows after the very first rain. A roller is not suitable at this stage for developing a level surface as it will simply roll the mounds and straddle the low bits.

                Most lawns are sown with fine leafed grass seed such as Fescue and Browntop and this is fine for a show lawn. But for a hard wearing lawn that will take the punishment of family cricket and playful dogs select a lawn mixture that contains some Rye in the mix. Clover is not recommended in a good lawn as it produces a large head of leaves that spread over a largish area in summer then shrinks back in winter, allowing weeds to take over before the clover re-grows.

                Because the seed is so small divide the whole lot into four parts and sow up and down the area then across as well as diagonally for an even coverage. Rake the seed in very lightly and roll. Moisten each morning to stop the birds from enjoying wonderful dust baths and you will find cats are not fond of digging damp soil either. Moisture is also vital for germination.  When the grass is 6cm to 8cm high it may be cut with a lawn mower set high.

                OLD LAWNS that are only slightly uneven and have good grass can be transformed into a really nice lawn. Spray out dandelions and daisies and rake or scarify up old thatched grasses that tend to choke out a lot of lawn grass which is often the cause of a thin patchy lawn. Fill in the low areas with soil and tramp, rake, level and sow lawn seed. Scatter some seed over scarified area and sprinkle a little top soil on top of the seed and keep it moist to help the germination.

            If GRASS GRUB has been a problem in the past, attack these pesky pests immediately. Many families of young grubs are silently underground eating the grass roots and it is not until the damage has already been done that we notice the destruction. If damage is already beginning to show sprinkle Soil Insect Killer over the lawn on a mild dewy night.

rake or scarify up old thatched grasses that tend to choke out a lot of lawn grass which is often the cause of a thin patchy lawn. Fill in the low areas with soil and tramp, rake, level and sow lawn seed. Scatter some seed over scarified area and sprinkle a little top soil on top of the seed and keep it moist to help the germination.

            If GRASS GRUB has been a problem in the past, attack these pesky pests immediately. Many families of young grubs are silently underground eating the grass roots and it is not until the damage has already been done that we notice the destruction. If damage is already beginning to show sprinkle Soil Insect Killer over the lawn on a mild dewy night.