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Is spring gardening on your menu?
It’s a bit like comparing a gourmet chef and a passionate home cook – some people love the process of creating a masterpiece from scratch and some of us like the idea and certainly the taste but simply don’t have the time.
In the same way as cooking, you don’t need to demonstrate cordon bleu gardening skills to achieve tasty results in your own little piece of Kiwi paradise, no matter how grand or simple it is.
If you want a quick, ‘green feel good’ hit to get started, nip into your local garden centre, grab a bag of potting mix, a hanging basket or terracotta pot, some colorful annuals (try dianthus, pansies or lobelia), and whamo - instant colour in less time than it takes for a pizza delivery!
Just like cooking, preparation and high quality ingredients are a vital part of the recipe for gardening success. Now’s the time to ensure soil is well prepared with compost and fertiliser and yes, a little bit of ‘blending’.
If you’re not sure which ingredients are right for your soil type just ask at your local garden centre – you won’t be the first to front up bearing a handful of soil – staff will be happy to help.
Every good cook appreciates home grown, fresh vegetables and if you’re one of those high achievers, keen to compete with your neighbours vege patch, avoid the temptation of planting too early. In cooler climates don’t plant beans, zucchinis or tomatoes until you feel the winter bite has gone.
However, you can plant vege seeds now including carrots, beetroot, silverbeet and peas.
A ready supply of fresh herbs is a fantastic compliment to any dish. Start with the basics such as thyme, basil, majoram, chives, and parsley. Apart from the convenience of grabbing what you need, when you need it – growing your own costs a fraction of what you pay for fresh herbs at the supermarket.
A good tip is to plant them not too far from the door so you can get your hands on them easily.
Don’t let pesky slugs and snails ruin your crop. Combat them with pellets or bait. Check with your garden centre as to which brand is best for you – don’t forget to tell them if you have pets or young children likely to dabble in your patch!
Chief Executive Officer, Nursery & Garden Industry Association of New Zealand, John Liddle says now is also a great time to involve children in planting their own mouth-watering strawberries.
“We know that children who have positive memories of gardening are likely to carry that through as lifetime gardeners – what a great legacy to leave future generations.”
If you’re keen to stay up to date with all things gardening, then ask for your free copy of the new look Go Gardening Magazine. Available at Gardening NZ retailers, Go Gardening is published by the Nursery and Garden Industry Association and is full of practical advice and handy tips to help you become a dab hand in your own garden.
All plants, including coloured annuals, make fantastic gifts – they’re inexpensive (from as little as $2) but can really brighten up the recipient’s day. If you’re not sure which plant to choose, why not purchase Gardening NZ Gift Cards, either online (www.gardengiftcards.co.nz), or from your local Gardening NZ retailer?
These pocket sized cards, fit neatly into an envelope, allow you to nominate the value and are redeemable at Gardening NZ retailers nationwide. Gardening NZ Gift Cards are also handy to have in the family ‘present box’ for those last minute occasions such as a thank you, birthday, get well or even to acknowledge a bereavement.