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Kumara: Sweet Potatoes

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Kumara Sweet Potatoes - Ipomoea batatas In most countries they are called sweet potatoes, but ...
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Win! A $100 Latina Fresh Soup prize pack

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Latina Fresh has lunchtime sorted with its tasty new range of single serve soups. ...
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FAQ's

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Garden FAQ'S

LAWNS

Why doesn’t my lawn look healthy? How often should I water my lawn? How frequently do I need to mow my lawn?

PLANT AND LAWN NUTRITION

What is an NPK? What is the difference between a Macro and a Micro-nutrient? What sort of environmentally friendly fertiliser can I use? What can I feed gross/feeding plants such as roses? Which is better, organic or inorganic fertilizer? Which is Miracle Gro? Can I use sheep pellets in all areas of my garden?

PESTS

I have slugs and snails in my garden, but am worried about using slug pellets as we have family pets. What can I use that won’t harm our cats and dogs? Every year when the hosta plants come up they get holes on the leaves. I don't know what is eating them. What is best way to prevent or eradicate slugs on perennials? My garden was chewed up by slugs last summer, especially hostas, dahlias, and daisies.

GARDEN REMEDIES

What can I use to remove moss and algae on my driveway that won’t leave a stain? What can I use to liven up my Polyanthas, Primulas and Cyclamen?
   
 

Q: Why doesn’t my lawn look healthy?

Lawns need to be fed regularly during spring, summer and autumn to replace nutrients removed during mowing. To ensure a lush, deep green and healthy lawn, fertilise with a Lawn Food or a Slow Release lawn Fertiliser. You should also aerate your lawn yearly with a garden fork and rake your lawn to remove a build-up of thatch (decomposed leaf matter). This will allow water and nutrients to penetrate deep into the lawn’s root zone and increase air circulation.

Q: How often should I water my lawn?

You should water your lawn deeply when the top 5cm of soil below your lawn becomes dry to encourage deep rooting. Avoid light, frequent watering as this can make the lawn more prone to diseases. Saturaid wetting agent can be applied before watering to encourage a deeper penetration of moisture to the root zone. The best time to water is in the morning.

Q: How frequently do I need to mow my lawn?

Mow frequently to encourage vigorous growth- weekly in peak growing seasons and fortnightly in winter. Never remove more than a third off the leaf blade; 3-8cm high is best or 6-8cm during summer for drought resistance.

PLANT AND LAWN NUTRITION

Q: What is an NPK?

NPK refers to the percentage of the three major nutrients in fertilisers. Nitrogen (N) stimulates thick, rich, green growth of plants. Phosphorus (P) stimulates root formation, hastens maturity and promotes seed growth. Potassium (K) maintains overall plant health while promoting strong fruit and flower production.

Q: What is the difference between a Macro and a Micro-nutrient?

Macro-nutrients are those required in relatively large quantities. These are nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium and sulphur.

Micro-nutrients, or trace elements, are essential for plant growth but are required in minute amounts. These include iron, chlorine, copper, managanese, zinc, molybdenum and boron. If one is deficient it may cause a severe abnormality in growth, however if a trace element is present in too high a concentration it may be toxic to the plant or lock up other elements. The correct balance is essential.

Q: What sort of environmentally friendly fertiliser can I use?

Tui Garden Galore sheep pellets are an organic product that contains both fast and slow release natural compounds assuring both short and long term plant feeding. It is an easy, clean way to apply sheep manure. If you require a Certified organic product use Butlers Organic Sheep Pellets.

 

Q: What can I feed gross/feeding plants such as roses?

Use Tui Nitrophoska Blue which has proven itself to be one of the world’s best-known and widely used fertilisers. It is a high quality compound N.P.K. fertiliser that can be used on a wide range of vegetables, fruits and ornamentals. Nitrophoska Blue is not suitable for pot plants.

Q. Which is better, organic or inorganic fertilizer? Which is Miracle Gro?

There are positives and negatives to both. Organic fertilizers are made from the remains of once living things, therefore they contain carbon. Inorganic fertilizers are man-made from mineral salts, and contain no carbon. (The definition of organic varies widely, but it usually contains carbon) Miracle Gro is considered inorganic. At the smallest level that plant roots are taking up nutrients, there is no difference to the plant. However, organic fertilizers (such as fish emulsion, alfalfa meal, blood meal, bone meal) provide long-term benefits to the soil, by giving soil microorganisms and earthworms food. Organic matter also improves the structure and workability of soil over time. Organic fertilizers are less likely to burn plants because they have low concentrations of nutrients (e.g., 5-3-1). Organics are slower working, but remain available to the plants longer. They are usually more expensive.

Inorganic fertilizers are usually less expensive, work faster, and have higher nutrient concentrations (e.g., 15-30-15). However, they leach through the soil faster, and can burn plant roots if improperly applied. Because they contain no organic matter, they don't improve the soil over time. Because they are made of mineral salts, they can cause salt build-up over time. These are a few of the basic differences between the two types.

Q: Can I use sheep pellets in all areas of my garden?

Yes you can, Sheep Pellets are a natural fertiliser and soil conditioner that can be used in all garden situations to build body in the soil and add valuable nutrients to plants. It is ideal for vegetables, flowers, shrubs and trees, and can be added to your compost heap

PESTS

Q: I have slugs and snails in my garden, but am worried about using slug pellets as we have family pets. What can I use that won’t harm our cats and dogs? Tui Quash Slug and Snail Stoppa kills slugs and snails but is safe for pets and wildlife. Quash is bran-based and the active ingredient is Iron chelate which has a very low toxicity. Quash is the least toxic of all slug and snail bait used world-wide. When Quash is eaten, slugs and snails will feel unwell and go back to their hiding places to die. Shells are seldom found. Quash is kind to the environment. Plants benefit not only from being protected from the ravages of slug and snail damage, but can use the iron released from disintegrating pellets as a valuable nutrient source.

Q. Every year when the hosta plants come up they get holes on the leaves. I don't know what is eating them.

The most common culprits are hail damage from early storms that does not become apparent until later in the season, and then slug damage. Slugs work at night so we don't see them, but you may find trails of slugs lime nearby. These can be stopped by sprinkling diatomaceous earth on the soil surface around the plants, by hand picking, by trapping and by baits such as Quash used carefully according to the label instructions.

Q. What is best way to prevent or eradicate slugs on perennials? My garden was chewed up by slugs last summer, especially hostas, dahlias, and daisies.

There are lots of ways to foil slugs, and I suggest using a combination of tactics. You can make life hard for them by removing leaf litter or other mulch from the soil surface and spreading a thin layer of sand or crushed egg shells on the ground instead. This will do away with their daytime hiding places and create a rough crawling surface which they should avoid. Spreading a layer of diatomaceous earth around the base of your plants can help, too, the sharp particles slice open their tender bellies. Many folks use beer traps, Burpee offers a "Slug Bar" for this very purpose. Simply fill with beer at night, the slugs crawl in...but they don't crawl out!

GARDEN REMEDIES

Q: What can I use to remove moss and algae on my driveway that won’t leave a stain?

Diagnosis: Algae is green or black scum that can be dangerous on paths and driveways as the surface can become slippery. Moss and algae usually occur on driveways or paths that are shaded and damp or have poor drainage.

Solution:

Apply (Tui Bluestone) Copper Sulphate to control moss and algae on brick, concrete, cobblestones & asphalt paths, paving and driveways. Apply to the desired area, leave to dry then sweep clean. Encourage good drainage around paths and driveways, and if possible ensure the area is exposed to sunlight to dry out surfaces.
 

Q: What can I use to liven up my Polyanthas, Primulas and Cyclamen?

Diagnosis: Nitrogen and iron are important to the health and vitality of leafy and flowering crops. Nitrogen promotes thick, healthy growth and Iron enhances the deep, green colour of flowers.

Solution:

Tui Flower Booster (Dried Blood) is high in organic Nitrogen and Iron. It is ideal for leafy crops such as vegetables and flowering polyanthus, primulas, cyclamen and other winter flowering plants. Flower Booster is best applied when the soil is warm and moist. Ensure plants are adequately watered