Category Archives: Weekly Blog

1 February 2019

1 February 2019

Happy New Year to you all! Hope the year has started well.

It would be fair to say it’s typical for gardeners to complain about the weather. It’s either too wet, too cold or too hot. This year complaining about the weather being too hot however feels justified – the sun seems to be really intense! Early morning and late evening is definitely the best time to be in the garden. Continue reading 1 February 2019

21 December 2018

21 December 2018

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We’re enjoying the Xera dwarf beans we planted a few weeks back, but due to the wide range of conditions so far this summer, I’ve held off planting out my cucumbers and chillis until later than usual. Both like consistent warm soil conditions and sunny days to thrive.

Both these crops are planted into beds to which we’ve added lots of organic matter in the form of compost. This not only makes the soil more friable and aerated, but also helps hold moisture and feeds the plants. A side dressing of chook poo and volcanic rock dust and it’s ready to plant.

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I’ve planted a variety of cucumbers – the easy-to-grow Lebanese type which are sweet and crunchy, the old-fashioned apple cucumber for great flavour and a few gherkins to make pickles – way too much for a single family but any excess can be given to friends and neighbours.

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I’ve used coconut matting as a mulch. This helps retain moisture, suppresses weeds and helps keep the fruit off the soil. It’s a good idea to place a stick at the base of each plant so you know where the roots are to water once they spread out.

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The capsicums and chillis are planted in similarly-prepared soil. I love growing the bull horn type capsicums. They seem easier to grow than the blocky types and produce a good crop every year.

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After planting, it’s best to stake each plant with 2 or 3 bamboo sticks in teepee style. The plants get quite heavy with fruit and if you don’t stake them, they can fall over in the wind. If you do this at planting time, there’ll be less chance of root disturbance.

Finally, add a good covering of mulch and water in well to give the plants a good start. Both these crops are easy to grow and don’t usually suffer from pests. However, my local pukekos enjoy pulling out the plants as soon as they can, so I have to hoop and net them until they’re established.

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Happy gardening over the holiday period!

From Rob, Jan and the Team at OEG

16 November 2018

16 November 2018

With the weather warming up and NIWA predicting a drought, it’s time to put in our main summer crops. I’ve been holding off with the tomatoes as the evenings have still been a bit cool in our area. Finally the days have warmed up the soil, so it’s time to plant.

Growing tomatoes can sometimes be a bit tricky, but if you can get the soil and the conditions right, the reward is worth the effort.

There are a lot of options for tomatoes. It all comes down to what you like to eat. Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow, but I prefer the larger beefsteak types. There are ones for sauces and others for salads. I generally find the older varieties have a better taste and do well in an organic garden.

Unless you’re growing the bush varieties (determinate), it’s best to provide a structure for tomatoes before planting. They’re heavy croppers and a bamboo stick will not hold that amount of weight.

Sunlight is also important as tomatoes don’t thrive in shady conditions. The hotter and sunnier the weather, the better they grow and taste.

Before planting, add a good amount of organic matter/compost. Not only will this feed the plants, but will help with moisture retention. We also add animal manure in the form of chook poo, gypsum for calcium and volcanic rock dust because it’s a good all-round fertiliser. For more information on growing tomatoes, see here.

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The second crop are our beans. Beans are really easy to grow and are a rewarding crop. If space is limited, dwarf beans do well but they do have a shorter cropping life.

Climbing beans need a trellis or frame. Remember they can grow up to 2 metres and the wind can catch them, so make the support as strong as possible. We like to plant a variety of beans and this year it’ll be our reliable Scarlet Runners, some Italian Flat beans and the Purple Pole beans for colour.

The most common error with beans is lack of water. This makes them hard and stringy, so mulch well and water often. Beans also like less acidic conditions than tomatoes so a side dressing of lime is also helpful.

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No matter what you’re planting, or have planted, now’s the time to mulch mulch mulch. Mulch keeps in the moisture, keep the roots cooler and suppresses weeds. The garden will reward you for it.

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From Rob, Jan and the Team at OEG!