By Peter Wayman
of Palmers Bethlehem
May already, the last month of autumn, and it is only six weeks to the shortest day of the year.
That means it is time to plant the garlic and shallots. You can do this any time during May, June and July and even into August for later crops, but tradition says for garlic, plant on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest. Garlic and shallots will be available in store in a couple of weeks.
When planting garlic, only plant good strong New Zealand grown corms. Don’t plant imported ones as these are mostly treated and will not grow. Split the corms up into separate cloves and plant in rows about 10cm apart and fertilise.
Seed potatoes are also available now for planting as a winter crop in sheltered areas. Heavy frosts could damage the foliage but with the use of frost cloth in frost prone areas they would grow fine. One of the best advantages of growing potatoes in the winter is that you should not have problems of the potato psyllid which can destroy crops during the summer months. Another job needing attention now, if you are wanting more, is to lift and replant strawberry runners direct into new rows.
In the flower garden there is plenty to do, clean up old bedding plants and replant with winter varieties such as pansies, violas, polyanthus, primula and cineraria. These all make a very colourful garden during the winter months. Another job is to cut back the herbaceous plants to tidy them up for the winter.
Don’t forget to put containers of tender plants in sheltered spots and keep them on the dry side during the winter as too much water can be harmfull during the colder weather.
If you have deciduous trees that are now loosing the leaves, rake up the leaves and put into a heap to compost during the winter, don’t leave them sitting on the lawn for too long and enjoy your winter garden.