Send in your gardening saving tips.
off the smell of an oily rag
It’s easy to grow produce in NZ, but especially if you are in the
North Island. If you don’t grow your own produce, plan for next spring
garden has very poor soil, and a previous owner skimmed off the top soil
when the house was built so we have been left with very heavy clay soil.
That being the case I grow all my produce in containers.
I found a
source where I could buy 200 litre barrels for $10.00, cut in half give
me two 100 litre containers. I also buy containers from either Warehouse
Stationary or the Warehouse depending on which has the best price. They
are the type that has different bright colours and two handles.
Just drill some holes for drainage underneath. Some of my containers are
now 5 years old and they are still fine in spite of the Auckland sun.
In the 15 litre
container I grow lettuces, parsley, coriander, basil, and capsicum. The
larger sizes are 30, 42 and 60 litres. I use the largest for tomatoes
and they will also hold 3 capsicum plants and potatoes in winter.
In summer I
grow lettuces, herbs, silver beet, eggplants, beetroot, courgettes,
strawberries, beans, chilli, tomatoes, capsicums, beetroot, snow peas,
cucumber, bitter melon, rock melon and beans. I grow three types of
tomato, Roma (acid free and great for cooking), cocktail (which has tiny
salad tomatoes great to freeze), and beef steak.
In winter I
grow silver beet, potatoes, broad beans, pak choi, coriander, baby
carrots and lettuce. If you find a sheltered corner you should also be
able to grow parsley.
are too small to grow cabbages or broccoli so I buy them. I have a
greenhouse so I can grow tomatoes including Sub Arctic Plenty, which was
apparently grown in the poles so it is very hardly indeed, and also
capsicums. I grow as much as I can fit into the greenhouse in the 15
litre, 30, and 42 litre containers.
I also have a
compost bin and use that every 6 months to top up the containers. When
on sale I buy bags of sheep pellets and blood and bone, usually it’s
on sale in the off season, and I stock up for when it’s needed.
I add both to the soil and only do a complete refresh every 3 years to
stop any diseases. Potting mix is also stocked up when on sale.
on from the above, growing in containers does mean that you need
to water more often, but I have a solution for that!
worked out a system at little cost to redirect the water from
the down pipe into my 200 litre containers which are used for
watering the garden, as well as things like washing windows,
outside of house and cleaning the car.
enables us to collect the water and when the barrels are full it
goes back to the down pipe.
was the purchases for collecting water that gave me the idea of
halving them for my plants.
We have a
two story house so we invested in a water pump from Bunnings for
about $150.00 so the water can be used on both levels of the
before Christmas we purchased a 1000 litre barrel from trade me
so now have 2000 litres in total to use.
cyclone Lusi I harvested 1800 litres (in less than 24 hours!)
which was very timely as I was about out of water.
peak of summer I use about 200 litres a day so I am saving heaps
of money collecting for free what would only go out to sea.
3 of us, and our water bills are between $34.00-$40.00 a month
in summer, now saving us a lot of cash.
discipline ourselves to a 5 minute shower, sufficient time we
think and we shower daily.I have a dishwasher but stopped using
it. Our water bills are now about half the cost they used to be
especially in summer when I have all my containers full
to use.I think the
water pump has already paid itself off!
- Once you have cut the
head off your broccoli plant instead of pulling out and
starting again, leave it in. smaller heads grow out just
above where the
leaves join the stem. You can keep eat broccoli for months.
I did this a few years ago and we eat broccoli at least 2 or
3 times a week for about 4 months off 8 broccoli plants. –
A friend gave me some
Basil mint with the caution not to let it spread out of its
container. To stop it spreading I trim it weekly and make a
batch of Basil mint pesto. Basil is a real oily rag plant -
so good to have it providing us with such delicious pesto.
– Reader, Masterton.
keep the birds from scratching your seeds out and eating
your vege plants, get any old DVD, CD or PC disc and thread
fishing nylon through the centre hole and tie to a garden
stake. Place stake in the ground where needed on an angle so
the disc can spin in the breeze. Works a treat and has kept
the birds away from my tomatoes." - Nana,
- Place crushed eggs at the base of plants, on top of leafy
greens to avoid being munched/sabotaged by slugs/white
butterflies/caterpillars. They don't like the feeling
of sharp bits under their bodies so you may be able to go a
whole season without a half munched garden. - A-OS,
- Forget about buying expensive netting to protect your
strawberry plants from greedy birds! Go to your nearest 2$
shop and buy a couple of lengths of Christmas tinsel and
drape them around your plants. I did just that and have just
eaten the most perfect, juicy berries ever! - Emma,
- Instead of expensive sprays to protect your brassicas try
potting up mint and placing the pots in and around your
young plants. The cabbage white butterflies do not seem to
like mint at all and stay away. Just don't plant the mint in
your garden direct or it will take over. - Canny Scot,
- If requiring a small amount of fresh
cabbage at a time, simply cut a wedge from the cabbage and leave the
rest growing. - B.P.
a tip to stop the neighbour's cat from ‘using’ your
the rinds of oranges or lemons - cut into chunks or strips -
around the garden. It won't harm the pesky cat but they
really don't like the smell. Adds a bit of colour and breaks
down into compost after a while. - Sam, Auckland [Funny how
cats prefer to use someone else's garden! - oily rag ed']
have grown cauliflower for many years and it is not uncommon
to have only a few leaves covering the cauli-flower. The
leaves are delicious & can be used anywhere silverbeet,
or puha is. My daughter loves this green better than any
other. I'ld be interested to see what others think. – SMP,
Years ago I cut the cauli out and forgot to pull out the
plant. Months later I discovered at least 6 had grown up
from the original root, and in diminishing size, each
produced a cauli! In due course, more grew from those roots,
and 6 months later another crop of caulis. It is a fun
thing! I suggest you dig deep and dig in peelings, compost
fertiliser, in a sunny sheltered spot and plant one cauli.
When the older ones die, I cut them out being careful not to
disturb the roots, and from the same spot, every six months
or so, lo! Six or so caulis! - Ann of Whakatane.
of throwing out the root end of the celery, place it in a
jar of water. In no time, roots will develop and it can be
planted in the garden for lots of free celery. - Faye,
your Chives have done their dash, cut them off at the base
of the plant, and watch them grow again. - Kathleen,
you are not careful a compost heap can become a great smelly
heap of sloshy muck. You are supposed to turn it over which
is hard work, especially for old folks. Here is a tip. Get
an old 40 gallon drum. Make a hole in the bottom. Put a
piece of scrunched up wire netting over the hole to keep it
clear, and perhaps a couple of broken pots. Prop it up
on bricks till you can easily slip a bucket in under the
hole. Put vege scraps and weeds in the top, put a lid on if
you have one, and the moisture that will run out the bottom
into the bucket is wonderful liquid manure. This method is
especially good for grass clippings which can go really
soggy. When worms start appearing in your liquid you will
need to pull it over and empty it out. It will be full of
lovely compost. - Marie, Rotorua.
only use a large rubbish bag about once a month for rubbish
to go to the dump. I always put fruit and vege scraps, tea
bags, egg shells, and vacuum cleaner contents into a bucket
and when it is full I dig it straight into my small vege
garden, where it turns into soil in next to no time. The
compost bin is used for grass clippings and prunings and the
odd weed - that takes much longer to produce soil. -
C.T. Onerahi, Whangarei. [Good idea C.T. We put all
household scraps into a compost bin, and a few weeks ago we
emptied it to find dark rich soil. We formed it into a
fertile mound, which has now become a thriving melon and
pumpkin patch. Another way of getting rid of kitchen food
scraps is to start a worm farm. We read an article recently
about one being made from a length of 160mm downpipe. It was
fun for the kids and a great way of having tiger worms turn
kitchen waste into plant nutrients. - oily rag ed']
tip for making compost using nothing more than large black
plastic rubbish bags, helps with the slug and snail problem
too. Jackie recommends filling the rubbish bags with soft
green waste rather than stalks, keeping them in a warm sunny
place, and turning them occasionally. She says the warm bags
attract heat seeking slugs and snails. “Gather them each
day, tie in a plastic bag and pop in the rubbish bin, or
douse them with boiling water and put them in the
Use a couple of
old car tyres placed on top of each other, then put all your
potato peelings inside covered with some compost and dirt
then topped up with lawn clippings. Before long, you'll have
a tyre full of fresh potatoes. – PR, Kawerau.
I have a tip that may make people a little queezy. I collect
dead possums and rabbits from the roadside and place them on
a wire rack (a fair distance away from my house!). I put a
large bucket underneath to collect the maggots as they drop
off the carcass. I then feed them to my chickens. They love
them! After the
maggots have had their fill, and my chickens theirs, the
remains go into my compost bill. - Joanne, Kaitaia.
I always had a problem composting, till at a night class I
was told to simply wrap peelings etc in newspaper and put in
the compost. The
newspaper provides carbon and so balances the green
nitrogenous waste. -
Compost. To date I
can't put my veges in but all the agrapanthus/leaves now
noxious weed. I cut off the green leaves and add to my
compost. We have
tons of it here as well as Ginger which is excellent for the
compost heap. Don't
forget to layer with brown vegetation. This will speed up
the break down. On top
of that seaweed, some soil, and also use as mulch around
your trees/plants. - R.W., Tekaha,
When planting my strawberries I have given them a mulch of
wet shredded paper from my shredding machine. It matts
together nicely keeping light out to prevent weeds and I
should have nice clean strawberries to eat. Makes use of
your old bank statements too. Or your advertising junk is
very colourful when shredded. Will break down eventually and
feed the worms helping the soil. - Canny Scot, Christchurch.
If you have the space available, a great place for
collecting your kitchen scraps is in the top draw! If your
cutting board is above a utensil draw, move these utensils
and create a compost draw. Of course you will need a plastic
container to put the scraps into. A long shallow dish works
best(similar to a kitty litter tray) but whatever fits. We
are using a old ice cream container at the moment. My mum
taught me this. So handy when tidying up the left overs on
the cutting board - open draw and sweep in. Does need to be
cleared regularly so scraps
don't end up jamming against the top of the draw. Also helps
to line draw with newspaper in case of any spills... Hides
the unsightly piles of scraps in the corner of your kitchen
as well. (My other half has taken to using newspaper to line
the plastic container as well to save him rinsing
constantly.) - T.B., Palmerston
- I have four round black plastic compost
bins. I fill these with the household scraps and clean garden weeds. When
bin 1 is full, I start bin 2, etc. By the time bin 4 is full, bin 1 is ready
to use. If there is any uncomposted material in the "using bins",
transfer it to one at the far end of the line. It will eventually break
down. – G.B.
make rich compose, place lawn clippings, weeds and other
garden waste into a big black plastic bag (such as a big
garbage bag). Seal the bag and leave. Turn it once a week an
after three months you will have good garden compost.
- Getting rid of Cutigrass. We
have the misfortune of having almost a dozen of these huge
weeds in our garden. After much pondering I decided to chop
down around the base & leave them to decompose. Instant
mulch. Not only has it covered some bear ground &
stopped numerous other weeds from taking hold, it has also
provided valuable humus on a steep clay bank as it breaks
down. No poisons, some effort but free compost. - S.P.
Make use of your
fences. I have a 392m2 section which includes a 60 metre
drive but I have managed to grow 56 varieties of edibles
this year. Get plastic trellis and attach it to your fences
and grow beans, peas, boysenberries, blackberries,
cucumbers, snow peas, etc. They don't all need full sun just
warm ground temperature. - Canny Scot, Christchurch.
I collect wooden
pallets (they are free!). I
have managed to fence of the back third of the section for
my chickens, and my vegetable patch is fenced to keep out
the dogs and chickens. These fences now provide lots of
vertical areas for me to grow climbers. I tie them together
with old stockings or plastic bindings which make them easy
to move. To keep them upright I place spacer pallets at
right angles which gives stability as well as creates
'rooms'/spaces in which to grow produce. – Reader,
from Masterton has this fertiliser tip that is not likely to
suit everyone (especially one where the neighbours get a
good view of your garden!). M says, "I recycle my urine
and use it on lemons, Brassica's and other plants where you
want good leafy growth".
those who have not turned away at the thought, here are some
facts to think about:
is 95 per cent water, 2.5 per cent of which is urea, and a
further 2.5 per cent of which is a mixture of minerals,
salts, hormones and enzymes.
may be poured undiluted into a compost heap to accelerate
the composting process, as well as adding nutrients. When
using directly on plants the recommended dilution rates are
about one part urine to ten parts water for garden plants
and one to thirty for pot plants. Undiluted is OK for trees,
shrubs and lawns.
use banana skins (and bulk overripe cheap bananas) to
fertilise and mulch roses. - M, Masterton
- A dead electric
kettle/jug is good for watering plants and giving them
liquid fertiliser. The kettles with a gauge that tell you
how much water is in them are particularly useful if you're
mixing liquid fertilisers. Also, if you know how much water
a particular plant needs you can mark the water gauge with a
permanent marker pen (eg Sharpie) and/or write a list on the
kettle (eg "Venus fly trap 500ml weekly"): this
avoids overflows. A kettle with a small leak is fine if
you're using it outdoors. The kettles that have a detachable
cord usually use a common type that will fit other
appliances, so they're worth keeping (especially if you have
a habit of melting kettle cords!). -Boaz,
- Instead of buying blood
and bone for your Garden, get a Fisherman's heavy duty meat
grinder (Burly Maker) and Grind up the bones to use as
fertiliser. Dry the bone meal in the oven as you cook your
next Roast, or just dig it straight in. - TXMA,
- Don't throw away your plastic milk
bottles. When they are empty fill with cold water. Place lid on and
shake. There is a good milky residue. Use the contents to water your pot
plants. It acts like a pick me up. My African daises thrive
as do my many other indoor plants. It saves you from having
to buy costly fertilisers. - D.B.
aside part of your garden to grow flowers with long stems.
This could save you a fortune in florist bills. - Meg, Te
an old trick I use to keep 'possums away from my fruit
trees. I fill up a small stocking with dog hair and hang it
from the tree. The 'possums smell the dog and keep well
clear. A more permanent and better solution is to trap them,
but this will at least keep them away if you don't have a
trap. - Possum
from "Up North"
Fairhall from Nelson suggests selling fruit from your
- I'm into aquaponics its
growing fish and plants together the fish will feed the
plants and the plants feed the fish any one interesting in
it can contact me. I have a setup plan available if wanted.
- Jodie Bonfrer, Whangarei.
years of dirty nails and hands after gardening I recently
discovered that if I put disposable vinyl gloves on then the
knit type gloves on top - my hands remained wonderfully
clean, and the disposable gloves lasted a considerable time.
- N.W., Waverley
- On my 1/8th acre
section I have a feijoa hedge, raspberries at the borders,
and apple, nectarine and lemon trees. Herbs in a small above
ground garden by the back door beans and peas climb up
fences on wire mesh. Asparagus in a plot and yams in an old
barrel as they spread into anything. Plus a small plot for
cabbage, broccoli, red onions, carrots, parsnips cauliflower
plus many more seasonally. I plant veges that are more
expensive to buy and live well. - Grandma C, Christchurch.
have a decent sized vegetable patch, with raspberries,
strawberries and blackcurrants under netting. We have a row
of coppicing gum trees (which means they regrow after being
cut at the base) for firewood, lemons, apples, plums,
walnuts [which we trade for hazel nuts and almonds), sweet
chestnuts, feijoas and peaches all help, and our three hens
lay up to 10 eggs a week (which means a couple have a day
off!]. Various herbs can be found amongst the flowering
plants. - H M K, Waipukurau
- We have just moved into a rental in Auckland and heard from
our neighbours that last summer the landlady charged the last
tenants a lot for 'summer water rates.'
We want to avoid any drama with unexpected
unaffordable fees and have arranged with the landlady to
attach a big plastic drum under the vertical spouting pipe
coming off the the garage.
It will be easy to fix together when we move out and
its another great water source for our garden. - Cat,
- Small garden and greens all winter. Silverbeet (perpetual)
(chard to some) if planted
about mid summer is just huge before the winter stops
it growing but before it bolts into seed. The leaves are so
big that on leaf feeds one person for greens. And continuous
picking lettuce also lasts all winter if planted about mid
summer or later the secret is to plant say a month apart so
that both silver beet and continuous picking lettuce are at
their best as the first frosts come and they last most of
the winter. 4 meters of garden plot feeds two for most
greens all winter. - Kay Edgecumbe, Christchurch
- Why complain about the
high price of parsnips, carrots, leeks and silver beet in
the supermarket when growing even a few winter vegetables is
so easy and much cheaper. One packet of seed or one punnet
of seedlings plus the fertiliser is less than one kilo of
vegetables on sale. Winter vegetables require fewer sprays
and big killers than summer ones. - Dorothy, Whangarei.
- If you lack gardening knowledge, do so some research. Go and
ask the elderly – grandparents, neighbours, oldies groups
and how to go about it. -
Dorothy, Whangarei. - Dorothy, Whangarei.
- A large section is not necessary. Some vegetables like
leeks, silver beet and lettuces can be popped in among the
flowers. A dog or cat is less likely to scratch them.
- Dorothy, Whangarei.
- A use for old guttering: board up the ends and fill half with spagnum moss and
then soil on top. Plant
out with parsley which will grow nicely even over winter.
Probably can do little lettuces too. -
- Broken ceramic and earthenware pots? Knock them into small
pieces and use as drainage material at the bottom of tubs or
in soil. Larger shards of colourful glazed pots can look
very effective when used to accentuate borders in flower and
vegetable plots. - Thirties
Depression Baby, Auckland.
is impossibly easy to grow.
Don't plant supermarket bulbs as they are sprayed so
they don't sprout. Go
to your farmers market, garden centre or friendly neighbour.
One bulb will produce 10 or more the next year and so
on and so on. We
had over 150 this year.
It also keeps the bugs down in the garden.
We're always giving them away! - M C Geisser,
Here’s a tip to make a cheap glass house. “Kept an eye
on the Trademe windows for sale. Many houses are converting
to double glazing so single glazed windows are going cheap,
often for only a dollar. I now have 14 square meters of
glass house and total cost was under $80. Old glass doors
make good roof. I have even used old car wind screens (free
from the window repair people). The screens were cracked but
still water proof and (with suitable protective clothing)
can be cut with a thin grinding wheel on a hand grinder. The
result was a lovely curved roof strong enough to withstand a
snow storm.” - Kay Edgecumbe
- A cheap "glasshouse". I made mine by purchasing
clear plastic shower curtains (Kmart seems the cheapest and
Bunnings the more expensive) and attaching them to the
inside of my balcony with curtain hooks. Apart from the
easterly breeze which blows them around, have managed to
keep my plants warm and sprouting nicely. - Trixie,
- Another basil tip. The basil in a pot that you can buy at
the supermarket is not a single plant but a cluster of about
20 seedlings. Choose
one with lots and then plant them out in the tunnel house or
a sheltered corner of the garden. Much cheaper than buying a
pack of basil plants at the warehouse or garden centre. - Allie,
- When you are harvesting basil, as well as making pesto,
freeze some leaves in very small plastic bags.
They will last all year in the freezer. Just take one
out, crumble it (while it is still crunchy) into pasta
dishes. It keeps all the fragrance and flavour of fresh
basil. - Allie,
- Tomatoes require plenty of water when fruiting. The hose is
useless on a hot summer's day. Take a two litre plastic
bottle, drink the contents, put a pin hole in the side down
at the bottom of the bottle, then fill with water and place
it in the garden by the tomato plant. Remove the pin and a
fine stream of water will run out, taking about 4 hours to
empty. The water will not affect the tomato on such a fine
day, and it will get the full benefit, resulting in more
fruit. Do this daily in fine weather. - Apteryx,
Kids garden. The good thing about
a kids garden is that it does not need to be big… something about a
metre square should be enough. We recommend a raised garden, using a
timber frame with a minimum height of 150mm (and if they get tired of
gardening it can always be turned into a sand pit!).
the frame on a flat sunny spot free from shadows and chilly
winds. Line the bottom with newspaper then fill the frame
with a mix of topsoil and compost or growing mix – you
will only need about one-eighth of a metre or half a trailer
load. That’s all there is to it! You’re now ready to
plant, and you won’t need special equipment – just your
typical beach bucket and spade will do fine!
could grow anything but to avoid disappointment start with
things that are easy and do not require sprays. Try various
types of lettuce, dwarf beans, mini tomatoes, cauliflower,
cabbage silver beet and capsicum. If you have space try
water melons and pumpkins (grow the giant ones and using the
shell to make a Halloween face).
- When my grandchild was a preschooler and I looked after her
during the day, we spent many long hours in the organic
veggie garden One thing Emma
wanted to do was to grow something herself, by her
self We chose the silver beet that we purchased, then Emma
planted, them watered them & cared for them Now I am
thrilled to say that she will go down to the garden, pick
the leaves, wash them & above all loves to eat her
silver beet. All you Nannies give it ago!!!!! - Nannie
Suzanne, Okere Falls -Rotorua.
- Use a
push mower instead of a petrol driven mower. They are
cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, create no pollution, and
will keep you fit.
I order a truck load of manure at once. At $60 a truck load
it’s really economical, as opposed to $12 a bag. –
grounds are a good growing medium for mushrooms. - Greenfingers,
our favourite chives die down in the winter and we miss that
yummy flavour in our meals. So why not use onion weed
instead? It's a similar but different flavour, yummy
yet mild - and prolific in winter. Most people have it
in the back yard and treat it as a nuisance weed. Enjoy
it in your meals instead. Anywhere you'd use chives,
you can use onion weed, finely chopped. Here's a few
suggestions for a quick winter meal:
scrambled egg or omelette
grilled cheese on toast or in a cheese and onion
sandwich - toasted or plain
mashed potatoes (with lots of butter and zap of white or
hot toast with avocado and lots of black pepper
scones - add cheese if you like.
A lot people have
trouble getting parsnip seed to strike. The secret is after
you have put in the fertiliser and sown the seed in the row
pour boiling water over the seed. I know someone who always
had trouble getting parsnips to strike I told him of this
method, and he has had success ever since. Make sure to use
hollow crown seed so you don't get a tough core. This method
also works on older seed. - Diesil Den, Christchurch
Old toilet roll spools. Save
them up, cut them in half, pack in a kitty litter tray and
fill with seed raising mix. Add your parsnip seeds, one to
each roll. When they sprout you can plant out by lifting the
toilet roll and transferring to garden bed.
Roll breaks down in soil. - Alastair, Whangarei
always plant our pea seeds in lengths of spouting filled
with potting mix. When the seeds have germinated and are
ready for the garden, all we do is dig a trench and push the
length of pea plants into the trench. Works better than
trying to get the seeds started in the soil and we don't
have wasted areas of bare ground. - Rosie, Wanganui
- Seed propagating kits from retailers are so expensive, and
you can easily make your own. Save flat, shallow plastic
trays (the black plastic trays used to sell sausages and
mince in are perfect) to use for the base/saucer. Grab an
old cardboard egg tray (the ones that hold 30 eggs) and cut
it to the size of your plastic meat tray, so that it fits
nice and evenly inside the tray....and voila! seed
propagating kit. Instead of going about the finicky business
of watering fragile seeds, you simply fill the plastic tray
instead, and the cardboard egg tray will constantly absorb
water from the plastic tray, keeping the soil and the seeds
evenly moist. I use this technique to get a head start on
the season, placing my home made seed kits in an old, unused
vehicle, which acted like a greenhouse. You can also use old
plastic bags, put the seed kit inside and leave in a sunny
location, but be sure to open for a brief period daily to
let the germinating seeds breathe.
Also, I have used the hot water cupboard with great
success, to germinate seeds. Thumbs up to all the other
comments, fantastic kiwi "number eight wire"
attitude. love it!- K.O., Mahia.
- Use broken up polyurethane packing in the bottom of your pot
plants. it keeps them warm and is lighter when you need to
move your large pots. - Denis, Opotiki.
- Recycling milk cartons are great for potting up seedlings.
Cut in half with knife, trim bottom corners with scissors
for drainage. Ready to go, Plants should be removed when
ready to plant as plastic coating doesn't breakdown. - M.T.,
husband is growing ALL our garden veges from seed.
He has found a useful way of using 2 litre milk
bottles as seedling pots.
He cuts it halfway up, fills the bottom with soil,
then cuts the top into 4 divider slots & slots them in.
We use every container, yoghurt pottle, plastic
bottle, polystyrene container we have coming out of our
And best of all, they are reusable. - A Hume, Wairoa.
- Making a seed propagator is quite easy, any container with
drainage. Just sow seeds, water and bend some wire in a
hoop, then cover with gladwrap. This should act like a mini
glasshouse. - Trixie, Christchurch.
- Being a "keen as mustard" type of Oily Ragger I
decided to build a large raised garden in the paddock next
to the house with enough room, I thought, to grow enough
veges to feed an army, to lower the food bill and generate
some nature time and of course a great excuse to get a bit
grubby! - which I in later months had to double in size and
am at present thinking about a bit more room! After hours of
begging, borrowing etc a certain gardening magazine, and
armed with my rather tatty Yates guide, I was prepared to
sow my first seed and did so in the egg cartons I had
ferreted away for my project of the year.
After the third seed sowing expedition I ran out!
"Help a world wide egg carton shortage" I
thought - then remembered that these are sold in the
millions at shops so someone should have some.
Promptly putting on my thinking cap I begged and
bribed, with fresh veges, my friends and family to get more
but alas this was not meant to be by the fifth sowing that
is - I had cleaned everyone out!
Given that we have our own chocks things were looking
rather grim on the egg carton front!
When all else fails "google it" and that
was when I found that I could fold up and make paper pots in
a number of ways. Ah-ha!
A good way to use up newspaper, non-shiny pamphlets,
photocopying paper, invoices, statements, phone bills,
electricity bills etc - you name it I have a seed sown in
it. Once the
seedling has formed it's first set of real leaves these can
be hardened off and planted into the garden with - like the
egg cartons and toilet rolls - no disruption to the precious
root system and the pot will disappear very quickly so the
plant can grow through and establish it's self to help me
pay for the egg cartons that I traded for veges!
So I now look forward to getting my junk mail and
bills as all I can see is the food that they will start.
All I need now is a gardening guru on tap - seen as I
am a relatively beginner gardener and wished I had listened
more to Nana and granddad when it came to what is what and
why this and that happens! But as always any help is
gratefully received and recycled!
Also a seedling in a paper pot is great to give as a
living gift ready to go into your recipients garden - no
waste and if you save seed from the previous year very, very
cheap. I put together
a "house warming" pack for a young family which
had paper pots folded, home made seed raising mix in a
couple of ice cream containers, 5 packets of self collected
seed complete with growing instructions and some hand made
row labels to finish it off. - Keen as Mustard, Rural
- Place seeds such as
peas, beans, luffa, etc in warm water for two days then
plant. We are having a gardening competition so we are
looking for ideas like this. We will be judging in December
and taking a bus around to see all the gardens. - Manawahe
- If planting large seeds like beans, use the
inners of toilet rolls, part fill with seed mix, put in the seed and top up.
You can get about 12 of these to stand up in an ice cream container. And in
due course plant out the whole tube. No transplant shock. The cardboard will
rot away quickly. – G.B.
- Go to an organic shop.
Purchase lentils, chick peas, haricot beans (navy) etc and
come home and pop them in punnets. They will grow for you,
Plant them in the gaden as normal and harvest when ready. -
- Be sure to write the name
on the lower part of the label as well
as it won't fade so quicly underground. - P.J.H.,
- Next time you think
about throwing out your old ice cream boxes cut them into
strips and make little plant markers with them. Make sure
you use a waterproof marker when writing on them. - Canny
- When the milk bottle is
emptied fill with cold water with lid on shake well, and use
the residue on all your plants. If you have a fish tank,
when emptying save the water for pot plants etc. These hints
work well - you don't have to buy plant food. - D.M.
We had no luck growing capsicum from packeted seed so
brought a fresh capsicum, scooped out the seed and planted
that fresh and Walah -
lots and lots of plants. - K.S., Morrinsville.
Keep you packets of seeds in the bottom of the fridge in a
container and they will stay useable for years. I once grew
carrot seeds that were 5 years past the use by date. - K.S.,
To keep pot plants watered,
punch a column of small holes down the side of a thin
plastic bottle. Bury it in the pot with the top poking above
the soil, and the holes facing the plant. Fill the bottle up
and it will act like a reservoir and drip feed the plant. -
Collect water for your
pot plants, place a bucket in the shower, and collect the
water you waste waiting for the shower to reach the right
temperature. I leave the bucket in the shower and collect
what I splash around. - Annenz, Auckland
I live in a small unit
with a courtyard. I will be buying potting mix, which I will
be putting directly into bags. I bury the bags out in the
courtyard and plant directly into those bags by simply
cutting small slits in the bag. No mess no fuss. This will
be my first go at it but I have seen it done. I have a
potato with lots of eyes on it that I have saved to plant
for new potatoes, and I am thinking about tomatoes - who
knows what I can grow in those bags. Potting mix is pretty
cheap here. - Old dame, Mooloolaba Queensland Australia.
Reuse potting mix safely .I fill a 3 ltre plastic ring basin
with the old mix (moist) and give it 12 minutes
on high in the microwave. Give it a stir at about 10
mintes. I test with my big thermometer
its reading over 90 degrees so all the nasties have
been zapped. If
you don't have a
suitable thermometer give it 15 minutes in the microwave
to be sure. This
is much better than fresh potting mix for sowing seeds in
just as it is . But
for planting out plants some slow release fertiliser needs
to be added. - P.J.H.,
- Re-use old tyres available for free on Trademe to plant trees in if you have
waterlogged soil. Cut the centre
out using a short bladed strong knife. The
roots love the warmth and seem to grow well. I
use 4wd tyres that have fairly soft rubber easier to
cut. You stack two tyres on each other and fill
with dirt you cut the part out that would usually hold water
if you left it in so in effect you just have a rubber wall
around the dirt.
planting carrot seeds, put an egg tray in the ground at
ground level, fill with seed mix soil & plant 1 carrot
seed per egg hole When the carrots come up, you don't have
to thin them, they grow to a good size because they are
spaced & if any don't come up you just put another seed
in that hole They look good too all in nice even spaced rows
& the trays just rot away before the carrots are ready.
- Bryan Batty, Rorotua.
raising seedlings, put old tea bags in a dish of water and
sprinkle or place your seeds on top. When they shoot and
grow up a bit, transplant them to potting mix in raising
cups with tweezers from your wife's manicure set (while
she's out!). This way you definitely get only one seed per
cup. - Shane Dumbell, New Plymouth.
Save seeds from supermarket or market purchased vegetables. If
the seeds are moist such as tomato, pumpkin etc, space them out
onto handitowels or toilet roll sheets. Write the date and
variety on the paper. I love checking out farmers markets for
unusual varieties of vegetables that contain seed to grow. You
get to have your cake and eat it too! I always have small
ramikins on my kitchen windowsill to scoop seeds into when
preparing meals. Once dried you can roll up, wrap in tin foil
and store for the next season. When planting time comes simply
unroll and lay onto a seed raising container ( cut paper to size
if required) and cover with another layer of potting mix. Plants
will grow well spaced. - Jules,
- I grow silver beet -
however don't always eat it all. I also had a problem with
the plants going to seed as I didn't pick it fast enough.
Now I just pick and chop up and freezing in bags works
nicely. Bags can also be reused. When I cook I just put the
frozen silver beet in.- Rocky, Napier.
Mum has a conundrum – one many families will relate to.
“We have silver beat growing all year round. It’s easy
to grow, and free which is even better, but unfortunately
it’s not a favourite with our young children. Can anyone
help me with ways to introduce silver beat into our meals in
a way that makes it more palatable to young tums?”
from Whakatane suggests, “In answer to young mum whose
children do not like silverbeet I would suggest to make a
thick white sauce with whole milk and add finely pureed
silverbeet or spinach. The creaminess hides that 'teeth
blunting' feeling, serve the vegetable with mashed potatoes
and a fried or poached egg. Try and add a little vegetable
stock powder or nutmeg to the blended vegetable and sauce
writes, "Young Mum wanted a recipe for silverbeet which
her youngsters will enjoy. What follows works just as well
with Spinach and is delicious. Here are the ingredients for
a meal for four: 750 grams of silverbeet, 2 eggs, 6
tablespoons flour, 500 grams cottage cheese, 1/4 teaspoon
salt, nutmeg, freshly ground pepper, and 1½ cups grated
the silver beet, trim & chop finely; cook & drain
squeezing out excess water. Beat eggs & flour together
until smooth, add silverbeet, cottage cheese, salt, nutmeg
& pepper combining them well. Put into a well greased 23
x 34cm baking dish sprinkling more grated cheese over the
top. Bake uncovered at 180 degrees for 45 minutes; it can be
eaten hot or cold. A decadent option is to chop & &
precook a couple of rashers of bacon sprinkling these &
the bacon fat over the top a little prior to serving.”
Barnes suggests this. “This is a useful way to use as
little or as much silverbeet as you prefer. I use 4 leaves
of silver beet chopped finely, a batter mixture of 3/4 cup
flour, 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 or 2 eggs whisked,
add flour etc., milk to thin and greens. Fry in a little hot
oil. It’s lovely with tomato sauce, which should appeal to
children.” [Who can disagree with that – adding tomato
sauce to anything usually does the trick!]
M from Christchurch has a tip for spinach (which could also
be used for silverbeet). “Chop the stuff up finely as if
it is parsley and sprinkle it in everything...muffins with
cheese, quiche type recipes, sprinkle on spuds, add loads to
salad, add to soups, casseroles. The flavour is negligible
but that iron goodness is incorporated into lots of food.”
I decided to start tidying my small vege garden today, ready for spring
planting. In the centre of it there was an old square recycle bin, lying
upside down. As I lifted it up I just about fainted; the inside was
covered with snails! There must have been a thousand! Now, what to do
with them all? I half-filled a bucket with water and a liberal amount of
salt. Within 2 minutes they were crawling their way up to the top. So
much for salt. Cut long story short, it took more than an hour before
they finally gave up the ghost. I then remembered an old trick: Strong,
fresh- brewed coffee is the thing - kills them dead! - Emma, Auckland
To keep slugs and snails away from newly planted seedlings,
just make a small flat container out of tin foil and put 3
or 4 slices of cucumber on it. The cucumber and tin
foil together seem to give off an unnoticed smell that slugs
and snails don't like. I put a couple of little holes in the
bottom so they didn't collect rainwater. We
have a raised garden about 2 1/2 x 3 meters and I used 3
small containers about 12 x 9cm approx.
- Trish, Tauranga.
Save on slug pellets etc. I cut the bottom off a two litre
bottle of milk or soft drink and put it over any new plants
until they are big enough for them to take off. Also they
grow faster, after coming out of the hot house. Slugs and
snails do not climb them – B Cassey, Te Puke.
Stop wasting money on
slug pellets, they don't work, slugs don't even like them.
save your eggshells , dry them in oven ,crush and sprinkle
round the plants you want to protect. Snails will not cross
them. They break down and benefit the soil too without
chemicals. P.S. I tried the newspaper tip but caught no
snails. - Canny
want to share a wonderful moneysaver I stumbled on. I
crushed a piece of newspaper and shoved it among plants to
save going to the house. Next morning I recovered and in it
were 20 slugs of all sizes. I was so excited I put more
crumbled paper around the plants. By the following morning I
had 110 slugs. Prior to this I used expensive slug pellets
that didn’t seem to work. Crumbled paper is the answer.
It’s a plant and money saver. - P.M.
- Grow NZ native spinach vine plants. They are a little known
vegetable, it is a vine that is really fast growing,
provides huge volumes, keeps weeds down and incredibly
delicious. Simply pluck the leaves from the vine and it
continues to sprout.3-4 plants will easily keep a family fed
for the winter. It grows all year round and is idiot poof! -
When using spring onions, leave the last 3 / 4 cm at the
root end and replant in your garden, it will regrow, can
then just cut spring onion leaving root in ground. Will have
for spring onions for seasons from 1 original purchase. - C
J Turner Masterton
of growing leeks, plant spring onions instead! They will
grow just as big as leeks, have the same taste and are more
useful over a longer period. - TB, Blenheim
- Don't waste money
buying garden twine. Grow a small flax bush and use pieces
of the leaves. You may pay for the flax bush once, but you
will have it forever. – YM, Christchurch.
you or a friend have one tomato plant it is really easy to
get many freebies. Use the laterals. These are the
'unwanted' side shoots that you are told to remove. Do
remove them. As you do your gardening keep a cup of water
handy, carefully pull the shoot off and put the shoot in the
water. After about 3 days in water the shoots will start to
grow roots. A new plant. Once the roots are about 1-2cm long
plant them into pots of mix or compost & soil, then
after a week or so into the garden. If you have some fine
gravel or pumice put this in the water the shoots are in. It
helps to keep the roots separate, grow stronger & easier
to pot on. DO NOT DO
THIS, BELOW, FOR GRAFTED TOMATOES. Always plant standard
tomatoes deep so the top is just above soil level. The
original roots are deeper, closer to water and the buried
stem will grow roots allowing the plant to
grow faster & healthier. - Michael. Auckland
Tomatoes require plenty of water when fruiting. The hose is
useless on a hot summer's day. Take a two litre plastic
bottle, drink the contents, put a pin hole in the side down
at the bottom of the bottle, then fill with water and place
it in the garden by the tomato plant. Remove the pin and a
fine stream of water will run out, taking about 4 hours to
empty. The water will not affect the tomato on such a fine
day, and it will get the full benefit, resulting in more
fruit. Do this daily in fine weather. -
- Every one has left overs and they go in the fridge and come out a week later
when you are growing tomatoes and taking a lot of laterals
off and you forget your gloves and have tomatoes on the vine
and you have lots of green on your hands from working with
the vines take one or two tomatoes and squash them between
your hands it will remove all the green of your hands we did
this when i worked for someone picking tomatoes commercially
so i know it works. - Tui, Thames.
- One can grow tomatoes inside.
Transplant seedlings, when need be put in a warm sunspot
& you've got a plant growing! - P & J Funnell
make a natural weed killer, mix 1 gallon of white vinegar, half a cup of
salt, add eight drops liquid dish soap - put it all in a spray bottle to
apply. Marion says it will kill weeds in two to three days. - Marion,