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I have recently returned from the Waikanae Garden festival on the Kapiti Coast which I can highly recommend – I managed 15 gardens in one day!!!

It’s interesting how far behind everything is there – around 3 to 4 weeks I would say! No one yet had powdery mildew on their zucchini (spray with a very dilute solution of milk) and everything looked very healthy, unlike a lot of our Auckland vege patches right now with the heat and lack of rain we have been experiencing.

It was also amazing that EVERYONE had a very productive vegetable garden, it seems like that’s just what they do around there! “I never actually buy vegetables” was a comment received from one garden owner – hurrah! I say!

Now! A plug for St Heliers Garden Club, where I am currently President – we have our AGM on Feb 25th and Jo McCarroll, editor of NZ Gardener is coming to talk to us. Everyone is very welcome to come as a guest and decide later if you would like to join our happy throng.

Talking of NZ Gardener magazine, some of you may have noticed the article on ‘Boutique Permaculture’ in the February issue with ‘yours truly’! The article is all about the workshops we have been running - next one is Friday February 26th. Please do invite your friends to join us and give them the special Voucher code we have given you in your email – good for up to 2 friends

I have had some great feedback on those who have taken up the ‘The Ruth Stout No Work’ gardening method with 6 inches of hay on your beds. For me, it has been so successful that I have only just, last week, taken to giving my tomatoes a drenching as they were looking a bit ‘pinched’ although not drooping, I haven’t watered since planting on Labour day!! And as you can see from the photo, we have lots and lots of lovely fruit.

A very simple recipe for those with a soup maker - toms, an onion, a carrot, salt & pepper and some vegetable stock!


Thought for the Month…

I must have flowers….always and always.

Claude Monet


What to do with all those Zucchini!

I thoroughly enjoyed this recipe, which incidentally is a Weight Watchers recipe. A great way to use up all those Zucchini

Stir-fry grated zucchini, onions and garlic, mix in pre-cooked brown rice, egg, tomatoes, feta cheese and basil. S&P to taste, cook in a 180’ fan oven, preheated. Delicious!

Waikanae Garden Festival

The weekend of Auckland day saw myself and husband down on the Kapiti Coast. Whilst there, we took in the 15 strong garden festival around the beautiful beachside township of Waikanae. I managed to get around all the gardens in one day!

Here are a few pictures. Some notable facts are that everyone was soooo organic, no sprays, lots of compost and EVERYONE was growing their own produce for the table in a pretty serious way. Talking to garden owners, they took it for granted that that is ‘what you do!’

Imagine my surprise when it turned out that, by complete coincidence, my hostess of the Airbnb I had booked turned out to be the President of the Waikanae Garden Club! Us gardeners really do find each other. I highly recommend a stay in their beautiful apartment, Abbey Rose, complete with show quality gardens and a pool and only 8 minutes’ walk to the beach!

What to do in the garden February February


Moon Planting:

14th to 24th Feb for all ‘above ground’ veges by the Moon Calendar!

‘Below ground’ veges (roots etc.) are best planted either 1/2nd or 8/9th Feb.

So, here’s what’s good to sow and plant in St Heliers right now:

Sow or plant out:

• Lettuce, Spinach, Silverbeet, Bok Choy. If it is boiling hot, protect salad greens with a bit of shade cloth and keep seedlings well watered..

• Brassicas but best protected with netting to avoid cabbage white butterfly caterpillars.

• Beetroot, Carrots, Radish.

• If you are not sick of them you could get away with another Zucchini plant!

Direct sow

• Greencrops – phacelia, lupin, buckwheat, red clover or mustard to give your soil a rest between crops, to provide a living mulch for autumn plantings. • Basil. Little and often sowings of basil are super useful. Basil is at its best when fresh and young – such a beautiful summer herb. Let the old plants flower for the bees and to save the seed. • Dwarf beans. Another row sown now will take you through autumn.


• I found this potentially useful guide

• For everyone (like me) who is organic, just substitute the feed for an organic produce like this one I have found and am using


Think about ordering your bulbs soon – peruse the catalogues! This one is a good option

You may need to place some in the fridge now!

• Plant arctotis, calendula, gazania, osteospermum, portulaca, sedum and all types of succulents. • Sow seeds of winter flowers like pansy, viola, primula, polyanthus, calendula, cineraria, poppies, lobelia, alyssum and snapdragon.

Fruit Trees:

• Feed and mulch your fruit trees. If you have guilded with Comfrey, now is a good time to slash it in place to both feed an mulch the tree.

• Check your peaches for signs of brown rot. If you see any, harvest now and process as it will spread on the tree rapidly.

• Make Jam and fruit cheese with plums.

Watering tips from Palmers

• Soak your garden every four days, instead of short shallow watering.

• Water early or late to ensure the water gets to where it needs to.

• Water the roots, not the leaves for maximum plant benefit.

• Use a sprinkler with a timer to deliver just the right amount of water.

• Applying mulch around the base of your plants can conserve up to 70% moisture in the soil and also suppresses weed growth.

Garden for Wellbeing February 2021 Newsl
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