Gardening teaches resilience against pests

All you need is love

November continues to be an exciting and busy planting time for us in the garden…although across the country the weather poses challenges for many gardeners to overcome. It sometimes gets to the point where you feel like throwing your arms up in the air and asking what next? But as my mother used to say; “Never give up, get out there and try again, you can do it”. Gardening teaches resilience.

The main challenge for me is the weeds, which grow out of control. As soon as I pull a crop, to create space, a weed (or two!) appears growing like Jack Bean overnight. A big weeding effort is going on around the house and I tend to do a little each evening after work, especially around my pumpkins, cucumbers and raspberries as the weeds seem to think the play areas were designed for them. Weekends are when I’m really stuck.

And don’t get me started on pests, none are more devastating than my darling little dog. She demolished seven large containers of vegetable seedlings because she couldn’t walk in the pouring rain on Sunday. You’re lucky I love you dog, or you’d be for sale on Trade Me lickity-split.

Tiger slugs are the largest slugs introduced to New Zealand.  They are actually an asset in the <a class=garden as they are carnivorous and predate the smaller slugs that destroy your seedlings. Tiger slugs also eat plant material, but only when they decay do they ignore new growth.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

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Tiger slugs are the largest slugs introduced to New Zealand. They are actually an asset in the garden as they are carnivorous and predate the smaller slugs that destroy your seedlings. Tiger slugs also eat plant material, but only when they decay do they ignore new growth.

Snails and slugs are a bug bear at the moment, easily dealt with with constant digital control and a heavy foot, plus pellet baits if you use them. And I keep a watchful eye out for moths, thrips, whiteflies and aphids. I expect this to become more problematic as temperatures climb.

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Right now I just want to plant greens and ignore everything else. But the best advice from many far more experienced and worldly gardeners has been to step back, take a deep breath, and sit in the garden with a cup of tea. Next, formulate and write a plan of attack.

My boss at New Zealand gardenereditor Jo McCarroll says, “When there’s so much you can sow and plant, the challenge is to hold back…a successive approach of little and often is a better idea than packing all your available grow space with vegetables that will be ready at once. ”

So I will follow his advice. Here’s what I’m going to do. The first task will be to replant crops damaged by dogs, especially silver beet, spinachlettuces, Asian Greens and rocket, which have been longtime staples in our home. I will also substitute basil, mint, Latin and peppers.

Silver beets may not be fancy food, but they are a staple in most vegetable gardens and are slug and snail resistant.

123rf.com

Silver beets may not be fancy food, but they are a staple in most vegetable gardens and are slug and snail resistant.

Then I’ll lead the butter sower Beans (the only bean I like). The climbing structures are already assembled thanks to fences and trellises endowed with an ancient trade.

This year, I’m going to be a little more adventurous and plant rutabagas and eggplant also that I didn’t grow up before. Let me know what new edible crops you’re trying this year.

chaotic weather

The windy and wet weather caused some problems for gardeners south of Waikato. Carl Freeman, urban vegetable gardener from Taranaki and member of the academic staff of the Western Institute of Technology (discover his vegetable garden here), says spring is an exciting time of year because everything grows. But, he says, he’s still waiting to plant outside because the weather has been so chaotic. “We are waiting a little longer, maybe a few weeks. This is a very tempting time to enter the garden, but remember that summer and fall are long lasting.

Wind is a particularly tricky issue to deal with in Taranaki as the prevailing wind can change depending on where you are around the coast or under the mountain. In New Plymouth, the prevailing wind can easily shift from northeast to southwest, which can devastate gardens.

But Carl says he has grown tomatoes and cucumbers in greenhouses and had great results. He puts a lot of effort into improving the soil with worm castings, organic and mineral fertilizers. It also straws heavily to control temperatures, improve soil quality and retain moisture.

It also uses raw milk as an antifungal. “We water the leaves with the milk using a 10L watering can.” Cow’s and goat’s milk have proven to be effective fungicides in the garden, indeed often better than many chemical fungicides for controlling powdery mildew. He has also heard that other gardeners have had good results with whey.

Carl Freeman says it's an exciting time to enter the garden, but be patient with the weather.

Sally Tagg / New Zealand Gardener / Stuff

Carl Freeman says it’s an exciting time to enter the garden, but be patient with the weather.

Carl’s best results have been with ‘Sweet 100’. ‘Sweet 100’ tomato plants produce red cherry tomatoes on indeterminate vines that can reach 1.2 to 2.4 m in height. These vines produce high yields of fruit from early summer until frost. And he particularly likes the yellow variety, he says. “We’re going to try them in jars at the back door.”

The cucumbers are doing well in the greenhouse, but Carl is reluctant to say which varieties he has experimented with. “We’ve tried some new ones, so I’m a bit hesitant to recommend at this time.”

When Carl is sure to plant outdoors, he will sow directly sweet corn. He also made trellises from bamboo harvested from local parks. “Bamboo is a practical resource.” He will direct sow the ‘Blue Lake Runner’ beans he notes. They are a little bigger, shorter, stronger and hold up to longer cooking times.

Speaking of recycling and pests

Pests are an ongoing problem for all gardeners. And what is beneficial at one time of the year can become a problem later. Take birds for example. Professor Nick Roskruge (Ātiawa and Ngāti Tama), professor of horticulture at Massey University who contributes to the monthly gardening guide of the maramataka at New Zealand gardener, recommends encouraging birds in the garden, as most plants and fruit trees now produce fruit, and young vegetable plants attract many pests. Unfortunately, these same birds can become pests once the fruit ripens and turns to a new type of feast.

Ms Gardener is an avid recycler and says you should never throw anything away before you have thought about how it can be reused. She recently replaced her white mesh curtains and suggested I use the old ones to cover our vines and fruit trees when the fruit is nearly ripe to keep hungry birds from feeding.

You can also try bringing in predatory insects that will help control the pest population. New Zealand gardener editor Jo McCarroll recommends using companion plants, especially buckwheat, alyssum and phacelia, to attract predators. Or try trap crops to attract and distract pests from what you want to protect. Try clemona and calendula to attract green bugs, nasturtium for aphids, marigolds for threadworms and chervil for slugs.

Of course, none of them are magic bullets…the work of protecting your crops from pests is in progress. I would love to hear your recommendations for pest control. Email me at [email protected] growing.co.nz

Gardening under the moon

Between November 1 and 8 is the busy and fertile period. So sow lettuce, cabbage and cabbage, spinach and sweet corn outdoors, and transplant tomatoes, zucchini, peppers and eggplant.

Gardening by maramataka

This is potentially the busiest month for your gardening calendar and one where all regions will be working on full planting, mulching, watering if there is not enough rain and pest management. and diseases. November 4 and the period from November 7 to 9 are good days for planting kūmara. All kūmara for this season should be entered before the maramataka Ōrongonui phase or November 20 – otherwise they will be small and/or unproductive. Encourage birds in the garden, as most plants and fruit trees now produce fruit and young vegetable plants attract many pests. November 8 is the Rākaunui or full moon and in colder regions you will need to protect young emerging plants such as potatoes and taewa from cold nighttime temperatures. At the end of this three-day period (November 8-10), the risk of frost should be eliminated. The new moon is on the 24th, so from November 20 to 25, avoid planting and focus on other activities that support your māra. Dr. Nick Roskruge

Terri S. Tomasini