In September, even non-gardeners feel the call of the backyard and with good reason- early spring is a great window of opportunity to get your gardens set up for summer; the trick is to find the sunny hours between the spring showers.
Next month is all about the vege patch but September, while it’s still cold, is time to pay some attention to the rest of the garden.
Keep one step ahead of the weeds: Weeds are programmed to grow faster and seed earlier than other plants (that’s what makes them weeds.) If you can’t get rid of every last one, at least save yourself work in future by stopping them from seeding. In vege beds, pull out any weeds that have taken hold over winter, and mulch with compost/straw/the green manure you planted last autumn (right?). You can start planting greens and cool-season crops now, but wait another month or so for soil to warm up for maincrop tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkin and beans, unless you have a cloche.
In other beds, follow weeding with a thick layer of mulch (arborists chip is my favourite) to keep weeds away and retain water over summer. If mulch is not in the budget use what you can scrounge – leaves, chopped up prunings, seaweed – but make sure it’s weed-free or you will add to your weeding chores.
Rengarenga (Arthropodium cirrhatum) are a brilliant ground cover in shady spaces.
Divide and rule: It’s a great time of year to divide and multiply perennials (including herbs) and grasses. If you have something that’s doing well, one clump can be split into three to create more ground cover.
Whether splitting old plants or planting new ones, aim to finish perennial plantings soon and get herbs, flowers and shrubs into the ground while the rain can still water them in. Remember to mulch them!
|Citrus: Now is a good time to plant these (remember they need sun and shelter). Prune out dead wood. Feed citrus if they are looking yellow – dissolve 100g Epsom salts in a watering can and water onto the root zone. Mulch out to the drip line (the edge of the leaves) with compost, seaweed and wood chip.|
Composting: Ingredients are abundant and conditions are perfect for rotting.
Sow now: Indoors: early tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, pumpkin, silverbeet, cabbage, leeks.
Outdoors: carrot, beetroot, radish, onion, Salad greens (lettuce, rocket, coriander mizuna, mustard), broad beans (for summer harvest).
Flowers: nasturtium, calendula, alyssum, sweet pea, lupin, hollyhock, cosmos.
Plant: Citrus trees, greens of all kinds, spring and other onions, early potatoes and peas, dahlias, perennial flowers and herbs.
Spring Greens and Spuds: Sunday September 3, 1.30-3pm, Matai Community Garden, 192 Matai Rd, Raumati.
Spring rains mean lush greens – from staples like silverbeet and lettuce to others like mizuna, coriander and corn salad. It’s also time to get spuds in the ground for a Christmas harvest. Bring your garden gloves, and catch up for a cuppa afterwards.
Matai Community Garden Working Bee: Sunday 1 October, 1.30-3pm, Matai Community Garden, 192 Matai Rd, Raumati. Help get the garden in shape for spring.
Seed Raising: Monday September 4, 10am-12, Kāpiti Community Centre, Ngahina St, Paraparaumu. Growing from seed opens your options to a wider variety of crops. Learn how to propagate new plants from seeds. We will be planting peas and lettuce in the community garden.
Growing Plants from Cuttings: Monday October 2, 10am-12, Kāpiti Community Centre, Ngahina St, Paraparaumu. Learn how to propagate plants for free, and take home cuttings from the community gardens great collection of drought-proof flowers and herbs.
Beyond Kapiti: here are some options up and down the motu:
Setha's Seeds spring workshops Based in Tutira, Hawke’s Bay. Spring and early summer workshops include seed propagation, edible garden planning and tiny house building.
Edible Backyard workshops:A bit closer to home, Kath Irvine provides inspiration and practical knowledge from her garden in Ohau
Bountiful Spring Saturday September 23, 10 am - 2 pm
October Open Day + “Fruitful Fruit Trees” Talk Saturday October 21, 10am – 12.30 pm
ReMakery Opening Event: Sunday September 3, 9am-3pm, 310 Waiwhetu Rd, Lower Hutt. Open workshops all day, and a seed and seedling swap from 10am.
“The ReMakery is home to many wonderful projects including the Urban Kai Project, Sew Good sewing co-operative working with Refugee women to recycle donated fabrics into cloth carry bags as a plastic alternative, Recycled rides fixes and distributes donated bikes, Beeple Honey Collective project which harvests local honey, Unity Kitchen catering, Koha Coffee supported by Supreme Coffee, the Phoenix Project using recycled wood to teach building and carpentry skills to build furniture and tiny houses and skills development collaborations with Rimataka Prison, Housing New Zealand, CYFS Residential care home in Epuni, Epuni School and Lucid Dreambike.
We invite you to come and get to know our new home in a celebration of the potential of people and place.
Join us on Sunday 3rd September for a day of open workshops and share our vision of a waste free, people powered, community owned future!
Delicious local food will be available thru our unity koha kitchen.”
The Council Green Gardener, Hannah Zwartz, offers sustainable and waterwise gardening advice to local residents, community groups and schools.
Community Visits and workshops are free.
To contact the Greener Gardener, call the Council on 296 4700 or 0800 486 486 or see www.kapiticoast.govt.nz/greenservices