Planting out time in most locations

It's all happening; daylight saving has kicked in and it will soon be Labour Weekend, which is the traditional time in New Zealand for planting out most vegetable and flower plants.

We say "most" because in some locations the most tender plants will not do well in the great outdoors for another month or so. Gardeners that have glasshouses or similar can grow the more tender plants in containers to plant out later when weather conditions are most favourable.

The container growing and the progressive potting up to larger containers means that you will still get an early start without losses. The plants will need to be hardened off before planting out or sprayed with Vaporgard a couple of days before. The Vaporgard will not only harden the plants but will also offset stress through transplanting.

Some seasons I have had tomato plants up over a metre tall in buckets or large pots, firmly staked, with fruit on before they have left the shelter of the glasshouse.

A tip with tomatoes is: When you plant, bury the plants deep up to their first set of leaves, as the plant will generate roots right up the trunk making for a greater root system.

Don't forget to place Neem Tree Granules under them at planting time and sprinkle the same on the soil surface to help reduce insect problems (repeat every 6-8 weeks).

Weeds are usually a problem for many gardeners but for a lady by the name of Julia they are a great source of nutritional value. Julia cultivates and collects weeds from her garden to make green smoothies. Different, you may say, but very healthy to do; as a result Julia has put together an excellent ebook with lovely colour plates and lots of information on the most suitable weeds to use.

If you have a computer you can download the book from

Inexpensive and very interesting.

Problems? Call me on 0800 466 464 or email

The Southland Times