Labour weekend is the traditional time for planting out summer flowers and vegetables and a great time to get the family helping in all aspects of the garden.

It's great to see new growth surging ahead on plants and trees and to see some more colour in gardens as plants come into bloom. Among the most attractive of the early trees are the flowering cherries, peach, almond, apple tree blossoms and spring flowering Rhododendrons which are in bloom around the city.

Vegetables
The vegetable garden is a staple past time for many but even if you just dabble in it, then now is the time to plant for a summer harvest of fresh, vitamin- packed vegetables for salads or the kitchen pot. Plan a programme of small successive sowings and plantings for a continuous harvest throughout the year. As well as economic and health benefits there is great enjoyment to be gained from growing and harvesting your own fruit and vegetables.

Proving highly recommended is a brand of seeds launched last spring for home gardeners of superior vegetable varieties. It is a range of seeds called 'Chefs Best' distributed by Ican.

Advertisement

Ican brand has been developed by a group of independent garden centres with the aim to put quality and value first, addressing the issue that we are in an age where price is often pushed lower at the compromise of quality.

Garden experts have carried out extensive trials and sought advice from vegetable seed specialists in NZ and internationally, to find the very best varieties for the NZ home gardener. The group of independent garden centres have chosen 15 of the very best vegetable varieties for NZ home gardeners.

The varieties have been selected for the following characteristics; Superior Taste, Improved Pest and Disease resistance, Increased Vigour and Yield. In addition they are consistent and reliable. A number of the varieties are also more compact, and faster maturing, which results in a larger range from less space, and the ability to produce more crops through the season.

Many are ideal for raised planter beds and container gardening.

Seeds to sow and plantings that can be made in Whanganui include; beans, beetroot, broccoli, capsicum, carrots, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, egg plants, kumara, peas, potatoes, marrows, melons, spring onions, raddish, rhubarb, silverbeet, squash, sweetcorn, tomatoes and more.

Delicious fresh produce grown in your garden. Nothing healthier or more satisfying.
Delicious fresh produce grown in your garden. Nothing healthier or more satisfying.
Delicious fresh produce grown in your garden. Nothing healthier or more satisfying.
Delicious fresh produce grown in your garden. Nothing healthier or more satisfying.
Seeds to sow and plantings that can be made in Whanganui include; beans, beetroot, broccoli, capsicum, carrots, celery, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, egg plants, kumara, peas, potatoes, marrows, melons, spring onions, raddish, rhubarb, silverbeet, squash, sweetcorn, tomatoes and more.

Kumara

Now is the time to plant kumara plants, also known as the sweet potato. The plants are available from garden centres for planting now. Kumara requires a growing season of about 5 months and is suitable to grow in our warm areas.

Growing instructions -plant 10cm deep and 40cm apart. As the vines grow the stems will try to put down new roots where they touch the soil. This should be avoided, so lift foliage regularly to encourage tuber growth and not leaf growth.

Use 'Tui Potato Fertiliser' before planting and as a side dressing during the season to encourage good growth & tuber development.

More great gardening advice


Kumara can be grown in containers. Pots need to be at least 30 deep and will require plenty of water through the summer to ensure good sized tubers.

Sweet potato is usually trouble-free in the home garden but don't plant it in the same spot twice.

Some People Say; Plant in free draining loose soil with a hard pan about a foot under the surface. If you don't have a clay pan under the soil bury some thing like corrugated iron a foot under the soil to act as a hard pan.


Harvest once leaves start to die down or turn yellow in the autumn. Dig them up and leave them on top of the soil to dry for a few days before storing.

Have a great & safe Labour weekend.

Gareth Carter is General Manager of Springvale Garden Centre