Waikato International Community Gardening Project Update August 8th 2013

Posted 10 years, 10 months ago by WIC Coordinator    0 comments

Garden Diary

garden diary
garden diary

  • David started a vegetable garden
  • Taiohi Toa spread compost and mulched fruit trees
  • Lee and family weeded their garlic
  • Glenda and Annie harvested wild turnip greens
  • Zaw Mai sowed snow peas and dug up carrots
  • Paul put up framing on the tunnel house at Grandview Community Garden
  • Stephanie and JC weeded and mulched the soil ready for spring
  • Jody picked broccoli
  • Yuri cleared snails and slugs out of the shade house
  • Richard planted chokos

vegetables to sow now

david sows spring onion and cabbage
david sows spring onion and cabbage

August is officially the last month of winter. Sow in the ground in August: won bok cabbage, pak choi, beetroot, silverbeet, rocket, spring onion, radish, carrot, spinach

Pick it before it bolts: If vegetables flower when we don't want them to it is called bolting. When pak choi, lettuce, broccoli, cauli and cabbage bolt, they taste bitter because all the plant's sweetness has gone into the flowers. Vegetables bolt in dry or very cold weather because the plant is stressed

The cauliflower on the left has bolted. The other two caulis are ready to pick NOW!
The cauliflower on the left has bolted. The other two caulis are ready to pick NOW!

You can't stop bolting but you can:

  • choose seeds which say 'slow bolting' on the packet
  • check your veg every 2 days for signs of bolting (flowering)
  • pick broccoli, pak choi, cabbage and cauli before it can bolt. Try this recipe for broccoli and kumara quiche.

Bring the good insects to your garden: At Grandview Community Garden, calendula (orange) and alyssum (white) are flowering. These flowers feed good insects like bees, predator wasps and hoverflies. When the fruit trees flower, we need bees to pollinate them.

alyssum and calendula growing around a lemon tree
alyssum and calendula growing around a lemon tree
Read about good bugs here

Grow your own kumara plants (tipu) 

home grown kumara plants november 2012
home grown kumara plants november 2012

In August, you can start off kumara tipu and have them ready to plant in October. Choose a good, healthy kumara saved from the previous season. Plant it in a pot with sand or sawdust and keep somewhere warm, like the laundry. Shoots appear in a few weeks. They are big enough to plant out when they are 15cm long.

Kumara propagation at Grandview Community Garden. At Grandview Community Garden we will be showing how to grow kumara plants later this month. If you would like to join us please email wicgarden@gmail.com

Grow your own potatoes

forking over the soil
forking over the soil

Potatoes don't like frost. Most of the Waikato will have a few frosts before October. From late September it should be safe to plant potatoes.                     

  • Choose a place to grow potatoes (not the same place as last year)
  • Dig and loosen the soil and add a bucket or two of compost
  • buy seed potatoes (sold at e.g Plant Place, Bunnings, Farmlands, the Warehouse) and put them in a tray to sprout.

What variety? Swift, Rocket and Cliff Kidney are early varieties which produce a crop in about 90 days. Rua, Agria and Ilam Hardy take 130 days to grow. There are many potato varieties, some very rare. Read more..

Winter frost: July was warmer and drier than usual in the Waikato. Frost and cold weather is still possible in August, September and October! Be prepared for any kind of weather in spring:

  • Mulch bare soil to conserve moisture
  • Plant a variety of vegetables - some will grow well if others fail
  • If you plant early  tomatoes and potatoes, cover them with frost cloth (buy at garden shops) or old sheets at night

Are you ready for spring?

Valeti sowing tomato seeds
Valeti sowing tomato seeds

Plan before you begin. Ask yourself..

  • What will I grow? What does my family eat?
  • Where can I plant it? Some veges like tomatoes, cabbages and potatoes can't grow in the same spot twice.
  • How much space does it need? Pumpkins need space to spread,  runner beans need space to climb
  • How long will it be in the ground? Kumara take 6 to 8 months. Pak choi take 4 to 6 weeks

collect pots - old yoghurt pots, ice cream containers, margarine pots (clean them and punch holes for drainage)

make seed raising  mix - recipe on Ooooby

make labels - cut up cardboard, plastic lids or short lengths of bamboo into strips to make labels.

find an old tray - an old plastic tray is really useful for watering your seedlings in

swap seeds - get together with friends and neighbours and swap your seeds.

buy seeds - Pak’n’Save, The Warehouse, Bunnings (Te Rapa), Palmers (Lincoln St), Oderings (Thomas rd). Check for specials and sales. Online:  www.kingsseeds.co.nz, www.koanga.org.nz.       http://www.egmontseeds.co.nz/vegetables

Lemons, mandarins, oranges and grapefruit: Citrus fruit ripens in winter, and is high in vitamin C. A citrus tree is like a fridge! Just pick the fruit as you need it, because citrus fruit  keeps fresh on the tree for months.

pick citrus fruit as you need them
pick citrus fruit as you need them

Here is a dessert recipe which uses lemon and rhubarb. Rhubarb is a vegetable with edible stems. Try this for a treat on a cold night.

Recipe: Vee's Grandmother's Rhubarb Rolls (dessert)


Mix together with milk:

1 cup flour

50gr butter

pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

4-5 rhubarb stems

Roll out pastry very thin. Cut the stems of rhubarb into 2 inch lengths. Wrap rhubarb inside pastry with a sprinkle of mixed cinnamon and sugar, to make rolls. Place the rhubarb and pastry rolls in a greased pie dish.


Melt together:

50gr butter

3/4 cup sugar

2 Tsp honey

lemon zest (grate the peel) and juice from two or three lemons

Add 1 cup boiling water and stir together.

Pour syrup over rhubarb rolls.

Bake at 180C until golden brown.

Horticulture training in the Waikato: Plant Propagation Courses (Agribusiness Training).The Hamilton course starts on the  21st of August and the Te Awamutu course starts on the 22nd of August. Contact Shaina McMillan Agribusiness Training Ph: 07 853 2788

Gardening Courses in Hamilton: In October and November,The Hamilton Permaculture Trust is offering short courses on organic gardening, bee keeping and espalier pruning. Look at their website for more information.

Happy gardening


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