Waikato International Community Gardening Project Update December 16th 2013

Posted 10 years, 6 months ago by WIC Coordinator    0 comments

Garden Diary

  • Min Aung started his new vegetable garden on an old compost heap
  • Richard, Jody and Zaw Mai harvested broad beans
  • Fungai and Stephanie weeded and dug ready for planting melons
  • David planted squash, beans and kumara
  • John and David made and covered a new compost pile
  • Leo sowed dwarf beans and lettuce
  • Dai Hyun and Elias harvested carrots
  • Jack and Paul made a support for passionfruit vines
  • Angela harvested garlic
  • Margery and Ian planted banana melon and squash


When is garlic ready to harvest?

Tun Hla harvests garlic in the Burmese Community Garden
Tun Hla harvests garlic in the Burmese Community Garden

You can dig up your garlic any time from mid December. Look for

  • yellow leaves
  • plants leaning or bent over
  • big bulb under the ground

Dig the garlic up on a sunny day. Dig, don't pull, as they break off easily. Spread the plants out to dry in the sun. Bring them in at night to dry under cover. Rub off the loose outside leaves before tying the garlic up in bunches in a cool dry place to store.

Sow Now

December is the last month for sowing pumpkins, corn, chillies tomatoes and cucumbers. It will usually rain before New Year. The warm summer rain gives the crops a good start.

Fili digging over the soil ready to plant dwarf beans
Fili digging over the soil ready to plant dwarf beans



Kumara needs 4 to 5 months to grow. Most gardeners have planted their main crop by now.

Jody planting kumara
Jody planting kumara

If you live north of Hamilton, there is still time to plant kumara, as long as you have it in the ground by the end of the year.


Lettuce Wraps

This recipe uses lettuce to wrap spicy pork and rice. You could use chicken, beef or chilli beans instead of pork.

Water Wise

Leo watering tomato seedlings
Leo watering tomato seedlings

Here are 3 tips for being water wise in your garden:

  • Cover bare soil with mulch or plants. .
  • Put up shelter to protect your garden from wind. Wind dries out the soil. 
  • water each plant slowly, at the roots and let the water soak right in. This way you need only water once or twice a week.

    planting a chilli plant in a hollow to catch rainwater
    planting a chilli plant in a hollow to catch rainwater

flowers in the vegetable garden

It's very important to have flowers in a vegetable garden. Beneficial insects need a drink of nectar before they attack caterpillars and aphids 

dahlias growing with tomatoes and squash
dahlias growing with tomatoes and squash

A garden with no flowers will not have many beneficial insects. Plant now:  alyssum, dahlia, calendula, phacelia, buckwheat and tagetes


Grapes make too much leafy growth in summer. To encourage the fruit,  prune off some of the leaves. Do this by snipping the long shoots off, leaving behind about 15cm of stem and leaves beyond each bunch of grapes.

grapes growing along a sunny fence
grapes growing along a sunny fence

You will soon need to cover grapes from the birds. Remember that birds peck what they can see, so old net curtain makes a good bird proof cover.

Keep picking

Pick and enjoy your strawberries, cucumbers, courgettes and lettuces. If you can't eat them all, give to family and neighbours. If you don't pick them the plant thinks it has finished and will not produce any more!

tip: pick berries, lettuce and cucumber in the evening and wash and put them in the fridge in a container. In the morning get your fresh veges out when you are making lunch :)

freshly picked strawberries
freshly picked strawberries


What plants to feed?

Feed your tomatoes, potatoes, capsicums, lettuce, zuccini and chillies

Use liquid manure made with comfrey, dock or seaweed. Water the liquid around the plant roots once a week in December and January.

Beans, peas and kumara don't need feeding.

Grandview Community Garden on TV1

This episode of Neighbourhood features Papaloloa with the staff of Kaute Pasifika Services working in their plot at Grandview Community Garden.

Happy gardening

Supported by Medibank Community Fund





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