Waikato International Community Gardening Project Update February 4th 2013

Posted 11 years, 4 months ago    1 comment

Make the most of rain!

Rain is falling over the Waikato today (monday feb 4th). Make the most of this free watering by sowing seeds or planting out  vege plants and mulching them well. You can use woodchippings, lawn clippings or straw. The mulch acts like a sponge, soaking up rain water which would otherwise run off. When the hot dry weather returns, the mulch slowly releases water back into the soil around your plants' roots

In the photo : sowing pea seeds for an autumn harvest.

gardening through the dry weather

What makes these vegetable plants look so happy? A thick layer of woodchipping mulch holds the moisture in the soil around the roots.When this photo was taken,it had not rained for two weeks. The garden has only been watered  twice since New Year, but the plants are thriving.

raising  vege seedlings in the shade house

Gardeners at Grandview Community Garden have sowed their lettuce, silverbeet, choi sum and cabbage in the new shadehouse. Shade makes life much easier for baby plants in this hot weather. You can make a mini shadehouse at home, read more here

In the photo: Rara checks her lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

getting the family to eat home grown food

Sometimes there are veges ready in the garden but nobody is eating them. Does this happen at your place? Here are some ideas to encourage the family to eat  home grown fruit and vegetables:

  • PIck cucumbers, lettuce and tomatoes in the evening and put them in the fridge where the family will see when they go to make their lunches in the morning. . Lettuce keeps best in a loose plastic bag or plastic container. 
  • PIck and bring in beans, zuccini, kamo kamo and greens in the morning.Keep in the fridge.When its hot in the afternoon and everyone is tired it can be hard to head outside and pick vegetables for dinner, so have them ready to use in the fridge.
  • Children don't always know when fruit is ripe. Keep checking the fruit and pIck a few plums, apples or berries ready for them to eat after school.

Water use restrictions

The Waikato has had much less rain that usual for January. There are water resrictions in Hamilton, South Waikato District and Waikato District. The Summer Water conservation Alert is at level 2:

Water Alert Level 2

Sprinkler systems are permitted between 6-8am and 6-8pm on alternate days only. This means if your street address is an even number you may water between the restricted hours on even dates of the month only. For example: If you live at 8 Smith Street, you may use your sprinkleron the 12th, 14th, 16th etc).
How to water wisely: water each plant slowly around the roots. Give each plant a litre of water two or three times a week.You can use a plastic milk bottle to measure out the water. This way you know that each plant has enough water to keep it going for a few days. You do not fill your car with petol by sprinkling a bit into the tank - watering is like filling a tank in the soil.

In the photo: Garden  volunteer Yuri waters a fruit tree at Grandview Community Garden by slowing pouring the water around the roots.Each tree gets 20 litres  of water once a week

keep flowers blooming

Picking off the old dead flowers is called dead heading. Dead heading flowers every few days makes dahlias, cosmos and other flowers keep flowering for longer.

Flowers in the vegetable garden are important for feeding good insects like lacewings, hoverflies and bees. In the photo: picking dead heads off a dahla to encourage more flowers.


what's good about dry weather?

Have you heard the saying "Every cloud has a silver lining?" It means that nothing is all bad. The dry weather is stressful for plants, farmers and gardeners but there are two good things about the dry conditions:

There are fewer plant diseases (rots and moulds) because rain spreads diseases

Weeds are growing slowly, too so its a great time to pull out nasty weeds like convolvulus because they can't grow back as fast!

Unfortunately, when the rain comes, we will notice more diseases on our plants, and lots of weeds popping up!

This week at Grandview Community Garden

Thursday February 7th 5.30pm to 7.30pm

February is a good time to sow pak choi, lettuce, beetroot, silverbeet, spring onions, komatsuna, rocket, carrots and onions.Join us in the garden to sow and mulch. Are you thinking about starting a garden? There is space at Grandview Community Garden for new gardeners.

Wear boots or shoes and a sunhat. Bring your tools and seeds.

Please park on Grandview Road and walk in the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd. (look for the banner) Bus route number 8 (Frankton)

Get in touch if you have any questions Clare and Tim ph 021 0387623 WIC Community Garden Mentors



Happy Gardening





Viv Aitken
11 years, 4 months ago
Thanks for this newsletter - lots of good advice here.
Glad I'm not the only one with the problem of getting kids to eat garden veg. Also, I really welcomed the advice on watering in hot weather.
I liked the tip about using a milk bottle to measure out the amount of water - will be doing that.
I am always unsure when it is time to plant, so it's great to know that NOW is the time to plant my peas...
Glenview community garden is looking great.

Email this page...     Link to this page...