WIC Gardening Update - 5 Sept 2012

Posted 11 years, 5 months ago by Kathryn Mercer - WIC Project Manager    0 comments

Hello and welkom!


Tim, Community Garden Mentor, will be at the SWPICS garden in Maraetai Rd, Tokoroa tomorrow morning from 10:30 am.  If you are in that area, contact SWPICS to find out more: Ph (07) 886-0010. 

Seed Sowing

If you want to learn how to sow seeds so you have seedlings (young plants) ready to plant outside late next month, meet Tim & Clare at Grandview Community Garden this Friday September 7th at 3pm: everyone is welcome!

Hands on seed sowing - a practical session planting vegetable seeds: see how to grow your summer veges from seed. Bring seeds and seed trays if you have them.  If you want to propagate kumara (make new plants), just ask how. 

People who want to start a plot at the Grandview Community Garden site are welcome too!

Enter through the gate opposite 183 Grandview Rd. Bus route number 8 (Frankton).  More info? Clare and Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109

On the Kings Seeds packets, the sowing number 1 indicates seeds that can be sown under cover now - ie in a warm place protected from frosts.

One form of succession planting is planting a few seeds of the same plant regularly, so that you have a continuous supply of the vegetable rather than a glut. For example, 4 lettuces ready to harvest every two weeks, rather than 20 lettuces ready all at once then none for a month! It is also a good way to make the most of a small garden space.  

Reminder: Tulip & Daffodil Spring Festival

Free at Hamilton Gardens, this Saturday 8 September 2012, 10 am - 4 pm.  Take a walk to the Productive Gardens while you're there.

Reminder: Locovore: visit an organic market garden

This Sunday 9 September 2 - 4 pm. The garden is run by a Pacific Islander (Burton) and a migrant (Alison Worth) in Pukemiro near Cambridge.  They use biodynamic methods to grow vegetables, fruit and nuts as well as keeping chickens, pigs and cows.

Alison is a chef: she has promised a look at her preserves and will provide a yummy afternoon tea.

Bookings required by 4:30 pm tomorrow - Thursday 6 September - contact Kathryn to book and to find out where to meet.  We need a minimum of 5 bookings for this event to go ahead.  We can help organise transport, just ask.  If you need an interpreter, let me know.  

This workshop is FREE for Waikato based refugees, new migrants and Pacific Island people.  Other people are welcome at a cost of $10 each.

Reminder: NZ TCA Fruit Tree Grafting Workshop

This is a hands-on workshop. After a demonstration, you have the opportunity to select two to three apple or pear varieties to graft at the workshop then take home. There will be a number of knowledgeable people there to help and assist.

When: Monday 10 September, 7:30 pm.

NZTCA will supply:

  • apple rootstocks (MM106 – semi-dwarfing).
  • pear rootstocks (Pyrus pyrifolia).
  • scion wood: there will be a good selection of apples and pears.
  • grafting tape.
  • plant labels.

There may be spare rootstocks at the end of the evening and these will be for sale at cost price. You can also buy grafting tape, plant labels, cook books and gardening magazines.

Non-members will have the opportunity to find out more about the Tree Crops Association and join up if you'd like.


All welcome.

If you are a refugee, new migrant or Pacific Islander, and would like to attend for free, send me your contact details by Thursday 6 September and go in the draw to win a free place on this workshop!  Winners will be contacted on Friday 7 September. Otherwise, cost is: $10 for NZTCA members, $15 non members. 

Where: Scout Hall, Masters Ave, Hillcrest. The hall is located behind the shops on Masters Avenue. There is plenty of parking behind the shops. Take the path through the trees to the hall (the hall is surrounded by bush).

Waikato Community Gardens Network

If you want to hear what is happening in community gardens around the Waikato, the next Waikato Community Gardens Network Meeting is on Thursday 13 September, 12 noon - 2 pm.  There is food available at the cafe next door (eg soup from $4) or bring your own lunch.  Coffee and tea will be provided.

Where: Anglican Action conference room, Te Ara Hou Village, 100 Morrinsville Road, Hillcrest, Hamilton 3251.

For more information contact Anna Cox or Robert Moore, (07) 974-4659.

Anyone interested in community gardening is welcome to attend.

The Waikato Community Gardens Network now has a Google Group that you can join to share information about meetings, open days, etc.

FREE Healthy Living Cooking Sessions

When: Fridays, 10am to 12pm, Starting 14 Sept to 2 Nov Where: Crawshaw School in Multi Purpose Room, Crawshaw Drive, Nawton.

There is more information on WIC's Ooooby comment wall.

To register contact Ioana on 849 5170 or 021 359878 or leave your name and number at the Crawshaw School reception.

*This is one of the Nawton and Crawshaw Healthy Living Projects*

WIC Demonstration: Planting an Edible Hedge

Is your fence part of your edible landscape? On Saturday 15 September 2:30 - 4 pm, Grandview Community Garden we will be having a hands on practical session planting a hedge of edible plants. We will talk about:

  • The benefits of an edible hedge
  • Which edible plants make a good hedge
  • When to plant
  • Caring for your hedge.

Everyone is welcome!  For more information, call Clare or Tim, WIC Community Garden Mentors, ph 021 0387623 or 021 2243109

Ngaroto Nurseries Closing Down Sale

Ngaroto Nurseries at 208 Ngaroto Road, near Te Awamutu are closing down.  They have at least 50% off the original price of their plants, with some selling for as little as 50c. They are selling out very quickly: most of the food plants have already gone, but you might get a lemon tree if you are looking for one. Ph (07) 871 5668 for more information.

You will need a car to get there - why not go with a group of friends? Their cafe has already shut down, but if it is a nice day you could pack a picnic and visit Lake Ngaroto, also on Ngaroto Road.  There is a 90-minute bush walk around the lake with signs about the local plants and animals.


At Saturday's Feed the Soil workshop they made a different form of slow compost.  They covered a huge pile of weeds with a sheet of black polythene. The weeds will rot down slowly into compost, ready to use in a few months. You can add more weeds, just uncover part of the heap and cover again when you have finished.  There is a photo on Ooooby.  This is a good way of dealing with some of the hard to kill weeds, like Tradescantia fluminensis, sometimes called Wandering Willy.

They also made a worm bin - see Ooooby for photos and more information.

Weather: Hail

Christchurch's hail storm has been in the news: some of you may not have experienced hail before coming to NZ.  Hail is balls of frozen rain. Hail and thunderstorms go together: the strong upward winds carry raindrops up into very cold air. 

Hail is white and looks very pretty, a bit like snow, but can damage your plants.  Generally this is minor and vegetables recover well. The leaves on your vegetables may look torn or be broken off.  Trim any badly damaged parts. 

Tree branches may break, the bark (ie tree skin) may have holes, blossom and fruit may be broken off or bruised.  Remove any damaged branches leaving a smooth, downward pointing cut (this encourages water to drain away).  Take off any damaged fruit. 

Some commercial growers cover their fruit crops to protect them from hail damage.  There is more information and links to photographs of hail damage here.

PSA disease on Kiwifruit

Green kiwifruit generally grow very well in this area and can be grown in your back yard.   It is a vine, so it needs support. You will need both a male and a female plant to get fruit.

The kiwifruit disease PSA has been found in the Waikato. There are photographs of the symptoms here.  If you have a kiwifruit vine in your garden and it is showing these symptoms, please call the Kiwifruit Vine Health team - they need to know, and can give you advice: 0800-665-825.

There is more information about PSA on the ESL News NZ Site.  

ESL News NZ is written for people learning English as a second language.  On their web site you can listen to New Zealand news, spoken slowly and clearly, using easy vocabulary, and read along. This can help improve pronunciation.  ESL News NZ also have a vocabulary list with each news story. 

Peas & Beans 

Planting or harvesting peas? There are several different varieties. Garden peas (usually sold frozen at the supermarket) are best eaten as soon as possible after harvesting for maximum sweetness (many of mine don’t even make it as far as the kitchen – very delicious!) The peas are ‘shelled’ ie you take them out of the pod, and eat the seed only (compost or mulch the pod).

Several types of peas are eaten pod and all - raw, blanched, or stir-fried:

  • Asparagus peas - have red flowers & frilly pods making it very pretty, tastes a bit like asparagus.
  • Snow peas - sometimes also called mange tout (French for 'eat all') in NZ, usually eaten while still flat/immature.
  • Sugar snap peas - looks like the garden pea but eaten pod and all once the peas are fat.

I tried growing Asparagus peas last year: the slugs and snails don't find them as delicious as the other garden peas. 

Remember to label your plants so that you can tell the types apart!

I've been asked how to tell the difference between a pea and a bean:

Pea pods are usually smooth and the seeds are green and round. They prefer cooler weather (autumn-spring).  Tip: If the pod starts to look dull and wrinkly, the peas are past their best: they will taste bitter.

Bean pods are slightly hairy, even rough, and the seeds are usually flattened and may be all sorts of colours depending on the variety and how ripe they are.  Most beans (apart from Broad Beans) prefer warm weather (summer).  

River Cottage Veg Everyday

Gardener and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has made vegetables the star in his new cook book and TV show, River Cottage Veg Everyday, showing on Prime TV, Sundays at 7:35 pm. 

After being told that his cholesterol was high, Fearnley-Whittingstall decided to give up meat, fish and alcohol for the summer. He lost weight, felt good and discovered he was enjoying his food more than ever!

He is based in England, which is slightly cooler than here, but similar enough in climate that we can grow all the fruit and vegetables he grows in the River Cottage garden. 

Some of the recipes from the show are also available online.

In last Sunday's episode he also went foraging along the seashore.  Two plants he harvested and used in savoury dishes also grow here in NZ: 

  • dulse (Rhodymenai palmata), a seaweed, which he chopped and cooked in a frypan with grated potato for about 20 minutes until tender
  • samphire (Salicornia australis), also called salthorn, is a plant that grows between the high and low tide marks, which is harvested in spring before it flowers.  It is crisp and salty.  He used it in a tart/quiche.

Another seaweed eaten here is called Venus' necklace (it looks like a string of beads) (Hormosira banksii).  It is usually eaten raw.   It was often eaten at this time of year by Maori in a kind of relish with chopped kina, or sea eggs (Evechinus chloroticus)


Remember: it is illegal to take anything (other than people’s rubbish) from Marine ReservesLook out for Marine Reserves on recent maps. 


There is more information about foraging along the seashore on Ooooby.


Someone asked me for a wholemeal bread recipe, I have put my favourite up on Ooooby in the Eating! discussion.  It doesn't need kneading.  It makes nice toast and sandwiches eg with home made jam, egg, or avocado and pepper, or homemade pesto and tomato...  It can also be used in place of another carbohydrate like taro, maize or potatoes as part of a meal.

Nourish published a recipe for a filling, high fibre soup this week: Spicy Lentil & Tomato Soup with Coriander & Lime.  If you grow your own limes, you can freeze any surplus whole, or freeze the juice in ice-cube trays for use in recipes when the limes are not fruiting.  Zest is the outside (in this case green) layer of citrus skin.   

Happy seed sowing!

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