Daylight Hours Increasing – plant for spring – berries and roses

The Winter Solstice is/was on June 21 at 18:46 (6:46pm); this was when the Sun was at its most Northerly point in the sky. At the middle of the day on June 21, it reaches its lowest altitude, from the Northern horizon, for the year.

Which means that the longest night is June 21/22 and the shortest day is June 21 and from then, slowly the amount of sunlight per day increases till 21st December.
It takes a bit over a month or so before you start to notice a difference, on the other hand plants notice the difference very quickly and start responding to the increasing length of day light hours.
A new cycle is beginning in the garden and a new gardening year has started. It is now time to start those gardening tasks, so you are well prepared for the coming spring.

Plant out your garlic and shallots about now for harvesting on the longest day (which is traditional). Purchase the certified seed potatoes that you are going to plant as your first crop and lay them out to green up the new shoots. New Season roses are in, so any new ones should now be purchased and planted out.
Deciduous fruit trees and fruiting bushes are either in or not too far away from arriving at your local garden centre as are the new season’s strawberry plants.
I picked up my new season strawberries this week and they are 3 new and interesting varieties;

Strawberry Baby Pink ™
Producing stunning beautiful pink flowers followed by small to medium red fruit with sweet traditional flavour. Large bunches of berries ripening over a long period.
Habit – Compact strong growing strawberry. Size – Give these small to medium plants close spacing.
Pollination – Self-fertile. Unknown if short day, neutral or long day type.

Strawberry Sundae ™
Large red fruit with excellent flavour. Firm red flesh in an oval shape.
Habit – Suitable for Northern and Central districts. Vigorous growth habit. Size – Give these vigorous plants wide spacing. Pollination – Self-fertile. Short day type – flowers are initiated by short day lengths.
Harvest – Fruit ripen 20-35 days from flowering depending on climate, with light crops in early summer followed by a main crop in December – January. Yield is average.

Strawberry Temptation™
Medium bright red shiny fruit with excellent flavour. Pale firm flesh.

Habit – Compact strong growing strawberry. Tough and resilient in relation to pest and diseases.
Size – Give these medium plants close spacing. Pollination – Self-fertile. Only NZ bred Day Neutral strawberry which means they will set fruit regardless of how long or short the days are making this an ideal fruiter national wide. Will extend the North Island season. Harvest – Consistent high yields of berries ripening over a long period from October to March.
I am going to make a new planter box to be attached to the top rail of my iron fence, this will extend the planter box that is already in place and double the number of strawberry plants.
The three varieties of strawberries should be available in most garden centres in red cell packs of 4 plants supplied by the nursery with the trade name of Incredible Edibles.
While you are picking up your plants for the coming season you may wish to consider planting up some other berry fruit. There are a number to choose from such as raspberries etc, all of which I find are best grown in 45 lire containers unless you have a lot of room.
The container grown berry plants are easier to manage and the plants are trapped which means they cant take over a garden.

Here are a few ideas of what is available:

Berry Delight™ Mouth watering large dark rich red fruit with a delicious boysenberry/loganberry flavour. Habit – THORNLESS, heavy cropper. Size – As a bramble this plant forms a great screen and can be cut back the following winter. Pollination  Self-fertile. Harvest – Harvest when fruit turns dark red and are easy to remove in December and January.
Raspberry Aspiring: Large dark red conical firm fruit. Excellent flavour. Habit – The divine raspberry grows as a bramble on upright canes. Covered with rose type leaves, simple small white flowers are followed by luscious sweet delicate fruit. This is the prize that causes eager berry lovers to flock to pick-your-own patches. A strong and productive plant, which spreads fast and is one of the easiest of all to grow. Size – Canes are vigorous with a high number of strong upright canes. Dormant canes are dark brown with few spines. Pollination  Self-fertile. Harvest – Summer and Autumn dual cropper. Summer fruit are on last years canes where winter chill is adequate. Autumn fruit produced on the top 10-20 buds of new canes.
Raspberry Ebony Small firm rosette of dark black berries. Easily removed when ripe.

Size – 1m to 2m high cascading purple/black canes with no spines. Needs attaching to wires for support.

Pollination  Self-fertile Harvest – Crops from December to February.
Raspberry Ivory; Medium firm yellow-golden fruit. Easily removed when ripe. Size – Vigorous upright canes about 1.75m high. Pollination  Self-fertile. Harvest – Crops from December to April. Main crop February to March.
Raspberry Waiau Light medium red, very large fruit easily removed when ripe. Size – High number of semi-upright vigorous canes. Must attach to wires to avoid damage. Dormant canes are light brown with grey blooms and soft spines. Pollination  Self-fertile Harvest – Summer fruit. Grown in northern, central and southern districts.
Boysenberry Brulee ; White flowers in early spring are followed by large firm conical dark purple black berries.Habit – Moderately vigorous mostly spineless canes. Size – 1.5 x 3m Pollination – Self-fertile. Insect and bee pollinated. Harvest – Crops in December to January with heavy yields under the ideal conditions. Fruit are ready when they are easily removed.
Gooseberry Invicta : American gooseberry about 1.2cm round fruit. Green when ripe, covered in pale hairs. Habit – Erect stems covered in thorns. Vigorous growth under good conditions, resistant to mildew. Can live for 15-30 years. Deciduous plant that forms small, rough, thin green leaves with 3-5 lobes. Size – 1-1.2m tall and 1-1.2m wide. Pollination – Self-fertile. Inconspicuous strings of small green with pinkish petals that open in early spring. Pollinated by insects, bees and the wind but climatic conditions will affect self-fertility. Harvest – Matures early to mid-summer.
If planting in a container use a good compost with animal manure added.
Apply Fruit and Flower Power each month till harvest and spray foliage with Magic Botanic Liquid (MBL) With your strawberries spray the plants every 2 weeks with Mycorrcin, it will increase the returns by 200 to 400%.

Problems ring me at 0800 466464 (Palmerston North 3570606)

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