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March Gardening

It is March already, first month of autumn and only 5 weeks till daylight savings ends.
Daylight savings gives us a perception that the days are still long, with a good amount of time in the early evening to do a few jobs outside as well as water.

We run by the clock on the wall or our wrist, while plants run to the universal clock of the sun. They (the plants) have been watching the days shorten and they know that winter is looming.
Strawberries are right on the button with the seasonal change and have for a few weeks now, been producing runners which create new strawberry plants.

Strawberries have the ability to reproduce in three ways, seeds on their outer skins, runners in autumn and by clumping.

A few newer gardeners have asked me recently what to do with the runners on their strawberry plants.

It all depends on whether you would like some new young plants for your own use or to give to a friend. If this is the case then all you need to do is ensure that the runners move over the soil so the young plants formed at the nodules can root into the soil.

You leave them attached to the parent plant till about May and then you can cut the runner and lift the new plants for re-planting. If you do not want any new plants for yourself or friends then the best thing to do is cut off the runners as they appear and keep all the energy in the parent plant.
Either way, to promote healthy plants, new or old, a 2 weekly spray of Mycorrcin should be applied to both. Mycorrcin is magic on strawberries and with its use can increase your crop by 200 to 400% as well as assisting in keeping the plants healthy. A healthy bed of strawberries can produce well for several years till the clumps get too big and production falls. On some varieties of strawberries you will find a late crop of flowers and berries, on others they will be finished fruiting for the season.
It pays to have a mix of types so that some will produce a nice crop in the autumn.
March is the last chance for most areas in New Zealand to plant out seedlings of brassicas for winter.
The problem with planting seedlings of cabbage etc at this time is the big populations of white butterflies that are out laying eggs.

You can do one of two things to reduce the problem of caterpillars destroying your young brassicas;
Place Neem Tree Granules in the planting hole and also on the surface of the soil.
Replace the soil surface granules with fresh about every 6 weeks.

The other alternative is to use the new insect proof crop cover over your plantings.
I have place this over recent plantings of cauliflower/ broccoli and the plants are growing well without any way the butterflies even know they are there.
It’s a joy to see perfect plants, insect free. For more information about the crop cover contact me.
With your flower garden keep dead heading the roses and other plants to retain a further flowering before winter. (On those that will carry on flowering)

Mildews are a problem and sprays of either baking soda with Raingard or potassium permanganate
(Condy’s Crystals without Raingard) will help with control for a while.
As autumn progresses more damage will occur as its nature ending the plants for the season so at sometime give up and let nature take its course.

Did you know that the seed pods on fuchsias are edible?
Some fuchsia pods are delicious where others are so so. If you want to collect the seeds inside then don’t eat the pods.

And in other news:

Later this month the En
vironment Protection Authority (EPA) is looking at some of the chemicals that are used commercially and in the home garden. On their web site they state; The formal application being released today relates to a group of 29 organophosphate and carbamate active ingredients, or formulations containing these active ingredients, that are used for plant protection purposes. The application includes a number of recommendations for these substances, including recommendations either to revoke, phase-out or retain some approvals.

Hopefully this will eliminate a number of dangerous chemicals from the home garden market.

Happy Gardening!

Wally Richards

Wally-Richards-thumb

 

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