It is a real joy to have a Tui (Prosthemadera novaeseelandiae) or two as regular visitors to your garden.
At my previous residence, at certain times of the year, I would hear a Tui calling, but as hard as I tried, I never ever saw the bird.
Just the other day whilst waiting in line at the supermarket, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman about gardening (what else) and he told me about a method of attracting Tui to his garden.
The method is so simple:
Take a cup of sugar (raw is best) and add a little water to turn it into a sugary syrup. Then add some red food colouring.
The trick is that Tui are attracted to the colour red and my informant told me that the container they put out (likely hung in a Kowhai tree) has to be refilled just about every day. I understand that once the Tui know of a sweet delight which is readily available they would form a pattern of visiting.
You might need a Kowhai tree or two to make this work and you definitely need to be in a area where Tui do pass by occasionally. But if you don’t have a kowhai, try it in another tree.
Well onto other matters, and the problems that gardeners are having in many areas of the country with their tomato and other plants. The weather is unseasonal and until it settles most heat loving plants will not do so well. This may cause blotches on foliage and in most cases, when the weather improves so will the plants.
The benefit with the poor weather is that a lot of insect pests are also affected and their populations remain low. You should take advantage of this fact and spray preferred plants with Neem Tree Oil late in the day. It will help further reduce populations which will be a great advantage later on. Unlike all the other insecticides, Neem Oil does not kill the beneficial insects so their population can grow and they will work on eating up the pest insects.
Back to our poor struggling tomatoes, cucumbers etc you can do a few things to help the plants do better.
Firstly give them a side dressing of potash which helps strengthen growth. Avoid giving higher nitrogen feeds till weather settles as nitrogen causes soft growth which will damage more easily. Some gardeners tend to see that a plant is not doing as well as expected and they think the answer must be lack of food and so they pour on the tucker. Not at all good and likely does a lot of harm as the plant maybe forced to grow causing more damage. Of course the other common aspect is; it must be dry so lets drown it. Both aspects are bad news for the plants. Besides the potash, water some Magic Botanic Liquid (MBL) into the surrounding soil as this will help unlock minerals and elements that the plant maybe needing.
Also spray the plant with the same product. Then to give the plant its own external protection against the elements, diseases and pests spray all over with Vaporgard.
This will not only protect the plant but will allow the plant to gain more energy from the sunlight.
Strawberry plants should be producing fruit now and looking good. Don’t forget your 2 weekly spray with Mycorrcin to increase the seasons fruit harvest by 200 to 400% and make for bigger tastier berries too.
The time of curly leaf in stone fruit trees is just about past so a spray all over with Vaporgard will help restore vitality and protect the good foliage.
The grass grub beetles are on the wing about now and they will eat the foliage of plants such as roses
beans and citrus in the early evening. Use the light trick that I described in my Book, Wallys Green Tips for Gardeners to catch and kill the pests. This will also save your lawns from so much damage next year.
Talking about books its getting close to Xmas and any of my three books would make ideal presents for family or friends.
Visit your garden centre for gift ideas for Xmas. It’s easy to pick out a few plants a nice container or two some good compost and plant up your purchases so they have a bit of time to settle in before you wrap them and give them away.
Gift vouchers on gardening are always great value for the receiver also.