Lots to eat in the garden in autumn

Autumn continues to be a busy time in the garden. This month it’s all about preparing your soil and filling your garden with lots of delicious cool season vegies, fruit and beautiful flowers. Happy gardening everyone!

Autumn continues to be a busy time in the garden. This month it’s all about preparing your soil and filling your garden with lots of delicious cool season vegies, fruit and beautiful flowers. Happy gardening everyone!

Persimmons, one of the crops expected to expand in this region. File picture

What’s a Fuyu?

If you’ve seen fruit labelled as Fuyu in your local fruit shop and wondered what it was, it’s a type of persimmon.

Persimmons are deciduous fruit trees which have striking autumn foliage colours and delicious and very decorative orange red fruit which are harvested during autumn and early winter. The colourful fruit can hang on the tree well after the leaves have fallen, prolonging the colourful display.

The Fuyu persimmon is non-astringent, which means that the fruit can be eaten while it’s still firm, unlike other persimmon varieties which need to be fully ripened and very soft before being eaten. Fuyu are hardy trees that reach around 4 m tall and will grow well in both cool and temperate climates. Choose a spot that is sheltered from strong winds, as the fruit laden branches can break easily.

Persimmons are most commonly planted during winter as bare rooted trees, however they can also be available as potted trees which are great for planting during autumn.


Preventing citrus collar rot

Citrus love moist but well drained soil, which creates a healthy environment for their roots to thrive and lower trunks to remain dry and healthy. Weeks of wet autumn weather can create ideal conditions for collar rot diseases to develop. These diseases affect the ability of the citrus trees to effectively absorb soil water, leading to wilting, poor plant health and sometimes plant death if left untreated.

Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the incidence of citrus collar rot diseases:

■ Remove lower hanging branches of citrus trees, which improves the air flow around the trunk.
■ Control weeds and grasses around the base of citrus trees to allow better air movement and help keep the trunk dry.
■ Applying mulch over the root zone is very beneficial, helping to keep the roots moist. However keep mulch from touching the trunk itself, as this can keep the trunk wet which can promote collar rot.

As citrus trees keep maturing their fruit during April, continue to feed citrus each week with a complete and balanced fertiliser that’s been specially designed to promote healthy citrus trees and help create good quality fruit. Yates® Thrive® Citrus Liquid Plant Food is an easy to use liquid fertiliser that’s ideal for feeding citrus. Dilute 2 capfuls of Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food into a 9 L watering can and apply over the root zone each week.

And in all but the coldest areas, there’s still time to plant a new citrus tree during April. There are some fantastic dwarf varieties available, including mandarins, oranges, lemons and limes, that are perfect for small spaces and pots. The trees are small (growing to around 2 m tall) but bear full-sized fruit. How clever is that!

Sweet peas

So much colour! Find room in your garden during autumn for beautiful sweet peas and dramatic foliage plants.
Whether it’s enjoying a posy of home grown sweet peas, sweet peas cascading from a hanging basket or a fence or tripod covered in sweet peas in spectacular full bloom, sweet peas are a beautiful flower to have in your garden. It’s sweet pea sowing time, so now is your chance to dream ahead and decide where you would like to have this gorgeous flower on show.

Here are some easy steps to create a very pretty sweet pea display:

1. Sow seed around 15 mm deep into a garden bed or pot, firm down and water in well. If your soil is acidic (has a low pH) also apply some Yates® Hydrangea Pinking Liquid Lime & Dolomite. This will help to raise the soil pH (make it more alkaline), which sweet peas prefer.

2. Only water again sparingly until seedlings emerge in around two weeks time. Too moist soil can lead to the seeds rotting.

3. Once the seedlings are around 5 cm tall, start feeding each week with Yates Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. This fast-acting complete fertiliser provides nitrogen for healthy leaf growth, phosphorus for strong root development and potassium for lots of lovely sweet pea flowers.

4. Tall varieties will need to be grown on a frame, trellis or tepee. Young seedlings may need to be supported with small twigs or bamboo skewers until they can reach their trellis.
Sweet peas take around 12-14 weeks to flower. Cut handfuls of deliciously scented flowers for a vase so you can bring their gorgeousness inside.

Fantastic foliage

New Zealand Kakaha (Astelia), sometimes called Maori flax flax or Silver Spears, is a frost-hardy clump-forming, tufted plant with dramatic, upright silver foliage. Native to New Zealand, its attractive colour, texture and foliage makes an eye-catching addition to a garden. Small green scented flowers appear during spring and early summer, followed by bird-attracting orange-yellow fruit. Kakaha can be used as a striking accent or border plant at the rear of a garden bed or grown in a container. Growing to around 1 m tall, it can be planted in a full sun or partly shaded spot.

You can sow Yates® Astelia Kakaha seeds througout New Zealand during autumn. Fill a tray with seed raising mix, sow seed and cover lightly with seed raising mix. Place the tray in a warm, shady, sheltered place and mist with water as required to keep the mix moist but not wet. Germination times of native seeds like the kakaha can vary from two weeks to several months, so some patience may be required. Once the seedlings are 3 – 5 cm high they can be transplanted into small, individal pots. Keep the plants in these pots until a root ball establishes and then transplant them out into the garden or a container.

Trendy Mother-in-laws

Whether you call them Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Snake Plant or Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, Sansevieria (Sansevieria trifasciata) has become super trendy over recent years and potted Sansevieria features prominently in modern landscape and interior design. They’re very hardy, are slow growing, require minimal maintenance and will tolerate low levels of light, making them ideal for growing indoors. They’ll also help improve air quality so having a few around the house and office is very beneficial.

When planting Sansevieria into a pot, choose a container with a good amount of drainage holes and use coarse, free draining potting mix. It should only need watering once every few weeks and an application of a controlled release fertiliser like Yates® Acticote™ Pots, Planters & Garden Beds will provide Sanseveiria with an instant boost of fast release nutrients and continue to feed for up to 12 months.

Delightful Daisy May

Daisies bring happiness to any garden! Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum) are clump forming perennial daisies with vibrant white petals and bright yellow centres. Leucanthemum Daisy May is a gorgeous Shasta daisy from Proven Winners (www.provenwinners.co.nz) that has large flowers over many months during spring, summer and into autumn. The flowers are held on strong stems well above the foliage, on a tidy plant that grows to around 40cm tall and 30cm wide.

Daisy May prefers a position that receives at least six hours of sunshine a day, but will tolerate some light shade. It loves a well-drained spot in a garden bed and also is a fantastic container plant, perfect for brightening up a patio or balcony.

Daisy May makes a lovely and long lasting cut flower — ideal for kids to pick a bunch for Mum or Grandma — and the flowers also attract butterflies and bees into the garden.

To help keep Daisy May looking beautiful, regularly remove any spent flowers and feed each week with Yates® Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. It’s as easy as mixing in a watering can and applying over the plant and surrounding soil. Yates Thrive will encourage healthy leaf growth as well as promoting lots of bright flowers. As the plant matures, the clump can be dug up and divided and replanted throughout the garden.

What’s a Fuyu?

If you’ve seen fruit labelled as Fuyu in your local fruit shop and wondered what it was, it’s a type of persimmon.

Persimmons are deciduous fruit trees which have striking autumn foliage colours and delicious and very decorative orange red fruit which are harvested during autumn and early winter. The colourful fruit can hang on the tree well after the leaves have fallen, prolonging the colourful display.

The Fuyu persimmon is non-astringent, which means that the fruit can be eaten while it’s still firm, unlike other persimmon varieties which need to be fully ripened and very soft before being eaten. Fuyu are hardy trees that reach around 4 m tall and will grow well in both cool and temperate climates. Choose a spot that is sheltered from strong winds, as the fruit laden branches can break easily.

Persimmons are most commonly planted during winter as bare rooted trees, however they can also be available as potted trees which are great for planting during autumn.


Preventing citrus collar rot

Citrus love moist but well drained soil, which creates a healthy environment for their roots to thrive and lower trunks to remain dry and healthy. Weeks of wet autumn weather can create ideal conditions for collar rot diseases to develop. These diseases affect the ability of the citrus trees to effectively absorb soil water, leading to wilting, poor plant health and sometimes plant death if left untreated.

Here are a few steps you can take to reduce the incidence of citrus collar rot diseases:

■ Remove lower hanging branches of citrus trees, which improves the air flow around the trunk.
■ Control weeds and grasses around the base of citrus trees to allow better air movement and help keep the trunk dry.
■ Applying mulch over the root zone is very beneficial, helping to keep the roots moist. However keep mulch from touching the trunk itself, as this can keep the trunk wet which can promote collar rot.

As citrus trees keep maturing their fruit during April, continue to feed citrus each week with a complete and balanced fertiliser that’s been specially designed to promote healthy citrus trees and help create good quality fruit. Yates® Thrive® Citrus Liquid Plant Food is an easy to use liquid fertiliser that’s ideal for feeding citrus. Dilute 2 capfuls of Yates Thrive Citrus Liquid Plant Food into a 9 L watering can and apply over the root zone each week.

And in all but the coldest areas, there’s still time to plant a new citrus tree during April. There are some fantastic dwarf varieties available, including mandarins, oranges, lemons and limes, that are perfect for small spaces and pots. The trees are small (growing to around 2 m tall) but bear full-sized fruit. How clever is that!

Sweet peas

So much colour! Find room in your garden during autumn for beautiful sweet peas and dramatic foliage plants.
Whether it’s enjoying a posy of home grown sweet peas, sweet peas cascading from a hanging basket or a fence or tripod covered in sweet peas in spectacular full bloom, sweet peas are a beautiful flower to have in your garden. It’s sweet pea sowing time, so now is your chance to dream ahead and decide where you would like to have this gorgeous flower on show.

Here are some easy steps to create a very pretty sweet pea display:

1. Sow seed around 15 mm deep into a garden bed or pot, firm down and water in well. If your soil is acidic (has a low pH) also apply some Yates® Hydrangea Pinking Liquid Lime & Dolomite. This will help to raise the soil pH (make it more alkaline), which sweet peas prefer.

2. Only water again sparingly until seedlings emerge in around two weeks time. Too moist soil can lead to the seeds rotting.

3. Once the seedlings are around 5 cm tall, start feeding each week with Yates Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. This fast-acting complete fertiliser provides nitrogen for healthy leaf growth, phosphorus for strong root development and potassium for lots of lovely sweet pea flowers.

4. Tall varieties will need to be grown on a frame, trellis or tepee. Young seedlings may need to be supported with small twigs or bamboo skewers until they can reach their trellis.
Sweet peas take around 12-14 weeks to flower. Cut handfuls of deliciously scented flowers for a vase so you can bring their gorgeousness inside.

Fantastic foliage

New Zealand Kakaha (Astelia), sometimes called Maori flax flax or Silver Spears, is a frost-hardy clump-forming, tufted plant with dramatic, upright silver foliage. Native to New Zealand, its attractive colour, texture and foliage makes an eye-catching addition to a garden. Small green scented flowers appear during spring and early summer, followed by bird-attracting orange-yellow fruit. Kakaha can be used as a striking accent or border plant at the rear of a garden bed or grown in a container. Growing to around 1 m tall, it can be planted in a full sun or partly shaded spot.

You can sow Yates® Astelia Kakaha seeds througout New Zealand during autumn. Fill a tray with seed raising mix, sow seed and cover lightly with seed raising mix. Place the tray in a warm, shady, sheltered place and mist with water as required to keep the mix moist but not wet. Germination times of native seeds like the kakaha can vary from two weeks to several months, so some patience may be required. Once the seedlings are 3 – 5 cm high they can be transplanted into small, individal pots. Keep the plants in these pots until a root ball establishes and then transplant them out into the garden or a container.

Trendy Mother-in-laws

Whether you call them Mother-in-law’s Tongue, Snake Plant or Viper’s Bowstring Hemp, Sansevieria (Sansevieria trifasciata) has become super trendy over recent years and potted Sansevieria features prominently in modern landscape and interior design. They’re very hardy, are slow growing, require minimal maintenance and will tolerate low levels of light, making them ideal for growing indoors. They’ll also help improve air quality so having a few around the house and office is very beneficial.

When planting Sansevieria into a pot, choose a container with a good amount of drainage holes and use coarse, free draining potting mix. It should only need watering once every few weeks and an application of a controlled release fertiliser like Yates® Acticote™ Pots, Planters & Garden Beds will provide Sanseveiria with an instant boost of fast release nutrients and continue to feed for up to 12 months.

Delightful Daisy May

Daisies bring happiness to any garden! Shasta Daisies (Leucanthemum) are clump forming perennial daisies with vibrant white petals and bright yellow centres. Leucanthemum Daisy May is a gorgeous Shasta daisy from Proven Winners (www.provenwinners.co.nz) that has large flowers over many months during spring, summer and into autumn. The flowers are held on strong stems well above the foliage, on a tidy plant that grows to around 40cm tall and 30cm wide.

Daisy May prefers a position that receives at least six hours of sunshine a day, but will tolerate some light shade. It loves a well-drained spot in a garden bed and also is a fantastic container plant, perfect for brightening up a patio or balcony.

Daisy May makes a lovely and long lasting cut flower — ideal for kids to pick a bunch for Mum or Grandma — and the flowers also attract butterflies and bees into the garden.

To help keep Daisy May looking beautiful, regularly remove any spent flowers and feed each week with Yates® Thrive® Roses & Flowers Liquid Plant Food. It’s as easy as mixing in a watering can and applying over the plant and surrounding soil. Yates Thrive will encourage healthy leaf growth as well as promoting lots of bright flowers. As the plant matures, the clump can be dug up and divided and replanted throughout the garden.

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