Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Dig This!

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  • Ian Dalziel,

    Cat nip... did someone say cat nip!

    there's hours of fun here at Talking Animals
    even something for Canadians...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5046 posts Report Reply

  • Rebecca Williams,

    i must say i like the idea of gardening more than the reality of it, but i do like having a few summer veges in pots out on the patio too ...

    check out oooby.ning.com (oooby stands for out of our own backyards) ... it's got loads of special interest groups (think seed collecting, think compost, think keeping chooks etc etc etc and a lot going on. it was started by a kiwi guy but it has gone somewhat international. i don't visit that much myself (because i only have my few pots of summer veges) but if you want to do more than me, there's a lot of advice and info there.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 103 posts Report Reply

  • Lisa Black,

    Compost. Saves you money on fertiliser, saves you money on rubbish collection, reduces water use. Best garden thing ever.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2010 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    And.... While you make your compost you can also make your own Gas (Advanced users only ;-)

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4869 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I rather hope I don’t have to choose anytime soon between the two,

    One can always combine the 2.First tip for drink gardening, eliminate the need for any power tools.Second ,don't buy green or brown gardening tools. go for as bright as possible or be prepared to repeat trip to gardening supplies to replace lost in the garden secateurs,snips , scissors etc.
    Third , rest as you need, fast gardening will not achieve the same satisfaction. Seed raising however, is not on my book for fun. That is one slow process that other growers deserve their small income from. I like to support the economy.
    Remember herb gardens can do with new soil (can't remember frequency).
    It often helps to bed veg or herbs with plants that benefit each other. Marigolds being one. There will be stuff about companion planting on line.
    As an aside I found one can combine drinking and renovating as well. First tip, eliminate the need for power tools.....

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6261 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    So the true story of the Stella'd bathroom door comes out..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16741 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Lots of basil - it grows fine outside in pots here, not so much in the garden.

    Oh, how wonderful! More gardening! Good on you, Damian. Once you get hooked, that's it really. It's a fabulous addiction.

    Basil - if you can manage to grow it (try around your tomatoes. The tomatoes aren't affected, but their proximity seems to help the basil), keep picking off the flower spikes, and grab as many growing tips each time you use it. This causes it to branch out wonderfully. I've always finished up as the first really cool nights start setting in with heaps of basil still flourishing. Hint: pick all the leaves, put them in plastic bags, and put them in the freezer. Then you can just break off as much as you want during the winter, and crumble it into your pasta. Yum.

    I haven't managed to get out into the garden yet - still hobbling around with wonky ankle - and ran out of cherry tomato seeds. So I'll buy a couple of plants. As they branch out and grow new little branches in the forks (for those who aren't familiar with the term "laterals"), I cut them out and put them in water. After a few days, they sprout roots and you then have new tomato plants.

    The other thing is - keep a worm farm. Tiger worms! Nature's little ploughers!

    (See! Got me started! Probably never shut up now!)

    Our catnip, grown in a pot and now seemingly disappeared, has spread to the garden and every day we get feline visitors cavorting around, chasing one another. Loved that video, Ian D!

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker,

    Just a question for the gardeners out there. Have any of you been affected recently by the psilid bug that gets into tomatoes and spuds and have you found an organic way of dealing with it? Decimated my toms and spuds last year.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    Sound like nasty little bastards--and they have been here only since 2006. Our pests tend to be larger and winged--spent the afternoon putting bird netting over a promising crop of raspberries.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2316 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    Yeah they aren't nice and the garden centres can only recommend fairly toxic pesticides to counter them which is not really the way I like to garden.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Maybe try soapy water, or a garlic spray. Can't hurt, but might help. You'd need to spray the underside of leaves, which would be quite difficult.

    Perhaps there are companion plants?

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    spent the afternoon putting bird netting
    over a promising crop of raspberries.

    Go the canes!

    Perhaps there are companion plants?

    Like those thyme travellers in Dr Who ?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 5046 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Sacha,

    No! Believe you me . Miss Stella can make a point (often with that look), but the Great Blend was just too much for her to miss. She achieved door/ architrave destruction all on her little lonesome, (which was her point). This bitch, she has her ways.
    :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6261 posts Report Reply

  • Tony Parker, in reply to Jacqui Dunn,

    I do use a mixture of onion, garlic and neem soap to combat some pests on our fruit trees but it's not strong enough for the psilid. I confess to using a chemical this year on my toms and spuds as they were starting out and they seem fine at the moment. Didn't want another season of no spuds and rubbish tomatoes.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    I can't find anything to help with these nasties other than the soap, garlic mixture
    Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet with chemicals or not grow the plants that are susceptible
    Do read the instructions very carefully; these things are safer than the hard greens would have you believe.
    The only person who actually died from DDT was a gardener from Wellington who layed it on with a very liberal hand

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Tony Parker,

    I confess to using a chemical this year on my toms and spuds as they were starting out and they seem fine at the moment. Didn't want another season of no spuds and rubbish tomatoes.

    Sometimes there just are no natural, organic remedies that work - or work well enough for human consumption of the products, anyhow. Minimising pesticide use is very important, but abandoning them entirely is another thing altogether - and one that involves a great deal of compromise. After all, they were invented for a reason.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • Karen White,

    I'm a late starter in the veggie garden too (really wish i'd listened more to mum!) but I'm learning & I love it - especially the taste and sense of acheivement. Have a good crop of beetroot, carrots, brocolli, lettuce, corn & tomatoes underway.
    Any hints on how to keep the cat from using the garden as a huge litter box?
    I've currently got a spiderweb of string between stakes to try & diverte her, but with limited success.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 76 posts Report Reply

  • Jacqui Dunn, in reply to Karen White,

    Nah, just grin and bear it :)

    Or dig up another patch, just for her. Chances are, and cats being what they are, she’ll just use the veggie garden to spite you.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand,

    some people sprinkle cayenne pepper or paprika. around (makes the soil rather spicy). Best to cover seeds with chicken netting until they can fend for themselves.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2316 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    our spinach bolted in all this hot weather, so a poke around in the a recipe book delivered ‘bread and sinach gnocchi’. even better on account of using up stuff around the place.

    we also have blackcurrants, redcurrants, blueberries, feijoas, blackberries, peaches, <breath in> and garlic, potatoes, beetroot, bokchoy (broccoli failed, badly), and radishes. (oh, and two types of parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary, greek basil, blah blah)

    she’s been a busy winter. am expecting most of the berries to fail, although the wee fella spent a good part of last feb eating blackberries straight off the (thornless) bush.

    and come on Rb, you hated cats and now you're posting pictures of one's harbles.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Karen White,

    garden hose. or the sprinkler.

    until it gets the picture.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Have any of you been affected recently by the psilid bug that gets into tomatoes and spuds and have you found an organic way of dealing with it? Decimated my toms and spuds last year.

    Just read this on an intensively-horticultural friend’s blog:

    I’m really going all-out on the companion planting this year. I’ve got two biodiversity strips going, feeding the bees and hoverflies, though they’re still not in full flower. Lots of nasturtiums with the potatoes and tomatoes – this is to provide the right stuff for the insects that combat the new nasty – the potato psyllid. Also putting marigolds and basil with the toms. Tansy with the fruit trees and onions with the carrots.

    Nasturtiums have the bonus of being nitrogen-fixers too.

    My new veggie garden used to be chock full of worms. Haven't seen a one since the earthquake. I'm trying coffee grounds to attract them back from wherever they went.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4369 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby, in reply to Emma Hart,

    plus, you can eat the flowers and seed clusters.

    peppery and delicious.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Since this has turned into Gardener's Question Time, two questions for the field:

    I'm getting a lot of fruitflies in our worm farm. This is a pain, as it's only about ten feet from our kitchen door, so we always have fruit flies in the kitchen. Any suggestions for keeping the fruit flies down without affecting the worms?

    Related: can anyone suggest any worm best practice tips? I've had a worm farm for the last few years, but I can't help feel that I'm probably missing out on Advanced Worm Technique. Anyone got any tips or links?

    And finally, someone mentioned coffee grounds. I have access to rather a lot of coffee grounds; but won't they make the soil too acidic for a lot of plants? How do bulk coffee grounds do in a worm farm?

    I should point out that I've been growing various plants since I was 19 or so, but I've always been more interested in the ornamental/interesting section of the spectrum rather than food. Trust me, you haven't seen a double-take like the day that I (aged 25, obv a bit pierced/punk) asked my manager for a day off so I could go help man a stall at the Chelsea Flower Show...

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Coffee is acidic 3-5 ph but is high in very available nitrogen
    Apparently if it was sold a fertilizer it would be 2-33-1

    Anyway I mix it with lime (1 part lime to 2 of coffee) for ordinary use, composting etc
    Straight it is good for alkaline loving plants and as snail/slug defense wall

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 543 posts Report Reply

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