Summer Vegie Patch

tomato101garden

Tomato TLC

With tomatoes in full swing in December, here are some hints to keep them healthy and productive for many months:

Phenomenal Cauliflowers
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Cast your mind forward to cooler weather in late autumn when roasts and soups will start to be on the menu. Cauliflower is a brilliant vegie to use in so many warming recipes and if you start sowing seed now, you’ll be eating home grown cauliflower in a few months time.

Yates® Cauliflower Phenomenal Early is a popular, early maturing and easy to grow variety. It produces large, firm heads in 14 – 18 weeks.

  1. It’s best to start cauliflower off in trays of Yates® Black Magic® Seed Raising Mix and transplant the seedlings out into a sunny vegie patch when they’re around 7 cm high. Leave 50 – 75 cm between each plant, so they have enough room to grow.
  2. To reduce the incidence of disease, cauliflowers should not be grown where other brassica vegies (like cabbages, broccoli and kale) have been grown in the last 2 years.
  3. To help grow big healthy cauliflowers, feed them each week with Yates® Thrive® Vegie & Herb Liquid Plant Food. And as the white heads (called a ‘curd’) develop, fold the leaves over the top to prevent yellowing.
  4. Caterpillar control: brassica vegies like cauliflower are adored by cabbage white butterfly caterpillars, which devour leaves. These caterpillars can be controlled by spraying every 7 days with Yates® Success Ultra Insect Control.
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Pampering your potatoes
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Potatoes are a delicious and productive vegie to grow at home and can even be grown in pots. Seed potatoes planted during spring will be growing strongly during summer.

Here’s what you can do during summer to promote the best possible spud harvest:

  1. As green shoots emerge, cover with a 15 cm layer of mulch, such as lucerne hay or pea straw, and a sprinkling of Yates Dynamic Lifter® Organic Plant Food. The mulch layer encourages the shoots to grow taller, which provides more opportunities for the potatoes to develop along the stem. It also protects the potato tubers from sunlight. Yates Dynamic Lifter provides the growing potato plants with slow release organic nutrients to promote healthy growth and encourage lots of potatoes. Water the plants if the soil and mulch feels dry.
  2. Each time new shoots emerge through the mulch, apply another 15 cm layer of mulch and more Yates Dynamic Lifter.
  3. It takes around 4 months for potatoes to fully mature, however impatient gardeners can harvest some tender baby potatoes a little earlier. Gently dig around the root zone of the potato plant (a technique called bandicooting) and feel for the little spuds!
  4. Potato insect watch: keep an eye out for sap sucking aphids and mites, which can damage and distort potato foliage. Regular sprays Yates Nature’s Way® Pyrethrum & Oil Citrus & Ornamental Spray, on both the upper and lower leaf surfaces, will help keep aphids and mites under control. It’s certified for use in organic gardening so is ideal for gardeners wanting to use organic methods of insect pest control.
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Dill
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Dill (Anethum graveolens) is a traditional aromatic and versatile annual herb that can add delicious flavour to a wide range of dishes including seafood, quiches and tarts, salads and even breads and savoury muffins.

Yates® Dill seed can be sown throughout New Zealand during December and is happy to grow both in the ground and in pots. Dill doesn’t like to be transplanted, so sow seed direct where it is to grow.

Growing Tips:

If left to flower, dill’s pretty yellow flowers will attract bees and other beneficial insects that will help to control insect pests like aphids.


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