Mid-march in the garden... Fresh Ideas

… means planting bulbs! Here are some garden tasks for this week and in a nutshell, it is all about bulbs, beans and bok choy! If you are into bulbs, remember the kids love this activity and it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 with Tui Bulb Mix.

Here are the 5 things to think about in the home garden for mid March, thanks to Luscious Lynda:

1. Sow broad beans. Broad beans are an excellent autumn filler crop. Sow them now and, not only will they stop weeds getting a foothold in any empty beds over winter, they’ll reward you with tender green beans in spring. Or you can dig them in as a green manure crop to feed your soil. Broad beans are hardy and will germinate even in frosty weather, so you can start sowing them from now until the end of April. A favourite is the compact Dwarf Early Green, as it doesn’t need staking. When the plants are growing well, nip out the tips and steam them as you would spinach. You can even eat the baby pods whole, like a sugar snap pea. (Don’t try this when they’re mature though; you’ll end up with a mouthful of fluff!)

2. Attend to your root crops. Mound up spuds, flip kumara vines off the soil, keep beetroot well-watered and make sure your carrots, yams and parsnips get plenty of water too. Now is a good reminder not to let up on garden maintenance. February was so incredibly dry that many summer crops of tomatoes, beans and even courgettes have checked out early. pray for rain or get out your hose!

3. What else to sow and plant? Sow beetroot, broad beans, cabbages, cauliflowers, carrots, bok choy, Chinese cabbages, leeks, lettuces, radishes and spring onions. And plant punnets of broccoli, cabbages, cauliflowers, celery, lettuces, silverbeet, spring onions, swedes and Brussels sprouts (only in frosty climates; in warm areas they don’t heart up properly).

4. Plant spring bulbs. Got space in your vege patch now that summer’s over? Plant spring bulbs. Daffodils, freesias, anemones and ranunculus bulbs are all coming into garden centres now. Make sure you plant them in a sunny spot with free-draining soil (definitely not waterlogged) and, as a general rule, bury them twice as deep as the bulb is big. For daffodils, colchicum, Dutch irises, freesias, ixias, crocus, tulips and fritillaries by mail order, try Wake Robin Nursery in Balclutha. Or visit the NZ Bulbs website for a catalogue. Here at Fresh, we love the Tui Bulb Mix and it’s as easy as 1,2,3 to grow bulbs with Tui – a true friend in your garden. Just follow the simple 3 steps at www.tuigarden.co.nz

5. Gardening by the moon? Sow root crops now. Get turnips, swedes, parsnips and onions established. Then concentrate on harvesting until mid March. Lift potatoes and store for winter in bags that exclude light. The more gently you handle the tubers, the less likely they are to develop rot. And weed, weed and weed. The moon is on your side as it will prevent any of the weeds you’ve pulled from re-establishing.

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