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Covid-19 shutdown changes gardening plans

Grab a spade and head outside in your own garden. As the air starts to cool it’s time to celebrate nature’s planting time.

Covid-19 lockdown is going to change our gardening plans a little. Don’t despair, because this is a good time to get garden beds formed or prepared for planting, when we can once again go about our business as usual. If you have compost ready this can be dug into the garden beds along with sheep pellets and blood and bone if you have them.

Remove spent crops and vines that have finished producing e.g corn, tomatoes and zucchini. These can be added to the compost heap. Seedlings to be planted at this time are your spring/winter crops cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and spinach. Protect against slugs and snails. Herbs to plant include parsley and coriander.

Harvest – Kumara should be complete now. Early summer planting of leeks should be ready for harvest and continue through winter. Pumpkins harvested and stored for winter should be checked occasionally for any signs of decay. Use any showing spots or signs of rot. Sow seeds of beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and lettuce in containers under cover if possible.

Sow directly outside – carrots, cabbage, parsley, peas, radish if possible.

Try your local supermarket or the following online suppliers: ,, These are open for business at present but due to an increase in orders they do ask for your patience during the lockdown for deliveries.

If you are able to get some seeds it is a great opportunity to get the kids of all ages involved in creating a garden of their own. Even if it’s in pots. It encourages responsibility, creativity and teaches them about nutrition and health. Keeping them fit while discovering more about how nature works. Plus it gets them outside for extended periods of time to help blow out the cobwebs.

Try starting your own compost heap and notice the decrease in the rubbish you throw out each week. A compost heap starts as a diverse pile of kitchen and garden waste. Left alone these materials would eventually decompose but include a variety of materials mixed together, keep moist and aerated and the process accelerates. You can include dry (brown) materials like leaves, pine needles and dead plants mixed with (green) grass clippings and kitchen waste. Keep the heap covered (old sack, old carpet of tarpaulin) to maintain heat and prevent from becoming too wet. Turn with a fork periodically. If you have access to old pallets these can be used as a surround. Chicken wire could be used or even a plastic drum with the bottom cut out and a few holes punched in the sides.

Now is a good time for a general tidy up around the garden. Pruning shrubs and trees and light prune of roses will refresh flowering.

Enjoy the time in your garden be it new or existing. Stay safe and well.

Submitted by Ngatea Garden Circle