Nobody ever says they’ve got a strawberry glut. Runner beans, zucchinis but never strawberries. They do well in Wellington as they tolerate acid soil. Now’s a good time to plant some (more) strawberries. Mulching them with pine needles keeps them moist, improves the soil and deters slugs and snails. If you don’t want all your crop to go to the blackbirds, you’ll need some sort of netting over them. I put hoops of plastic pipe (plumbing or large diameter irrigation) over mine and draped the bird netting over that to form a tunnel. Some nails in the sides of the raised beds stop the netting blowing away – even girl nailing was adequate for that job.
I’ve been spraying aphids in the tunnel house with chilli and garlic spray. If you can get them early it’s much more effective. I whizzed up a couple of cloves of garlic and a couple of frozen chillis in a tablespoon or so of water in the blender. Then I strained it through a double layer of muslin into a hand sprayer and topped it up with water. It’s evil stuff so don’t breathe it in or rub it in your eyes (or other sensitive areas). The aphids don’t like it much either. I pulled a fine crop of tunnel house carrots last week. Sown in mid June and not watered very often, they were sweet and delicious roasted. About 20 carrots from a square foot planting.
The gales have blown lots of seaweed onto the local beaches. The new vehicle collected plenty to mulch the potatoes with and to make seaweed tea to feed the tomatoes. I never worry about rinsing off the salt water. I’ve put flower pots with the bottoms cut off around newly transplanted seedlings to give them some protection from the wind.
If you don’t want to come on the course, the only time the kitchen garden will be open to the public this season is this Sunday as part of the Ohariu Valley Country Garden tour from 10am to 4pm. Tickets cost $15 and are on sale from Twiglands and LJ Hooker Johnsonville, California Garden Centre Miramar and Leaders Karori. Tickets will be on sale on the day at the Ohariu Hall, 550 Ohariu Valley Road (cash only). That will be the venue for tea and toilets too.