Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What can I grow at this time of year?

A: We grow seasonally. On the website there are categories for each season to guide you to what to plant

Q: How do I control slugs and snails?    

A: Fingers pick them off, go out morning and evenings. We do use the Kiwicare Insect Control that is certified by BioGro if you wish to use a organics spray

Q: How much room do I need to plant my veges and herbs

A: Again at least 30 – 40 cms apart depending on plant – information on back of tag. Some herbs can be invasive, you can plant in a big pot to contain. Some of the larger plants such as Zucchini need at least a metre( 2-3 feet) apart.

Q: Why aren’t my plants doing well, not growing well, height, size, fruit etc?

A: Most likely soil, sun, shade, wind or water. Where they are planted perhaps they are competing with something else?

Q: Why do you use punnets with each plant separate?

A: This protects the roots of each plant from damage when you transplant especially in the heat of summer. Transplant then give them a good drink and all they think is – goodness lots of food and water, none or very little transplant shock.

Q: In Summer I water my plants everyday but they are always wilting -

A: A short spray once a day just brings the roots up to the surface and they dry out very quickly really stressing the plants. A  good deep water once a week is the answer. Dig you finger into the soil – if it is damp about 2 – 3 cms down, they can wait for a drink unless newly transplanted.

Q: My Summer lettuces leaves are bitter and tough -

A: The best lettuces are grown in Autumn and Spring. In Winter a raised garden that gets lots of sun will work, and in Summer they need shade, just like we do, over the hottest part of the day. They prefer a good rich moist soil so they grow fast, mulching with compost helps keep the roots cool and moist.

Q: What do I do when there is 2 seedlings in a pot?

A: Sometimes there maybe 2 seeds in our pots, you can either carefully separate them or do as we do, plant both together.

Q: Should I remove laterals from tomatoes?

A: We don’t because for our home gardens we mostly grow cherry type up a trellis. Mother nature doesn’t, and potatoes who are their kissing cousins don’t have their laterals removed, just give them a bit more space.

Q: What should I feed my vegetable plants?

A: We never feed our plants, we continually feed the soil, this is the engine room of the garden. Also never leave soil unplanted if you can avoid it, quickly add some excellent compost, a spare sprinkle of slow release organic fertiliser.

Q: What's the best way to get rid of the bad bugs in the garden?

A: We prefer to live and let live within reason. If you don’t use poisons, your big and small wildlife increases so a few bad bugs are always needed for food. The real nasties like green shield beetles and snails are best collected and feed to hens if you have them or squash and return to rot in garden. Children like to collect these, especially if you have hens who will reward you with eggs. Encourage diversity in the garden and always leave some plants to go to flower, their nectar provides food for the good bugs. The best prevention of pests is to keep the soil well fed.

Q: My beetroot/parsnips/kumara/potatoes have loads of lovely big leaves but no roots are developing?

A: This is probably caused by an oversupply of nitrogen. This often happens when too much un-composted animal manure is added. The organic option is fishmeal or tea made from it. This adds the phosphates needed for root development, it also has plenty of other important nutrients.

Q: How do you grow Coriander?

A: Rich moist soil, prefers cool weather for fast growth, therefore in Summer grow in 1/2 - 3/4 shade and water well. Pick young leaves once they have reached about 10 cm in height. 

Q: What companion plants should I put with Tomatoes?

A Tomatoes make good companions with the majority of popular garden vegetables. Some companion plants help improve the health and vigor of the tomato plants, some improve the tomato flavor, and other companion plants are used to repel and deter ​insect pests and diseases.

Plants recommended for companion planting with tomatoes include, asparagus, basil, beans, borage, calendula (pot marigold), carrots, celery, chive, cucumber, garlic, lemon balm, lettuce, marigold, mint, nasturtium, onion, parsley, sage, and squash.

Q: My tomatoes/capsicums/chillies/courgettes/cucumbers/fruit trees are thriving, but no flowers or fruit?

A: This is again probably an oversupply of nitrogen. Potassium is needed for fruit set and development. A good organic way to add this is with comfrey tea or chopped up banana skins. Provide good nutrient to beneficial army busy in the soil by adding excellent compost is also a good way to go.

Q: I get a lot of aphids and other bugs, what should I spray with?

A: We use a Kiwicare Insect Control Spray which is certified by BioGro or you can use a little neem oil mixed with water. The parents of the babies which feed on bugs have a sweet tooth and need lots of nectar to keep them happy and busy laying eggs. Just remember happy healthy plants grow in soil teeming with happy healthy bugs/worms and fungi etc who work away making food available for the plants. Plants that are not stressed by hunger are much less likely to surrender to pests and diseases.

Q: What is the difference between organic compost and certified organic compost, I thought they were the same, I am confused?

A: Not all “organic” composts are created equal.

The words “ORGANIC COMPOST” cause a lot of confusion. Gardeners, trying to source the best products for their garden, assume because it is called organic it must be okay. The reason it can be called organic is because the materials used to make it once lived. There is no requirement in this country for a product to be certified to be called “ORGANIC”.

To make sure you buy the best safe product, make sure the brand you buy is “CERTIFIED ORGANIC” by reputable certifier such as BioGro. This assures you that the quality controls required for certification have been adhered to and that the product has no or minimal contamination by pesticide or heavy metal. Also the compost will have been heated (by microorganisms involved in this natural process, not artificially) during the process of decomposition to a temperature of at least 55 degrees and kept there for at least 3 days, turned and this process repeated several times so that decomposition almost completed. This means the bad bugs and weed seeds are destroyed.

The best compost has also been aged before sale for at least 6 months so that all the waste products used to make the compost have broken down properly, nutrients are then immediately available to the soil organisms when it is spread on the garden.

The best composts are made from a wide variety of material so that the end product is rich in a wide variety of plant foods. It should not be too fine, and the coarse materials should be well rotted, this means soil aeration, drainage and the moisture retention properties of the soils will be improved as well giving a good boost to the vigour of your plants.

So buy the best, make sure it is CERTIFIED ORGANIC.