Hot tips for gardening this January

It’s the month for watering, sowing and keeping the garden groomed. 

Words: Jane Wrigglesworth

Plant seedlings of brassicas, celery, corn, leek, parsnip, swede, and turnip.

Keep herbs cut back to encourage new and tender growth. Nip off the tips of mature basil plants to prevent flowers from forming.

Check your garlic. If the foliage is yellow, bulbs are close to mature. If the foliage is dying off, they’re ready. Harvest on a warm, sunny day.

Why it’s critical to water your citrus. Your citrus tree may be not doing much but looking green, but it’s worth giving it some love. Citrus will produce dry-fleshed fruit if water is sparse in the heat of summer.

Sow more carrots, lettuces, radishes, rocket, and spring onions every fortnight for a continuous supply of salad ingredients. Cut spent blooms off ornamental flowering plants so more can take their place.

In warmer areas, dwarf and climbing beans can still be sown for autumn harvest.

Maintain regular, deep watering every 7-10 days in dry regions – water in the early morning on hot days so you don’t cause mildew.

A smear of scarlet. Depending on the variety you’ve sown, beetroot are ready to eat from 7-12 weeks after sowing. The younger they’re harvested, the sweeter they tend to be. If you can’t remember when you planted them out, the length of the leaves is a good clue – a standard beetroot variety should be mature when the leaf is about 15cm long.

Don’t leave them in the ground too long – the longer roots keep growing, the woodier they get. You can use them up in a hummus or dip, or freeze them whole for up to 3 months.

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NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.

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