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Grow with a Pro, April edition

27th Apr 2023

Harvesting and herbs

It’s been steady as she goes the last few months with daily picking of greens, peas, beans, cucumber, tomatoes and herbs (aka daily salads). I don’t know how it’s escaped me for so long but I’m only just discovering how good a diversity of fresh herbs taste over a bed of greens. I have oregano, basil, parsley, sorrel, thyme and tarragon planted. These herbs love the glasshouse where I can give them water sparingly and they thrive in the heat too. Did you know you can prolong the life of your basil by picking off the developing flowers?

      Beans and peas have been doing well lately

Crumb Structure

It’s also been gratifying to see some good crumb structure forming / returning to my soil. This crumb structure was not really evident in the Waikato screened topsoil I bought in (due to fine screening breaking it down). Crumb structure is really important for aeration, root development and to assist nutrient uptake. Waikato topsoil is a good base but does need considerable improving by adding organic matter.  

        You can see crumb structure above the lettuce here

Added an end-bed

I finally got round to adding an end-bed – this is otherwise wasted space and the trick is to not make this so deep that you can’t reach into the beds around it. 

General Maintenance: 


Maintenance tasks this time of year include a savage pruning back of the tomato plant foliage + cutting off any newly developing flowers so the fruit that is set can mature before the colder weather sets in. Tomatoes have been better lately in general with a half-decent autumn (we actually got some sun) but all in all sunshine hours in Warkworth are still dismal and have been for many months (making growing challenging especially with such wet ground conditions that never really dried out this summer). 


One thing that has done particularly well is celery, so much so that I have a constant celery planting rotation happening and stalks get added to salads constantly. Celery has coped extremely well with the low sunshine hours and seem to do well in even the darkest corners of the glasshouse. A great option for a nuclear winter (lol). 

Snails and slugs 

I have also had to determinedly maintain a regular night time visit to the glasshouse of late as snails have been attacking my newly planted seedlings + lettuces, beetroot and bush bean leaves. I’ve removed the worst affected leaves and some of the bush bean plants (which were all but done anyway), top-dressed the soil with compost and planted the next round of seedlings in-between (maintaining a high density turnover of crop to crop).

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