Grants Garden Diary - last week of September

Hi Everyone,


National Radio's Country Life Programme reported Motueka's temperature last Thursday, midday, as 4 degrees.  It sure was cold, but fortunately no real frosts eventuated from it at our place.


Realised that I didn't have celery on the sowing list last week.  Celery is one of the more difficult crops to grow organically.  Conventionally and commercially it is a crop heavily dependant on large fertiliser and fungicide inputs.  I have found that by growing it in soil rich with large amounts of horse manure seems to be fairly successful.  The plants need to grow fast to stop them from becoming stringy and must not be allowed to dry out as any signs of stress seems to lead to Leaf Spot.  The horse manure provides both nutrient and water retention.  Naturally, Celery is a coastal marshland plant so this imitates it's natural habitat.  Patience is required to germinate it.  It prefers a warm temperatures and can take up to 4 weeks.


Last winter we found Lovage (a perennial herb resembling the taste of Celery) a very good substitute for Celery, especially in soups.


If your Greenhouse Tomatoes are coming into flower, remember to give the plants a shake twice a day to help with pollination.  The better the pollination, the better the size of the tomatoe.  Also remember to keep up the delateralling of the Tomatoe plants.  You can delateral to make one central leader or you can let the first two laterals develop to become stems and then have three main stems per plant.  If you are doing this, make sure that you have enough nutrients, water and space to support these three stems.  If you want to increase your number of plants then allow the laterals to become approximately 75mm long, cut them off, put them up to their necks in a good mix, and they will strike fairly rapidly and become new plants.


Wilding Yams are coming up in my garden which means it's now time to plant them.  If you have them coming up yourself, you can shift them around to make a row.  Plant them under a ridge and my method is to neglect them of nutrients and water until late summer when they start to produce under the ground, otherwise you will get just lots and lots of tops.


If your sowing or planting Cucumbers (in Greenhouse still),  Apple Cucumbers appear to be far more sensitive to the cold than other varieties.


Sowing or Planting this week:

Brassicas - Cauli, Cabbage, Broccoli, Broccoflower

Celery (for early sowings choose slow-bolting varieties)



Peas (this year I am growing Easy Peasy - low growing, heavy cropping)

Perpetual Spinach

Potatoes (If you already have some in, get a second or third lot sprouting)

Red Onions


Spring Onion

Sugar Snap Peas

Zucchini (for warm areas, with extra protection)


Sow Direct:


Chinese Greens



Mescalun Mix




Sow now for early outdoor planting:


Beans (Green Dwarf, Runner, Scarlet, NOT BUTTER)






Sow now for Greenhouse planting:





Plant now in Greenhouse








Happy Gardening!   Grant