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Dealing with Liquefaction
My flower and vegetable gardens are affected by liquefaction brought on through the Christchurch earthquakes. How will this affect growing flowers and vegetables? What can you grow in this soil?
Lawn Care and Birds
Blackbirds have started removing grass from my lawn! They pull the grass and the dirt it's growing in out of the lawn and are clearing large patches. As soon as I cover one attacked patch, they start on another. Do you have a product or know-how to deter the blackbirds from destroying my lawn?
Why Your Tree might have no Fruit
We have lived at our place for about 15 years and our feijoa tree gets tiny little fruit, but they never seem to grow into anything edible. Does it need another feijoa planted with it? What type would be best?
My pohutukawa tree has been growing well in a pot and is about half a metre tall. When would be a good time to plant it in the garden? I am concerned about how well it will survive during the Christchurch winters!
I’m trying to clear a small garden plot that had some type of bulbous evergreen type plant growing. I’ve cleared it all out but the soil is root filled. How do I condition the soil ready for vege planting?
Attracting Good Insects
I would like some suggestions on what to plant to attract the ‘good’ insects like bees, ladybugs and praying mantis to my garden.
Soil for Worms
In the Autumn l planted a patch of mustard 5x3m. Recently I turned it over and dug it in a full shovel deep but did not see any worms, and have not over the years. I’ve put in compost and horse manure and I have plenty of weeds. Should I be worried?
Transplanting Mandarin Trees
I am considering moving a Clementine mandarin tree in September to a northerly position. It is one metre high and was planted 4 years ago. Should I partly wrench it a month before uplifting?
When is the best time to lift my lilies? Do I split them and plant straight away or store for the winter and plant again in spring?
Planting Lemon Trees
We’ve recently bought a house in Dunedin and bought a variety of plants for the garden, one of which is a lemon tree. Where would be the best place to plant it?
Working with Hard Clay
I would like to create a lovely vegetable garden but my garden is predominantly comprised of hard yellow clay! Can vegetables grow well in this hard clay? How much clay can I dig up without disturbing the garden’s soil structure? And can I mix the clay with compost to make it more beneficial for my vegetables?
What is the best way to control aphids on my plants? I have trouble with them every year.
Tall Garden Shrubs
I’m wanting to plant tall shrubs in front of my north-facing lounge window as a welcome distraction from a view of my garage, and also along my north-facing large fence. Perhaps a climber or tall shrub/tree. What do you suggest I plant in both areas?
Vegetable Garden Full of Oxalis
My vegetable garden is full of Oxalis. How do I get rid of this as I want to plant a rose garden in its place?
Growing Roses from Cuttings
We are soon to shift house. Currently we have some favourite roses which we have nurtured over the years. Could we take cuttings from these bushes to replant and establish at our new home?
Sweet Corn Crop
I was disappointed with my sweet corn crop last year. The cobs were not formed properly and had a lot of white kernels. I feel maybe it was something lacking in the soil. They were watered every day in the evening. Can you please give me some tips?
My 5-year-old passionfruit plant has just withered and died. It fruited well for the past 3 years and has been well watered through the summer and fertilised it in the spring. Another passionfruit plant in the same bed is fine. Any ideas, please?
Low Growing Tomatoes
I would like to have a go at growing tomatoes that don’t need staking, similar to those grown round the Mediterranean. Can you suggest a suitable variety?
What can I do with my Passionfruit plant? A few weeks ago it was looking very healthy. Nothing has been sprayed near it and no cold snaps. Can you please help?
Leaf Curl on Peach Tree
I usually spray my peach tree early in the season, but this year I forgot. While the foliage and immature fruit are doing well, I’ve just noticed a few hints of leaf curl. Will this affect the crop, is it too late to treat, and with what?
Nematodes on Potatoes
I have a problem with my potatoes which I have also had in other years. The seed potato is certified (Cliff kidney). The lush-looking ones I planted two weeks before the odd-looking ones. They are in different parts of the garden. I think it must be something to do with soil. I would be very happy to get some adivce on this issue.
Yellow Gardenia Leaves
My gardenia bush has yellow tips on the leaves. I am not sure whether I am giving it enough water or if it could have something to do with the pH in the soil? Can you offer any advice?
Lemon Leaf Drop
I planted a lemon tree in a pot two years ago. It is not growing and all the leaves have dropped off. I have fed it with a little bit of lime, but it is not doing anything - no flowers, nothing. I don’t know what to do.
Daphne Won't Flower
I have a daphne bush that is not doing well and hasn’t flowered for a few years. I am not sure what is wrong. I have feed it with fertiliser, and it is in the garden in a nice sunny, sheltered spot.
Healthy Flowering Roses
What should I do to look after my roses to ensure good healthy flowering this season?
My runner beans usually grow well. This year I did nothing different and the beans grew vigorously and had many flowers, but very few set. They were well watered and in a very warm position. What went wrong?
My nemesis plant is beetroot, I’m in my 60s now and I’ve never grown a successful crop of beetroot. I’ve tried everything including every tip suggested. What advice do you have for me?
Growing Big Vegetables
The past two seasons since I’ve been in my new place I’ve had very leafy crops with small fruits. Is there something I can do to help my soil before planting?
Earlier last year I planted 6 mini cabbages and they grew beautifully and looked nice and solid but when they were cut open they had all gone to seed, can you help?
My carrots this year are short and thin. I've thinned them out and I use compost. I do plant them in the same place each season, is this the problem or is it something else?
This summer I’ve grown corn in a group but unfortunately the cobs only partially fruited. Can you advise where I went wrong and what can I do better next time?
Growing Lettuce in Pots
I have tried growing veggies such as lettuce in pots but have not had much success. Are there any tips or tricks you can share to get a decent crop?
My snow peas went brown and dried before they had chance to produce a crop. They had plenty of water and there was no possibility of them coming into contact with weed killer etc. Why did this happen?
I find whenever I grow rocket; it goes to flower quite early on. I have heard that it is possible to collect the seeds and re-sow them. What are your recommendations?
I have always managed to grow good shallots, but this year was awful. Are there any special things I should do to get better success e.g. soil wise?
What to do in the Autumn Garden
Healthy Corn Cobs
We grew corn in a group but the cobs only partially fruited. What do you think went wrong?
I have heard of companion planting. What is it and which vegetables and plants work very well together?
Lemon Trees in Pots
Can you successfully grow a lemon tree in a big planter pot? How do you look after it and also are there plants/herbs that can be grown in the same container?
October - Spring Gardening Tasks
I grew ‘Brightlights’ Silverbeet from seed. These plants have now gone to seed. If I collect this seed, will any new plants still be ‘Brightlights’ or will they revert back to white stem ‘silver beet’?
Growing Beetroot from Seed
I read that beetroot needs soil that’s rich in compost, sheep pellets, lime, blood and bone. I have always done this, but always with the same result – amazing leaves but tiny beetroot. Can you help?
Lots of Blossoms, No Fruit
Please help me with my espaliered blackboy peach. I had lots of blossoms but no fruit. What do I have to do? I understand they fruit on second plus year 'wood', but their growth needs to be 'controlled' as they are growing against a border fence so can't be allowed to grow too high.
I have a potted Gardenia plant which I’ve had for several years. I re-potted it and feed it, but it still hasn’t produced any flowers. It gets the afternoon sun. Can you help me solve this problem so I can get flowers this season? I live in a windy area and not too far from the beach could this have something to do it?