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Get the most out of your garden this winter

5 July 2016

Edible gardens are becoming a common feature in new home builds as people look to improve their health by having a fresh supply of home-grown produce from their own backyard and enjoying the relaxation and satisfaction that comes from tending their own food garden.

When landscaping a new property to include an edible garden it’s important to consider various types of herbs, vegetables and fruit trees to ensure you create a garden that produces a bounty of food all year round.

Generation Homes Chief Executive Kevin Atkinson says awareness of the benefits of good nutrition is driving health and wellness trends in New Zealand and this is increasing customer requests for edible gardens when landscaping new homes.

We’re experiencing growing demand for larger homes in some parts of the country and there’s been a big push for functional outdoor living spaces with larger decks, alfresco areas and terraces that flow into a beautifully landscaped garden or backyard area, says Kevin.

“Our customers love the idea of bringing the outdoors in and being able to grow their own fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers is an easy way to create a natural, healthy home.”

Generation Homes is a national top 10 residential building company that offers customers a fixed price and on time delivery guarantee. This means customers receive a fully completed product, with no hidden extras, that includes basic landscaping and garden, the letterbox, fencing and clothes line.  

Leading landscapers who advise Generation Homes say raised planter boxes, water features, pergolas and creative garden paving are just some of the ways individual homeowners are turning their backyards into a thriving oasis.

For homeowners wanting to create their own edible garden the good news is now is as good a time as ever to brush off the tools and get started as there are many vegetables you can plant over winter.   

According to the Winter Gardening Guide by Tui Garden the cooler months are the perfect time to give the garden some TLC and start planning for the year ahead. Some of Tui’s top winter gardening tips are outlined below.  

Winter to do list

  • Add a layer of mulch to your garden (about 5cm thick) to help protect plants from the cold and conserve moisture. Natural blood and bone, sheep pellets and mulching straw will help to replenish nitrogen in the soil.
  • Winter is a great time to check your tools and update equipment in preparation for spring – it’s never too early to start thinking about what flowers you want to enjoy or crops you’d like to grow and harvest for your family.  
  • If you love the sound of birds chirping in the garden then add a bird feeder and seed to your shopping list. Natural food sources for native birds can be scarce during winter and this is a great way to attract them to your new home.
  • Tui Garden recommends homeowners should add a plant tonic to all areas of the garden once a month. Seasol plant tonic is a liquid seaweed extract that stimulates growth of roots and beneficial soil micro-organisms, promotes flowering and fruiting and helps plants cope with stress caused by heat, drought and frost. It also supports seed germination for a full, luscious garden and improves resistance to sucking insects and fungal infections.

Vegetable to do list

  • If you have root vegetables in the backyard make some time to turn over the garden beds as these crops thrive in well worked soil.
  • Tui Garden recommends sprouting new season seed potatoes in July so they’re ready for planting in August or September.
  • Add compost and sheep pellets to the soil before planting your winter banquet of broad beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, celery, garlic, kale, onions, peas, shallots, silverbeet, spinach and coriander. This will replenish nutrients and ensure you have a bounty of vegetables.
  • Garlic is traditionally planted on the shortest day of the year but it can be planted through to early spring in colder areas. Tui Garden recommends planting garlic cloves 5cm deep with the pointy end to the sky. Garlic should be harvested in mid-late summer. Check out Tui Garden’s Garlic Growing Guide for more tips.
  • If your home is plagued by regular frosts try planting crops into portable garden beds or cold frames that can be moved to different areas of the garden. This will help your crops get the most out of the midday sun.

For more practical gardening tips and planting advice for vegetables, fruits and flowers, check out Tui Garden’s Winter Gardening Guide.