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Wally Richards
Wally Richardshttp://www.gardenews.co.nz
Wally Richards has been a gardening columnist for over 30 years. Check his websites - for gardening news and tips visit www.gardenews.co.nz. For mail order products visit www.0800466464.co.nz. Wally also has a gardening problem help line on 0800 466 464.

Gardening with Wally Richards: Around the corner

Winter gardening tips

We have started into a new growing season now that the shortest day is behind us, sunlight time increasing slowly minute by minute till we reach the longest day 21st December which is my birthday and as my mum said ‘It was the longest day ever, when I was born’.

So now we can get things happening and do the final winter jobs if you have not completed already.

Pruning is one of those aspects and how you prune is dependent on what you want a plant or tree to do this coming season.

In nature the only pruner is the wind and giraffes; which means no one comes along and does what many gardeners will do.

My thoughts are; pruning should be a tidy up removing dead and diseased branches; also if a bush or tree is getting too dense then completely remove some branches right back to where they come off the trunk.

Likewise on branches of a tree there maybe side branches making the tree denser so some or all of these can be removed from the parent branch.

If the tree or bush is sparse then cut 20 or 30 mm off the end of the branches to encourage more side branching.

On fruit trees remember that leaf and fruit buds have set and if you are too enthusiastic you could remove all fruiting buds and have no crop this coming season.

A gardener emailed me a good question today which I will share with you.

Hello Wally

Please can you advise me about pruning raspberries. I have canes which produce fruit in the summer and then again in the autumn. How should they be pruned ?

The canes are 2-3 years old and I have pruned them by removing the fruiting canes out but I don’t think this is probably the best method.

I would appreciate your advice – all I seem to be able to find on the net is autumn fruiting or summer fruiting not canes which do both !

From the internet he found this: Floricane-fruiting raspberries (spring fruiting). In the late fall after dormancy or in the early spring, cut down all “spent floricanes” ­ those that have already produced fruit.

They are easy to spot because of the old, dried fruit clusters left on the tops of the canes and on laterals.

Autumn fruiting: autumn fruiting raspberries should be pruned to the ground on planting.

Once they have finished fruiting, you can cut all the canes down to the ground ready for new growth next spring.

That means you have new canes to fruit each season in Autumn but for canes that fruit both spring and autumn my answer is this:

I would remove any really old and or diseased looking canes and leave rest to see how they preform.

It is a good idea to tie a bit of colored wool to each of canes left to mark them as left then if they don’t preform well this coming spring and autumn they get the chop next winter if they do preform well then tie a different coloured wool to them so you know they are 3 seasons producing.

In nature no one prunes out any and the bushes can get too dense but by that time they have spread from roots or seeds.

Pruning roses the traditional way is to prune canes down to 2 or 3 outward growing buds on bush and standard roses and rub out the inward growing buds to get the wine glass effect.

If you prune to say 5 or 6 outgoing buds you will get a bigger bush that is also going to be taller and denser and more flowers.

Once again look to remove old, dead and diseased canes/branches.

You will have seed pods on the roses which are red or yellow or in some cases nearly black which we call Rose Hips.

The best thing about roses are that all varieties of roses (Rosa species) produce hips and all of them are edible and medicinal! They can be eaten or made into a tea.

Due to its high levels of antioxidants, rosehip tea may boost your immune system, aid weight loss, reduce joint pain, support healthy-looking skin, and protect against heart disease and type two diabetics.

You can also harvest the rose hips and grow new roses from the seeds inside them which is an interesting thing to do.

I did this years ago when I had a nursery and within a year from seed I would obtain a small rose bush that would be in flower.

Often very different to the parent plant or a bit similar dependent how it was naturally pollinated. I use to sell them in flower for a dollar each in my Garden Centre.

To do this: Cut open the rose hip exposing the seeds. Soak the seeds 12 to 24 hours, drain and mix with equal parts of moistened sphagnum moss and vermiculite in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for at least three months. You can begin planting the seeds anytime after the chilling period is complete.

If you obtain some really good rose specimens later when a bush and flowering then you can name them and claim propagation rights so rose growers will pay you a fee for every rose they propagate and sell of your named variety.

That’s all new rose growers do except they choose what roses to cross and they ensure that the only pollen to fertilise is the one they want by bagging the buds/flowers to prevent foreign pollen from other sources happening. Once you have a good specimen then it is propagated by cuttings and bud grafts.

In nature the rose hips falling off the rose lay in the soil surface and the outer cover rots and releases the seeds and if and when they have the right circumstances prevailing; will germinate and create new rose plants.

Or as with a lot of fruiting plants some one or some bird/animal comes along eats the fruit and the seeds if durable will pass though and with a nice dose of manure grow, if deposited in or on soil.

Important is when pruning you can carry disease from one plant to a healthy plant on your secateurs or lobbers.

To prevent this make up a solution of potassium permanganate in a suitable container at the rate of about half a teaspoon to a litre of water and in between plants sterilise your blades by placing into the purple water and a bit of a swirl and then onto the next plant/rose.

This time of the year new seasons fruit trees, berry fruit plants and roses are in garden shops and if you want to expand in food crops now is the best time to do so.

Garlic should be planted by now if not done already.

The garlic rust problem that most gardeners faced in previous seasons is still a problem and I am yet to find a silver bullet to prevent it from affecting what you harvest.

The basic problem is the plants need sunlight to make carbohydrates which makes the bulbs big and fat.

Rust reduces leaf surface area which reduces efficiency of production converting sunlight to carbs.

Also the double whammy is we don’t have the blue skies of the past because of weather modification; we now have hazy cloudy skies too often and plants don’t grow as they used to. (Reduced levels of CO2 don’t help either)

Thus I am suggesting once your garlic plants have foliage then take Wallys Mycorrcin and Magic Botanic liquid and to each litre of spray add a table spoon of molasses.

To make up… add table spoon of molasses to a litre of hot water to dissolve when cooled down add 5 mils of Mycorrcin and 10 mils of Magic Botanic Liquid into a trigger spray bottle. Spray foliage of garlic once or twice a week to give the plants more carbs and growth.

The solution made up will keep ok so leave trigger sprayer by the garlic plants but out of direct sunlight so its handy to use when passing by.

Start as soon as the cloves have produced leaves.

Some gardeners have reported to me that last season even though the garlic rust struck they were able to get reasonable size bulbs by using these products.

It is the best solution I have come across so far and if you want to increase the growth of other plants then also spray then occasionally with same..

After thought: These days some say ‘Don’t Question the Science’?

Questioning Science IS Science……… when I went to school my Science teacher told me that?

Things must have changed and we see examples of where science has being purchased to obtain the results the buyer requires.

Image credit: Patti Black

Products mentioned are from Wallys Range of products and can be found in some garden shops or by Mail Order on www.0800466464.co.nz

Problems ring me at: Phone 0800 466464
Garden Pages and News at www.gardenews.co.nz
Shar Pei pages at www.sharpei.co.nz
Mail Order products at www.0800466464.co.nz

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