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Washing up on produce


As tempting as it may be to bite into a freshly bought apple straight from the bag, it’s long been known produce should be rinsed before consumption.But, just how much washing is required?

 

Visible dirt on your potatoes, the thought of all the hands that have touched your tomatoes and the various sprays used for growing healthy, delicious produce – the reasons for washing before eating seem obvious.

While New Zealand’s strict food safety rules ensure our produce is safe to eat, if you’re not convinced running under water alone will get your goods quite clean enough – you may wish to consider a fruit and vege wash.

These can be purchased at the supermarket, perhaps at the same time you stock up on fresh fruit and veges, or, you can channel Martha Stewart and make your own at home.

Most recipes for a homemade fruit and vege wash use one cup of vinegar and three cups of water in a spray bottle with 1 Tbsp of lemon juice. Or, 1 Tbsp of lemon juice and baking soda with one cup of water. Spray fruit and veges, rinse under cold water, using a soft bristled scrubbing brush to remove any dirt and dry off with paper towels. For extra Martha points, do this before loading the goods into the fridge and fruit bowl.

For leafy greens, wait until just before you plan to use them as extra moisture can speed up decay. Fill a bowl with one cup of vinegar to four parts water and 1 tsp of salt, add the greens and let soak for five minutes. Rinse thoroughly and dry using a paper towel or the salad spinner.


 

What to do for winter


April is when autumn really gets going. The days are noticeably shorter and night temperatures cooler, so we need to be preparing the garden for winter. Here are Metropol’s tips for what to focus on in your mid-autumn garden.

 

 

Blooming bulbs

Spring bulbs may still be planted now, if space is lacking plant them in containers and pack them in. Bulbs in pots can be planted much closer than those in the garden to achieve a full display when flowering.

Vege versions

Tomato plants will be getting to
the end of their season so remove the old plants and dispose of the vines especially if they have had any disease. Best not to compost them. Dig potatoes if the ground is likely to get water-logged and store them in a cool dark place.

Leaves and lawns

Fallen leaves literally smother lawns, preventing light and oxygen from penetrating. If you don’t want patchy lawns this spring, collect

the leaves and pop them in your compost bin or in a separate bin to make leaf mould.

Flowering and fruity

Cut back perennials. Prune berry fruits. Do clean up spraying on fruit trees so that any pest or disease will not be carried over to the next season. Any frost tender plants need to be moved inside if in containers or else covered for protection once the harder frosts start.

In general

It is important to cut back any over-hanging branches on trees or shrubs near pathways and to treat paths for moss so that we are safe when the weather is wet and cold.


 

Relaxation Stations


Outdoor living spaces that extend entertaining outdoors have surpassed trend and entered necessity territory in home design. And in 2021, landscape designers are predicting this will go one step further with a rise in relaxation areas – garden escapes which create a feeling of holiday without leaving your property.

 

OZ Design Furniture

 

Outdoor living spaces that extend entertaining outdoors have surpassed trend and entered necessity territory in home design. And in 2021, landscape designers are predicting this will go one step further with a rise in relaxation areas – garden escapes which create a feeling of holiday without leaving your property.

If you do feel inspired to create your own outdoor nook, it doesn’t need to be large, expensive or extravagant; it could involve a seat in a secluded area, a small pergola or making space for a brazier away from your current outdoor entertaining space.

Some relaxation zones, though, go all out. In-ground fire pits, architectural shade and rain covers protecting seating areas on paved courtyards. Or, what about an outdoor bath or hot pool, strings of fairy lights or in-ground fire torches?

Perhaps add some decking, some paving stones or a water feature,
or plant your relaxation space with your favourite flowers, or more low maintenance greenery if gardening is not your bag.


 

Artistic garden additions: Grow Landscapes


A garden is a home’s oasis, it is a tranquil place to experience the art and wonder of nature and science. As industry experts, Grow Landscapes & Lifestyle know all about this – and also stock an impressive and unmatched range of water features and pots to elevate your natural habitat.

 

 

Bhuddas, urns, bowls, tiered waterfalls and infinity designs are amongst the impressive array of water features on show at Grow’s Moorhouse Avenue store.

The artistic and sophisticated designs showcase craftsmanship from Vietnam and Bali, with designs made from a range of natural and man-made materials like concrete, fibreglass and cement.

“Water features are our speciality,” says the showroom manager. “We have more than 25 models on display all working. We carry many different sizes and styles in a range of colours – there really is everything you can imagine.”

A recent arrival of concrete designs from Bali has proved especially popular during the summer, and there are still a number of items in store. Special orders can also be made.

Water features can be delivered and installed by Grow’s team, or it is a simple process for customers themselves. All that is needed is a level surface, water supply and 240-vault power supply. In most cases many homes will have an outdoor power supply, otherwise an electrician can install one.

Aside from water features, Grow‘s vast range of pots cater to gardens and outdoor areas of all shapes and aesthetics.

The store have everything you can imagine.

Lightweight fibreglass and cement models are especially popular, as are rectangular troughs, and shallow and dish planters – some up to 2m wide – which are an option for showcasing special plants like Cloud Trees.

These come in black, white, coffee bean brown, cement colour, glazed, and glazed terracotta.

Aside from these garden adornments, Grow has been working in Christchurch for more than 10 years with a team of 13 landscapers.

In more recent times, its artificial lawn has become a very popular option – with many customers reporting back how many compliments they are getting on their “healthy, luscious-looking lawns.”

Pop into Grow Landscape & Lifestyle at 69 Moorhouse Avenue from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday or 10am to 4pm Saturdays, call to discuss the range on (03) 365 9945, or check out the website below.


 

Autumn garden


As the leaves begin to turn, we welcome in the new season of autumn with its chillier temperatures and spectacular showing of red, oranges and yellows. Perhaps you’ll be wrapping up warmer as you head out to enjoy the colour show, but when it comes to your garden – it’s time to get planting!

 

 

Soil away: In your edible garden, replace the nutrients lost during the heavy growing season and provide a healthy foundation for your autumn and winter crops by adding in compost, blood and bone and sheep pellets. In your flower garden, mulch flower beds to suppress weeds.

Palatable plantings: It’s a great time to plant broccoli, cauli, cabbage, beetroot, spinach and Chinese cabbages. Lettuces should still prosper in early Autumn, too. It’s also time to sow seeds for winter crops like carrots, swedes, turnips and radish – remembering to protect them with a cloche or growing tunnel should your garden be frost-prone.

Mighty micros: Autumn is a wonderful time to plant microgreens. Sow the seeds into your chosen container with a light coverage of potting mix and a healthy dose of H2O, then cover with plastic. Sit somewhere bright – like a windowsill – and wait for the sprouts to appear.

Flower power: Autumn is a time for potted plants to thrive, and blooms like pansies, violas and polyanthus are go-to colourful friends which can tolerate the cooler temps. It’s also, of course, the best time to plant bulbs in preparation for spring flowering.


 

Edible landscaping


Take your landscaping a step further by giving it an edible twist. A boost for your palate as well as Mother Nature’s, this flavourful endeavour will brighten up any space. Here are Metropol’s tips to incorporate edible plants into shaping your outdoor spaces.

 

 

SPICE IT UP
Herbs don’t just give any recipe an edge – they can give your garden beds one, too. Lavender looks lovely lining any garden or path, and onions, garlic and chives can be planted as edging to protect other edibles from hungry birds and animals.

FRUTTI TUTTI
Fruit trees look stunning in every landscape. Supposedly nothing tastes better than the fruits of your labour, but just make sure you monitor excess fruit to keep hungry rodents and possums at bay. We especially love the look of an immaculately groomed citrus tree – and not just for the G&Ts.

ZEALOUS TRELLIS
If you’re using trellis to adorn a wall or to create a pergola or space divider, add interest and function with tasty additions. Runner beans and nasturtiums both have eye-catching blooms and enjoy a climb. The leaves of beans are also more attractive to pests than the veges – win, win!

FLOWER POWER
Pansies and calendulas make beautiful touches to your landscape and can be added to your cooking in the way of salads and baked goods. Plant in garden beds, pots of hanging baskets – and then pluck away to garnish your meals.


 

Telling tool tales


When it comes to putting your dreams into action for your yard, you need the right tools for the job. Here are Metropol’s tips for the tools to lead you down the right garden path.

 

 

Gloves, boots, action! Whether it is to protect yourself from contaminated soil, prickly plants, sharp objects or heavy items, pull on those boots and put on those gloves before you get started. Your future self’s unscathed hands and feet will thank you for it!

Dig it: A trusty shovel is a landscaper’s bestie. From trench to planting, a shovel is a landscaping non-negotiable. The tricky part can be choosing the right one; there is handle length, weight, shape and sharpness and size to consider.

Shear the love: Easy to use and intensely satisfying, pruning shears give you the ability to practise your hairdressing skills and keep your garden tidy and healthy at the same time. Multitasking at its finest.

Rake it off: Leave no debris behind with a rake that can help you tidy up those never-ending autumn leaves, as well as load other clippings and cuttings into your trailer or wheelbarrow. A general garden rake can help with weightier waste, or a leaf rake with more delicate debris.


 

Late summer in the garden


As we near February, our gardening philosophies turn to the tail end of summer, and, for some organised green thumbs, even preparing for winter. Here are Metropol’s tips for late summer in the garden.

WATERING
And weeding, mulching and feeding should be top of the topiary to-do list at the moment. Water deeply and regularly with the aide of mulch to hold the moisture in the soil and prevent those pesky weeds from reigning free.

FLOWERING
Pick those flowering roses, dead head old flowers and spray to protect against nasties. It’s also time to start planting early summer bulbs like tulips, daffodils and anemone from now until autumn. Staggering your planting will mean continuous floral displays through spring.

EATING
Filling your fruit bowl and vege drawer each day with the bounty from your edible garden is a tasty way to encourage late fruiting. Don’t stop planting lettuce and herbs, but unless you have a greenhouse you’ll need to give the softer, fleshier vegetables a miss. You can start preparing your winter vege garden, too.


 

Edible summer garden


The cold is (meant to be) behind us, which means in the garden, it’s time to look forward. Look forward to our homegrown fruit and vegetables, that is. From basil to beetroot, lettuce and zucchini – it’s all happening in the fruit and veggie patch this December.

 

 

 

SOW WHAT?
The end of the cold means it’s finally time to sow veges from seed. In particular, basil, beans, beetroot, carrots, corn, cucumbers, lettuce, parsnip, pumpkin, radish and zucchini can all be popped straight into the soil as seeds.

MULCH ADO
All summer gardeners know how important it is to conserve water during these hot months, as we all must do our part. So gardening becomes smarter. Enter mulch, it keeps the soil damp for no-water days.

FLOWER POWER
If you prefer petals over produce, or want to produce something ornamental alongside your edibles, sow seeds of ageratum, cosmos, cyclamen, rudbeckia, salpiglossis, and zinnia. Or, visit your local garden centre for some already-flowering options.
PASSION FOR FRUIT
If you are a Kiwi gardener in possession of a warm, sunny fence – you must consider planting it with passionfruit. It’s also a great time to plant subtropical fruit like natal plums and tamarillos – don’t forget compost and sheep pellets, or to keep well-watered.

CITRUS SEASON
Prepare now for citrus season by planting citrus trees throughout summer. Or, add instant tang to your summer menu by planting an already flowering, large-grade lemon or lime tree. Your 5pm G&T will thank you for it.

BUG OFF
Don’t sacrifice the fruits of your labour by letting the bugs, or poor care, compromise your crops. There’s plenty of organic options for keeping summer slimeys, like caterpillars, or fungus at bay – as well as nets to dissuade birds. Water – and mulch – will prevent fruit drop.


 

Landscape magic: Trellis Warehouse


The warm weather is here, so if you’re looking to improve your outdoor features – trellis is a multi-purpose style hero which can transform your al fresco areas. Here are Metropol’s ideas for using Trellis Warehouse’s premium grade treated pine at your place this summer.

 

PANELS AND GATES
A trellis fence, screen or panel adds a sense of privacy and seclusion while creating a beautiful backdrop for outdoor living. Zoning-off your space is not only practical for separating gardens and perimeters, but it can create a sense of intimacy and atmosphere for entertaining.

ARCHWAYS AND PERGOLAS
Create an elegant entrance way with an archway or pergola. The charm of a gazebo flanked with creeping flora is a celebrated garden feature and is perfect for marking the entrance to a special spot. Talk to the experts at Trellis Warehouse about different styles.

FURNITURE
For 30 years, Trellis Warehouse has been supplying Cantabrians with quality trellis products custom-made onsite at the Addington factory. The team produces everything from trellis panels, picket panels and gates, to archways, summer seats, picnic tables and gazebos.

Contact Trellis Warehouse for a free measure, quote and consultation. Laminated posts and hardware; delivery, painting, staining and installation is available for retail, trade and wholesale customers.

Mondays to Fridays 8am to 4:30pm and Saturdays from 8:30am to 11:30am.
Email info@trelliswarehouse.co.nz.