30th April 2021
I found a great bag of green manure seeds in the gardening section of Mitre 10 a few weeks ago. It is a mixture of Oats, Lupins and Mustard. I often mention, that if you are sowing Lupins or Mustard seeds over winter, you should always mix Oats in with them, because Lupins and Mustard don't form assotiations with beneficial Mycorrhizal fungi. As a result the fungi will die off because they rely on being fed sugars from the plants that they are connected to. The Oats provide bulk and feed the fungi, the Lupins provide Nitrogen from their root nodules and the Mustard helps to reduce fungus diseases such as Potato stem rot and blight – all in all a great mix!
For those planning to buy seeds and have saved seeds from last season need to know weather their seeds are still viable – so here is a poem that trainee gardeners used to learn in the old days (adapted for New Zealand).
The Life of Seeds
You have in your drawer since Lammas Day,
All the seed packets you daren’t throw away,
Seed Catalogue cometh as year it doth end,
But look in ye drawer before money you spend.
Throw out ye Parsnip, ‘tis no good next year,
And Scorzonera if there’s any there,
For these have a life that is gone with ye wynde
Unlike all ye seeds of ye cabbagy kinde.
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sprouts, Corn Salad, Cabbage and Kale,
Live long like a farmer who knoweth good ale:
Three years for certain, maybe five or four,
To sow in their seasons they stay in ye drawer.
Kohl-Rabi lasts with them and so does Pei-Tsai,
The winter ‘cos-lettuce’ to sow in February,
But short is the life of ye Turnips, Peppers and Swedes
Sow next year only, enough for your needs.
Mustard and Cress for when salads come round,
Sows for three seasons so buy half a pound,
Radish lasts four years, both round ones and long,
Sown thinly and often they’re never too strong.
Last year’s left Lettuce sows three summers more,
And Beetroot and Spinach-beet easily four,
But ordinary Spinach, both prickly and round,
Hath one summer left before gaps waste ye ground.
Leeks sow three Novembers and one hath gone past,
And this is as long as ye Carrot will last,
Onion and Tomatoes keep four years till they go west,
But remember to feed onions to get of their best.
Store Marrows and Cucumbers, best when they’re old,
Full seven summers’ sowings a packet can hold.
Six hath ye Celery that needs a frost to give taste,
So hath Celeriac before it doth waste.
Broad Beans, Dwarf ones, Runners, sown in spring,
Each hath one sowing left before you give them a fling,
Sweet Corn, all Peas, fast ones and slow,
Parsley and Salsify have one more spring to sow.
Then fillen ye form that your seedman doth send,
For novelties plenty, there’s money to spend,
Good seed and good horses are worth the expense,
So pay them your dollars as I paid my cents.