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Tim's guide to maximising your vege and berry harvest

Tim's guide to maximising your vege and berry harvest

Tim's guide to maximising your vege and berry harvest

You’ve done the hard work, having planted your veges and berries for the season. You may have fruit trees as well that need extra care and attention this time of year. To help maximise your crop’s growth so you can enjoy the tasty rewards of your hard work, here’s some tips from Tim Mounsey, Fruitfed Supplies Technical Horticultural Representative.

For plant growth, Tim says nothing beats a foliar fertiliser. Spray it regularly for optimum results especially if you planted in early October. As this spring has seen variable weather, with some days hot and others cold, plants can come under stress, so a foliar fertiliser helps a plant manage these environmental stresses.

For a foliar fertiliser, Tui’s Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic strengthens a plant’s ability to tolerate temperature extremes while also supporting healthy plant growth and fruit and flower production.

At this time of year take a minute to think about what’s been happening with the weather as you could fall victim to overwatering your plants. For transplanted seedlings, overwatering can result in rotting. Check the soil – is it dry or moist? Then decide if you need to water.

Though we’re heading to summer, we’re not quite there yet and neither is the weather! As fruit trees are often now in the flowering and fruit set stage, be aware of the damage a hardy frost can cause. Tim suggests, that if your trees are small enough, place frost cloth over them. The same cloth can double as bird protection later in the season when placed over your berry patch as the fruit begins to ripen and change colour.

For cloth that acts as both frost and bird protection, head to our online store to purchase Micronet Knitted Fabric

Looking for product recommendations to control insect pests and diseases? Here Tim’s knowledge and experience prove invaluable. For apples, black spot is a disease that can disfigure the fruit. As the disease becomes visible only after it has done significant damage to the tree, Tim says prevention is key. This means spraying the tree regularly to ensure new leaf growth is protected.

For a BioGro® Certified Organic product to control blackspot on apple trees as well as powdery mildew and rust found on fruit trees and vegetables, shop at our store online for Kiwicare’s Organic Super Sulphur

To help prevent leaf curl and other fungal and bacterial diseases on fruit trees and vegetables, Tim recommends using a copper fungicide. He says to think ahead and commence spraying from autumn to reduce the chances of a disease affecting your fruit and vegetables the following spring.

Try Kiwicare’s Plant Health Copper Fungicide Liquid Concentrate, as it has no withholding period and will control fungal and bacterial diseases on fruits and vegetables including leaf curl, leaf spot, downy mildew, bacterial blight and bacterial blast. 

Another Kiwicare product is Organic Super Spraying Oil Concentrate. With no withholding period, it can be sprayed right up until harvest to control insect pests and diseases found on fruit trees and citrus including aphids, mites, scale insects, thrips, mealybugs, whitefly and passion vine hopper. 

Tim says common pests found in Kiwi vege patches are slugs and snails, whom you might notice in wet/damp conditions when they are their most active. For maximum protection, Tim recommends placing bait around the veges or strawberry patch straight after planting.

To protect your vege’s try Tui’s Garden Galore Quash Slug and Snail Stoppa.

Watch out for white butterflies infesting your brassica vegetables. Tim says they lay their eggs on brassica leaves, with the caterpillars then hatching and feeding on the leaves. By doing so the caterpillars have the potential to cause lots of damage, so take action as soon as the caterpillar’s hatch.

Tim recommends BioGro® Certified Organic product Organic Caterpillar Bio Control from Kiwicare which will kill caterpillars on fruit and vegetables without harming plants or beneficial insects. 

Growing crops in a greenhouse? Tim says to be observant and take a proactive approach as pests will multiply quicker as a greenhouse is a warmer environment. Use a preventative product to ensure you don’t get a bad infestation. Tim also emphasises the importance of keeping the vents and greenhouse door open for improved air circulation, allowing the greenhouse to keep as dry as possible.

To view more products, simply visit PGG Wrightson's gardening section to shop online.