Hibiscus matters Winter Warmers 2015
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Hibiscusmatters 15 April 2015 | 11
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Planting a seed, watching the seedling grow and harvesting the resulting fruit or vegetables, herbs or flowers to enjoy or eat, may seem like the most natural thing in the world.Yet the need to promote and preserve this very experience is why a group of like-minded people formed the Hibiscus Coast Seed Savers group at Orewa Library last Spring.Founding member of the group, Joan Buchanan, says that not all seeds are created equal and the group formed to nurture important seeds of food plants and also to create a wider interest in preserving heritage seeds.These types of seeds can be relied upon to reproduce their kind, time and time again, as nature intended. Whereas the seed of plants grown from commercially produced seeds (which have F1 on the label) are often disappointingly infertile, or produce a different strain from the parent plant. For members Anna Bindon and Lorraine Male, growing heritage and naturally selected seeds is all about taste as demonstrated by the juicy, firm and bright yellow persimmon tomato Thomas Jefferson that Lorraine picked from her garden and brought to a recent Seed Savers meeting.The flavour is so much better than
Pictured with the fruit (and seeds) of their labours are Orewa seed savers, from left, Lorraine Male, Anna Bindon, Joan Buchanan, Mike Hayles and Rennie Carter.
On a mission to save our seed supplies
anything you can buy, she says. This one tomato will provide enough seed for everyone to have some.Not all members of the Seed Savers are gardeners. For Mike Hayles it was a process of re-learning how to grow things, and with only the balcony outside his apartment to garden on, it was a challenge he took up with relish.Ten litre buckets proved to be the answer for growing great crops, combined with trial and error and patience.Seed saving has become a strong
movement around the world in an attempt to preserve varieties of plants that are not grown commercially.Groups like the one in Orewa share seeds and grow the plants, then distribute the seeds that they harvest to an even wider group.Member Rennie Carter says seed saving is also about neighbourliness.She takes care of her neighbours garden, shares seeds with her and composts her scraps.The Seed Savers group meets on the
third Wednesday of every month, 10.30am at Orewa Library and members make seeds available to the public for a gold-coin donation from 12noon1pm after each meeting. People who purchase seeds are asked to return some after growing the plants. The process should be a perfect and natural circle, Joan says.
Seeds to save now Autumn is a key time to harvest seed. All seed to be saved needs to be dated, and, if damp, laid out on clean paper towels and thoroughly dried before storing. Save from the biggest and best plants with the nicest looking produce. To make sure that birds dont harvest before you, when plants start to go to seed, protect the seed heads by tying a brown paper bag over them. This also stops natural seed loss as the heads open and release the seed, it will be contained in the bag. Seeds ready for harvest now include: basil, beans, beetroot (seed of this plant is collected in the second year of growth), borage, calendula, celery, chilli, chives, coriander, cress, cucumber, dill, eggplant (aubergine), fennel, spring onions, parsley, peas, pumpkin, radish, shallots, tomatoes, watercress, zucchini.
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Peninsula Mowers & HeatingHal and Gail Meier were looking for a new challenge and when they bought Peninsula Mowers & Heating in Whangaparaoa three months ago, they got even more than they had hoped for.The business has been on the Coast for around 30 years, with the previous owner in charge for a decade. Buying into such a well-established business meant that Hal has barely had time for a tea break since he and Gail took over.Peninsula Mowers & Heating sells and services a wide range of mowers mainly Husqvarna but also other well-known brands. They also sell and service other garden power equipment such as weedeaters and chainsaws, which, as Hal knows from experience, can be temperamental.Hal was previously a lawn mowing contractor and a customer at Peninsula Mowers & Heating, buying spare parts to repair his equipment.His expertise in repairs sees him help out Barry Schultz in the workshop whenever he can.Gail will soon be joining the business full time to take on the administration and reception duties. The couple, who live in Stanmore Bay, will combine running the business with care of their two preschoolers.The other side of the business is selling fires Hal says the link that often occurs between mowing and heating businesses arose because Masport
made both mowers and heaters of course it also keeps the business going through all four seasons.Peninsula Mowers & Heating provides a full service from obtaining Council permits to arranging installation of the fire by a registered installer. All you have to do is choose a fire and we can do the rest, Hal says.Free standing wood burners are a big seller, as well as fires than can be fitted into an old open fireplace, or inbuilt flush with the wall.Peninsula Mowers & Heatings top selling brands are Masport, Metro and Firenzo as well as Rinnai gas fires, however any brand and model can be sourced. All the fires comply with current emission standards and are efficient, producing less smoke and ash.Over time the couple plan to refurbish the premises at 611 Whangaparaoa Rd, but keeping customers happy is their first priority, and they expect this will keep them busy for the foreseeable future.
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Ready for a cool changeNot everyone enjoys autumn, particularly the damp squib that we have in Auckland compared with the fireworks provided by deciduous trees in colder parts.For many Coasties, autumn is just the bad news that summer really is over. For gardeners, its the planting season when plans get put into action and changes can be made to the structure and look of the plot, however large or small it may be. Its the ideal time to sow new lawns and plant, or re-locate, trees and shrubs.Before I do any of that, though, the soil needs attention. The dry