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No. 20 (November 1957)
– 56 –


Horticulturist, Department of Maori Affairs Tauranga

If the home gardener is to be a successful grower and produce a reasonable crop for the time, energy, and cost, involved it is necessary to prepare the land some time before planting. Digging may be carried out by two methods:


By digging one spit deep.


By trenching.

If trenching is to be the method adopted, then the top-soil is removed one spit deep and the sub-soil turned over by the use of an ordinary garden fork. The next operation is to take a further spit of the top-soil, placing it on top of the loosened sub-soil. If any well decayed vegetable matter, compost or animal manure is available, a light dressing could be applied, and incorporated in the sub-soil. The above method is then repeated until the whole area intended to be cultivated is completed, then the first spit of soil removed is transferred and placed in the last trench made.

Heavy clay soils are responsive to the above method of cultivation with which the writer has had much practical experience. I have found that the effects lasting for many years after the initial operation, have amply rewarded the extra work, especially in the production of root crops.

When preparing land for the growing of vegetables, it is always necessary to have at least six or seven inches of top-soil well worked. The area should contain above all, a high organic content, being of course an ample quantity of humus, which performs two essential functions: the improvement of the physical structure, making the soil retentive of moisture, and the conservation of plant food and elements which are otherwise lost through leaching, especially in high rainfall areas.

General work for this time of the year, is the sowing of practically all types of vegetable seeds, and the earthing up of early potatoes should be attended to periodically. If main crop varieties of potatoes are being planted remember to fertilize with a well balanced and prepared manure, containing potash. At this time of the year slugs and snails, are very destructive and often give the home gardener much concern. Various preparations for these destructive pests are easily available from local horticultural suppliers and are very efficient if applied early.


According to the type of soil, it is not always possible to adhere to a rigid rule in respect to the sowing of vegetable seeds, but in most home gardens, which have been cultivated for some time and where ample protection is provided, it is assumed that in light soil seeds can be fairly safely sown at a greater depth than in heavier soil. Generally the following depths should give a fairly even germination: peas 1 ½-2 inches; beetroot ½ inch; carrots ¼ inch; parsnips ½ inch; celery ¼ inch; onions ½ inch; beans ½ inches; potatoes, early planting 3 inches, main crop 4 inches, pumpkins, squash, etc. 1 ½-2 inches.


If possible, it is usually a practice to transplant during the evening, taking much care to avoid injury to the young and tender roots. Do not allow air or sunlight to dry the plants extensively. Always firm the soil after planting, and if necessary provide shade for two or three days, if the weather is hot or dry.


The main work in the orchard at this time of the year, is the spraying and protection of the young fruit, which is rapidly developing. With passionfruit for instance, it is necessary to spray at least once a month with bordeaux mixture for brown spot, which is easily discernible on the leaves. The same spray should be applied to all varieties of lemons for the control of verrucosis and wither tip. This spray should be repeated again in twenty-one days, if satisfactory control is to be obtained.

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The Department of Maori Affairs has published a second edition of the pamphlet. “Some Educational Facilities for Maori People”. This pamphlet gives up-to-date information on just what financial assistance is available to Maoris in the way of scholarships, trusts, grants, etc., to help them further their education.

The pamphlet discusses career openings for Maoris and accommodation for those who must move from their homes to the centres to take up suitable jobs.

Copies of this pamphlet may be had by applying to the editor, Te Ao Hou, Department of Maori Affairs, P.O. Box 2390, Wellington.

Supplies of the pamphlets as well as being available to individuals and organisations are available for free distribution at huis. Anyone sponsoring or attending a hui who would like a supply of the pamphlets to distribute is invited to write in for a quantity.