Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa Go to Te Ao Hou homepage
No. 32 (September 1960)
– 57 –

THE HOME GARDEN

Today it is desirable that the Maori be given every assistance to grow his own household vegetables. With that object in mind, I propose to deal with the cultivation of two or three types of vegetables that will not only give the people garden-fresh vegetables at a very low cost, but will, I hope, be of immense value as far as their diet is concerned.

TOMATOES

Many varieties of Tomatoes are available from your local nursery, either staked or dwarf, but I favour the dwarf kind especially in the Bay of Plenty, where on the whole, soil conditions are light. Up to 15lb of fruit per plant can be obtained, if attention and care are given. The following varieties are recommended:

  • Australian Dwarf.

  • Australian Large Red.

  • Tatinta.

The Tomato can be used raw, cooked, bottled, or for sauce. It is acceptable to both children and adults alike, being very nourishing. One thing must be remembered, the tomato is a warmth-loving plant requiring all the sunshine that is available, and on no account plant until all risk of frost has gone.

About the end of October or early November, plant out about 25 plants. This should be sufficient for the average home. Plant in rows 3 feet apart, allowing at least 4 feet between the rows. About 3oz. of bonedust to the square yard should be well worked into the soil before planting.

In a few weeks, after setting out the plants, they would have started to make rapid growth and at this time of the year diseases are likely to make their appearance, especially blight. Powdered Bordeaux should be used as a spray at a strength of 4oz. in 5 gallons of water. This should be applied every 14 days, and during December Arsenate of Lead should be added, allowing 2½oz. for 5 gallons of water, for the control of caterpillar.

On no account water tomato plants, as the application of water other than the normal rains experienced tends to create humid conditions in which blight is able to attack and ultimately destroy the plants. Good cultivation is the answer to success. Keep the hoe going all the time, eliminating weed growth, and also estabilshing what is generally called a dust mulch with the object of conserving ample moistures to supply the Tomatoes during the hot dry weather.

ONIONS

The best onion soil is a deep rich loam of a somewhat sandy nature in which is worked ample quantities of lime and bonedust. The onion will succeed year after year in the same piece of land, especially if the soil is well prepared at the begining. First of all, the ground must be well drained and deeply dug. It must be kept reasonably moist and the crop weeded and cultivated regularly.

At planting time, stretch a line where the rows are to be planted. These should be about fifteen inches apart. In the actual work of transplanting, care must be taken to insert only the roots in the soil. To bury any portion of the stem results in thick necks and delayed ripening. Should the plants not stand upright, this will not matter. They will do so in a few days. When onions are thoroughly ripened, pull and store in an airy shed for winter use. 1,000 plants should be ample for all needs.

PEAS

During the summer peas are always welcome at the dinner table. They are easy to grow and no garden should be without a small patch of peas. First of all, dig the soil deeply, incorporating plenty of decayed vegetation or compost. Then, broadcast and rake into the surface bonedust or superphosphate at the rate of 2 ozs. to the square yard. Draw out with the hoe a trench 2 inches deep and 5 inches wide.

Scatter the seed about 1 inch apart along the trench and then cover and level the soil. Never use nitrogenous fertilisers, such as blood and bone, dried blood or nitrate of soda on land that is intended for peas as this vegetable is a legume and does not flourish in soil that has a high nitrogeneous content.

To keep up a continuous supply during the summer months, make three plantings at intervals of about 3 weeks. Good varieties for early sowings are Blue Bantam, William Massey and Early Crop.

RHUBARB

This will suceed in any fairly good soil if deeply worked and well manured. The ground should be trenched at least to a depth of 18 inches to 2 feet and then plenty of farm yard or fowl manure incorporated. The best plan is to purchase roots, about 25 will provide sufficient for the average family.

Once planted they can stay in the same place for years. Thus, it must be understood that an ample supply of manure should be thoroughly.

– 58 –

applied at planting time. When establishing the root, place it in an upright position; fill in the soil, taking care to press it firmly around the root; cover the crown with about 3 inches of soil, putting each root about three feet apart in the row.

One practice that must be remembered is that the soil must be kept loose and free of weeds. Do not pull stalks the first year, but during the summer months give an occasional watering with liquid manure, either pig, sheep, cow, or fowl will do. Once a year give a good dressing of stabel manure and then fork the soil over between the plants.

Good varieties suitable for planting are Myatts Victoria for summer and Topps Winter for winter use. Planting can take place either in autumn or spring.