Home' Central Canterbury News : April 3rd 2013 Contents 17
CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, APRIL 3, 2013
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Enjoy the fruits of your garden
This column is adapted from
the e-newsletter Get Growing
from New Zealand Gardener.To
subscribe to get Growing (it's
free!), visit The NZ Gardener
website at nzgardener.co.nz,
and click on the Get Growing
tab. to subscribe to NZ
Gardener visit mags4gifts.co.nz
or call 0800 MAGS 4 GIFTS.
By LYNDA HALLINAN
WASTE NOT: If you've got too much fruit to eat fresh, preserve it.
Photo: FAIRFAX NZ
SOW PAK CHOI
Sow this versatile Asian green for
autumn and winter picking.
Pak choi, or bok choy, matures
quickly and tastes great steamed,
added to stir-fries or raw in
Sow seeds direct in rows or
simply scatter if you plan to pick
at the baby leaf stage.
Pak choi is super speedy: you
can start picking within 45 days.
There are plenty of varieties to
choose from including the early
maturing Mei Quing Choi'' -- good
for succession sowing and year
round harvests -- Red Choi'', a
variety with red leaves; and Joi
Choi'', which is ideal for colder cli-
As with all brassicas, you need
to provide protection from the cab-
bage butterfly as well as slugs and
There's nothing more aggravat-
ing than finding your precious
seedlings have been eaten.
Don't let late fruit crops of pears,
apples, peaches and quinces go to
If you've got too much fruit to
eat fresh, preserve it.
Go op-shopping for Agee jars --
you can still buy the seals and
screwbands at most supermarkets
-- or buy new jars from homewares
Use small jars (up to 500ml) for
one to two person households or
large one-litre jars for big famil-
ies.Preserve only firm, blemish-free
fruit -- and work in small batches.
It's less daunting.
The easiest way to bottle firm
fruit like pears is to use the over-
flow method -- this doesn't work so
well with soft fruits, such as
plums and apricots, which tend to
turn to mush.
Peel and slice your fruit and
simmer it in a large pot of either
water or a light sugar syrup -- 1
cup sugar to 2 to 3 cups of water.
Have a second pot of syrup on
the boil too.
When the fruit is cooked -- it
should be tender, but still firm --
use a slotted spoon to scoop it into
hot, sterilised glass jars.
Working one jar at a time, pack
the jars full of hot fruit, then fill
right to the top with boiling syrup.
Wipe the rims then screw on the
lids and turn the jars upside down
-- this helps them seal.
To make apple sauce, peel, core
and slice apples and place in a
heavy-based pot with a little
water -- to stop the fruit sticking.
Stir regularly as the flesh
breaks up, then puree with a stick
Bottle the boiling pulp -- there's
no need to add any sugar.
Got early feijoas?
The flesh can be scooped out
and bottled. It's delicious.
Do it now, before you're sick of
the sight of them later on.
To sterilise recycled jars, either
place them in a large pot of boiling
water for at least five minutes,or
heat them in the oven at
100 degrees Celsius -- no hotter or
they can shatter when filled.
If you're short on time, or you
don't have any glass jars at hand,
pick your ripe fruit and simply
pack it into freezer-safe plastic
bags -- you can thaw it out and
stew it later.
ORDER FRUIT TREES
Bareroot deciduous fruit trees
won't be available in garden cen-
tres until June, but garden cen-
tres are placing their orders now --
if they haven't already done so --
so if you want a special or popular
variety, like the apple Monty's
Surprise'' or Damson'' plums for
making jam, now's the time to put
your name down for it.
Taste-test late pears now, too,
to choose the varieties you like
SNIP OFF STRAWBERRY
RUNNERS FOR FREE
Strawberries produce runners
from the crown of the parent plant
in late summer and autumn.
Think of these runners as natu-
ral umbilical cords connected to
baby berry plantlets.
To propagate strawberry plants
for free, simply peg down the run-
ners with wire, or nestle them into
piles of soil so they're in constant
contact with the ground.
They'll grow their own roots, at
which point you can simply snip
off the connecting stem and trans-
Strawberry runners often root
of their own accord -- if you check
your plot now, you could be
pleasantly surprised to find loads
of free rooted plants to share with
friends or use to replenish your
patch at no cost.
Strawberries crop well for up to
four years but they do lose vigour,
so it pays to have new plants com-
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