What to do in the garden this weekend – Stuff.co.nz


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Harvest these five herbs to ease seasonal illnesses and add flavour to warming winter recipes.Brew a cup of herbal tea If you planned ahead and dried herbs last summer, now is the time to use them to ward off the symptoms of winter ailments. Chop dried herbs so they’re a similar size to the smallest leaf in the mix so they steep evenly. Explore your garden for fresh herbs too – rosemary, oregano, thyme and more can be picked throughout winter. Strictly speaking, all herbal teas are tisanes – that is, fresh or dried herbs (or bark, roots, berries, seeds or spices) steeped in boiling water and used as a beverage often for medicinal effect. Unlike tea, tisanes don’t contain caffeine.PIXABAYPeppermint tea soothes the symptoms of winter ailments. For a winter boost infuse the mixtures below in 2 cups of boiling water for 3-5 minutes before drinking. Optional: add 2 teaspoons of dried echinacea to the fresh or dried herbs in either recipe. This simple winter tea helps the blood flow and boosts the immune system. Fresh herbs: 1 sprig rosemary, 2 sprigs lemon verbena, 3 sprigs thyme, 1-2 kawakawa leaves Dried herbs: 1 tablespoon each of lemon verbena, thyme and kawakawa plus 1 teaspoon rosemary. Pick-me-up tea helps clear the chest and reduces postnasal drip. Fresh herbs: 2 sprigs peppermint, 3-4 sprigs lemon balm, 1 liquorice root teabag (Make sure the bought tea contains liquorice root and isn’t just “liquorice flavoured”.) Dried herbs: 1 tablespoon of each ingredient above. READ MORE: Does she have every gardener's dream job? How to make a basket plant stand for your favourite houseplant How to take better bird photos: Practical tips from a professional photographer KERRY CARMAN / NZ GARDENER/StuffDahlia wylde green. Winter dahlia care How to look after dahlias over winter depends on where you live, how old the tubers are and what else you want to do with the garden space. If your soil freezes or gets sodden over winter, it’s recommended to lift the tubers so they don’t rot. Otherwise, you can leave them where they are for a couple of years.BARBARA SMITH / GET GROWING/StuffDecreasing day length in autumn triggers dahlias to store energy in underground tubers which lie dormant over winter ready to grow again next spring. If you want to move them or grow something else in the space, you can lift them when the foliage dies down. Gently dig them out of the ground with a strong garden fork, brush off the soil and let them dry off. Trim off the stems and any fine roots. Place in shallow trays of dry potting mix or sand that covers the tubers, but leaves the crown exposed. Label well with the colour, height and variety name. Store in a cool, dry place and replant in spring.PIXABAYAvoid compacting garden soil. Don’t dig when the soil is wet and stand on a plank to spread your weight over a larger area. If it rains, stay out of your garden Great soil is what’s called friable, or nice and crumbly if you rub it between your fingers. Friable soil contains air (enough to allow water to pass through, but not so much that organic matter is washed straight away). But walking on, or digging over, wet soil squeezes the air out and causes soil compaction it can take years to recover from. If you need to walk across your vege beds in order to harvest, lay down planks to walk along, to minimise the potential compaction.
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