Kapiti Observer : January 5th 2012
10 THURSDAY, JANUARY 5, 2012 4221740AC Happy new year! by Hannah Zwartz Happy New Year! Its ironic that now, when many people finally have time off work to garden, its not the best time to plant or weed. If you got busy planting in spring, youll be reaping the rewards now. If not, theres still time to plant late beans and zucchini, and leeks for winter harvest also need to go in soon. Warmer weather also brings insect infestations. The secret here is vigilance- also known as an evening stroll in the garden. A few aphids, caterpillars or shield bugs can easily be squashed by hand or washed off by hose before they reach plague proportions. Using sprays, even organic ones, creates a vicious escalating cycle as it kills the pests predators as well. The gardens with least pests are those with plenty of flowers especially small ones like yar- row, alyssum, daisies, hebes or Queen Annes lace (as well as carrots, parsley and brassicas that have gone to seed). Hoverflies, parasitic wasps and lacewings, whose larvae feed on aphids and caterpillars, have tiny mouthparts, so small- flowered plants help attract them to your garden. Summer in the Garden Water on Weekdays: Help keep your rates down, and protect the community water supply, by reducing peak water demand on weekends. Mulch everywhere to keep weeds away and stop plant roots from drying out. Mulch on top of wet soil. Soak hoses laid under mulch get water where its needed, to roots. Summer prune: Take the tips out of fig trees, and cut grape vines back to just a leaf or two beyond the last bunch of fruit. Cut back excessive leafy growth on fruit trees. Berries and fruits may need protection from birds. Use netting, or try hanging up old CDs (or Christmas decorations). Lettuce and salad greens need shade at this time of year, if theyre not to dry out and bolt. Pile up grass and weeds for compost. Water, and cover it to keep it damp. Even if you never get around to turning it, youll have some ready for next spring. Plant out: Zucchini, beans, corn, lettuce, silver beet, beetroot, pumpkin, squash, red onions, leeks (for winter), basil and other herbs. Sow seeds: Brassicas for planting out in March, salad greens, carrots, beetroot, radish, beans, silver beet, zinnia, sunflowers. Free or low cost ideas on making your home warmer, drier and healthier. Information on subsidies available . FREE Independent advice. Call the Eco Design Advisor Outdoor tap dripping? FREE replacement fitting of rubber washers with the Green Plumber. Green Gardener offers sustainable and waterwise gardening advice to local residents, community groups and schools. To contact the Eco Design Advisor, Green Gardener or the Green Plumber call the Council on 04 296 4700 or 0800 486 486. Tune into to Beach FM every Friday morning (9.30am-10.00am) to hear some easy and useful better living tips from the Green Gardener, Green Plumber, Eco-design Advisor and more. Use flowers, instead of poisonous sprays, to manage insect pests in your garden. Turning cast-offs into treasures By JOSEPH ROMANOS Shopping sisters: Heather Blishen, left, and Margaret Mitchell catch up on a spot of bargain-hunting. Happy at work: Second Treasures staff Yvonne Mate, left, Donna Sherlock and Maree Ashcroft find another use for compost bags. It s not everyone who gets to say they love their job at the tip. Donna Sherlock is one. Ms Sherlock is a Wellington City Council employee and her official title is waste minimisation and education manager. She manages Second Treasures, the second-hand shop at the Wel- lington Southern Landfill, off Happy Valley Rd. The shop, though unknown to many, is a flourishing business with a regular and growing clien- tele. It has an annual turnover of $320,000. It has been at its site for four years, after being just down the road for the previous five. Second Treasures sells all man- ner of goods, from old tennis rack- ets to art, electrical goods to handbags. Ms Sherlock said it did sound a little odd, saying you re off to work at the tip. You have to say it with a smile, she said. I know it sounds funny, but we re very happy here. There can be a downside -- the smell. Most of the time it s fine, but in certain weather conditions, well... She said books, especially fic- tion, were always among the best sellers. Building and renovation materials go well, too -- tiles, doors, windows, knick-knacks, carpet . . . thingstodoupahouse cheaply. The shop has an extraordinarily fast turnover. Most things don t last longer than half a day. Ms Sherlock said one problem for the shop was to ensure all goods it accepted were in good order. Sometimes we re that busy, we don t notice when broken goods are dropped off. One of our big expenses is tipping fees, actually. Everything we can t use has to go up to the tip, over the weight bridge. It works both ways, though. We also get donations from the transfer station. Stuff that s been thrown away, but is too good to waste. We get about a vanload a day. She said bicycles, which sold for about $30 if in reasonable con- dition, were among the most expensive items. Chairs went for about $2. One of the advantages of the shop is that it cuts down on the amount of material going to the landfill, and therefore stretches the landfill s life. It is surprising how many customers visit Second Treasures. Some customers come three times a day. We have regulars who come every week, and you would be surprised how far afield they come from. Just recently, we ve had visitors from Napier, Normandale, Paekakariki, Para- paraumu, Taita, Whitby and Waikanae. Second Treasures is just one of several highly successful such shops in the Wellington region. Others include Trash Palace (big- ger than the Wellington shop, and more established) at the Spicer Landfill in Porirua, Earthlink in Goodshed Rd, Upper Hutt, and the Otaihanga facility at the Para- paraumu landfill. Ms Sherlock said the weather tended to dictate shopper numbers, that on a good day in summer 1000 people could visit the recycling area and shop. On an average Sunday we make 200 sales and our average sale is $7. It s quieter in winter and in bad weather. Second Treasures employs five permanent staff and three casuals. Who shops at Second Treasures? Mostly it s an upgrade situ- ation or people moving. Some- times people want to get rid of stuff they never liked. We also get a lot of professional traders in here -- people who pick up stuff continually. And some people simply enjoy trading. We have a young couple who get stuff here and hock it off. Sisters Heather Blishen and Margaret Mitchell are regular visitors. Ms Mitchell, from Kingston, said the shop was wonderful. We come here three or four times a week. It s always clean. I pick up things and send them to an op shop in Whakatane, where a friend works. Ms Blishen said she enjoyed searching for good books. There are lovely people up here. We haven t met one we didn t like. Second Treasures has intro- duced some recent innovations. It now employs an electrician, Ray Manuel and has ventured into the compost market. Before Ray came on board, we had to cut the plugs off electrical goods, to reduce the liability. It s been great having him. And we re now selling compost. It s made on site from green waste. It sells like hot cakes. Second Treasures is open every day except public holidays. From Monday to Saturday it is open from 8.30am till 4.30pm, and on Sundays from 9am till 4.30pm.
December 29th 2011
January 9th 2012