Summer in the Garden- January to do List

Summer in the Garden- January to do List

Happy new year!

I hope last year was a good one for you and that the new year brings lots of great things. I’ve personally had a fantastic 2017 and am so grateful to all my readers and your support over the last year. Thank you. ❤️

To sow this month: carrots, beetroot, fennel, cucumbers, lettuce, early turnips, corn, silverbeet, zucchini, beans

To plant from punnets: tomatoes, eggplant, chilis, lettuces, fennel 

This month you will be kept busy with a lot of harvesting. Beans, zucchinis, cucumbers, chilis and tomatoes will be appearing quickly and it is a good idea to harvest them as you see them to let the plant put energy into producing more new flowers and more produce.

Sow in the gaps

As you are harvesting, don’t forget to resow in the empty spaces! It can be easy to get caught up in picking produce now and not thinking about the future months. I direct sow lettuce, zucchini, beans and radishes constantly to ensure a continuous amount of produce. In the cooler areas, down south, you can start sowing early varieties of turnips now too. Baby turnips don’t take long to grow and you’ll have something new for your salads!

Prepare beds for leeks and brassicas

Next month is when I will start sowing my brassicas (Broccoli, Cauliflowers, Brussel sprouts, Swedes…etc) and leeks to give them a good start before it gets colder. I use this month to prepare the spaces where they will go. Brassicas especially are heavy feeders so pile on a good amount of compost and aged manure.

Remember crop rotation. If in the previous season you had planted brassicas in a certain place, don’t plant them there again the following season. This will deplete the soil of nutrients and if there are brassica diseases present, they will infect the next crop too.

Check for bugs and diseases

The tomato/potato psyllid is out now and can wreak havoc on your toms and spuds! Know what to check for if you think you may have this bug. Kath Irvine from the Edible Backyard has a great article here.

Potato psyllid damage

Blight, particularly on tomatoes is another problem. Telltale signs are black spots and rings on the leaves, fruit may start to rot and the leaves turn yellow and drop off. Once your plants have blight you should destroy the plants (not compost as the fungal spores can survive) and make sure not to plant the same plant there again for a few years. Blossom end rot is a problem often confused with blight. The bottom end of the fruit (where the blossom is) rots. This usually caused by erratic watering or sometimes a too acidic soil. Unlike blight, this isn’t a plant disease.

You can avoid blight by keeping your tomatoes well staked and trimmed to allow better air circulation. A spray of 1 tsp baking soda per litre of water is effective too, at the first sign of blight or as a precautionary measure. This spray also works well for powdery mildew, another fungal disease that can affect many plants but is common on squash and pumpkin plants. Signs of this are a white powdery looking dusting on top of the leaves.

Net your fruit

Stone fruits, apples and pears are ready or very close to being ready and the birds are just waiting patiently to attack. Net your trees and berry bushes now to avoid your trees being stripped bare. It is amazing how fast birds can work. On Facebook, I read a post a lady wrote about someone stealing all her cherries from the tree one day. Turns out it wasn’t a sticky-handed thief, just hungry birds. Not one cherry was left!

Liquid fertilise

Keep on top of liquid feeding! A bi-weekly or weekly dose of a good liquid fertiliser will have your vegetables thanking you. Try some homemade ones here.

Preserve your excess

Jams, chutneys, dehydrating, freezing… After you have had your share of fresh, given away to friends and families, preserve your leftovers so you have some for the winter! My larder is filling up quickly with different fruits I have collected. To preserve mine I use this simple bottling method here.

What’s your favourite thing to do with your fruit gluts?

Happy gardening!

Summer in the Garden- December to do List

Summer in the Garden- December to do List

Sow this month: Radishes, Beetroot, Carrot, Spring Onion, Corn, Zucchini, Cucumber, Lettuce, Silverbeet

Plant from Seedlings: Chillis, Capsicum, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Cucumbers

We really are on the way to a record-breaking hot summer! Water restrictions in Wellington have already been implemented and I don’t know the last time I saw a rain icon on my weather report.

You may need to reduce your watering as per request from the local council, but unfortunately, your plants don’t take this request lightly! They need water, especially when it is this hot so it is your job to do all that you can do give it to them in the best, most efficient way possible that is within the water-use rules.

Keeping your soil moist

Keep that mulch piled on! This will help keep the soil damp for the days you can’t water.

You can also add in Debco Saturaid which is a natural soil wetter. It’s made from coconut fibre and helps to draw the water down to the plant’s roots. It will help avoid runoff too which is crucial in hard, dry clay soils where so much water can be wasted!

For a thirsty plant, dig a small container of some sort (that has holes in the bottom), into the soil next to the plant’s roots. Now when you water, the water will go straight to the plant’s roots and avoids water wastage. This also helps plants like tomatoes and zucchini that don’t like their leaves getting wet, as this can spread diseases. 

Vegetables Care

Certain things will be ready to harvest now.  If you have some beans, cucumbers, tomatoes or zucchini ready, pick them to encourage the plant to produce more flowers.

Take extra care of your tomatoes. Pinch off the laterals to ensure good airflow and encourage the plant to produce more flowers instead of leaf. Keep a close eye on them to watch for any diseases or pests.

Keep on sowing lettuce, radish, carrots, beets, and spring onion your summer salads. Keep in mind that if you are direct sowing, you have to keep the seeds moist or they won’t germinate. Covering the seeds with a sheet of damp newspaper or a thin layer of mulch can help. Make sure that if you are using newspaper, you remove it once the seedlings emerge from the soil.

Liquid Feed

Keep up the liquid feeding, about every two weeks to encourage healthy growth. Tomato liquid feed (Homemade or store-bought)  is suitable for all plants where you are harvesting the fruit, not the leaves.  A seaweed fertiliser or a weedy tea is a great general liquid feed suitable for all vegetables and fruit. A manure based liquid feed is good for all your leafy greens.

Make them all here

Flowers

Remove the dead heads from your spring flowers so they put their energy into the next growth spurt. Sow annual flowers in any bare spaces you have. Keep attracting those beneficial bees and bugs to create a healthy ecosystem in your garden.

Compost

It’s hot, so your compost will be breaking down faster than usual. Keep topping it up with layers of greens and browns (nitrogen and carbon) and add the odd small stick to help with aeration.

If your compost is full, start a new pile. Cover the old pile with a burlap sack or tarpaulin and let it sit and break down over summer and autumn, ready to be added to your garden beds next winter.

Enjoy yourself

This gorgeous but scorching weather means gardening in the middle of the day is impossible! So, enjoy slow relaxing evenings with a beer in hand, where it’s perfectly acceptable to garden until 9 pm!

Happy Gardening

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