To sow this month (direct or in trays): broad beans, broccoli, cauliflower, peas, rocket, onions, lettuce, silverbeet, perpetual spinach
To plant from seedlings this month: asparagus, asian greens, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, lettuce, onions, spinach, silverbeet
It’s mid winter now and it’s cooooold! Anything planted now isn’t going visibly grow much, but keep on planting if you can. Once spring comes you’ll be glad you did.
Start sowing peas and broad bean seeds if you haven’t done so already.
They’ll slowly establish their roots now and then as the weather warms up and the flowers appear, the bees will come and pollinate the flowers.
If your soil is simply too frozen, try sowing in pots instead.
Fruit Trees + Fruit Tree Guilds
If you’re keen on the idea of homegrown fruit, it’s a great time to get some fruit trees planted.
Consider planting beneficial plants underneath your fruit trees. This is called a tree guild: a collection of plants that work alongside the tree. They protect and feed soil, deter pests, encourage beneficial insects plus more.
Comfrey for example, its leaves provide mulch when their old leaves drop off. Comfrey leaves are packed with nutrients as comfrey’s long tap roots bring up nutrients from deep in the soil and into their leaves. As the leaves break down around the tree, the tree will receive these nutrients.
There is a Russian variety called called ‘bocking 14’ that only multiplies via root division, so if you’re worried about comfrey self seeding everywhere, try this one.
Nitrogen fixers such as lupins and crimson clover will improve the soil. Herbs such as sage and oregano will help repel pests, provide a ground cover and will help attract beneficial insects when they flower.
It’s nearly that time to talk potatoes.
You can start chitting them late this month if you want an early crop. It takes about 6 weeks to grow decent long chits.
Place them in a single layer in a cool light place, but not in any direct sunlight. Once the sprouts have long and strong shoots, keep the strongest 3-4 shoots and rub off the rest. Then they can be planted out in spring and covered with frost cloth until the risk of frost has passed.
It’s time to plant strawberries! They can be planted all the way up to spring but planting them sooner rather than later will ensure larger roots grow and a strong plant means more strawberries! Read more on growing strawberries here.
What’s going on in your winter wonderland?