It’s nearly Labour weekend when most of New Zealand will go out and plant the majority of their seedlings. The chance of a late frost will have passed and the weather will be warming up. For cooler areas down South, waiting a little longer to plant can be a good idea.
Seeds to sow: broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot, carrot, lettuce, spinach.
Seeds to sow after Labour weekend: Beans, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, pumpkins, melons, tomatoes, corn
Plant from punnets after Labour weekend: Eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, cucumber, chilli, tomatoes
Potatoes planted in the last two months will be showing their big leafy tops and they’ll need soil or mulch mounded around them. This will keep their long stalks from breaking in the wind and will stop the sun from shining through and turning your potatoes green.
Prepare beds for heavy feeders
Corn and pumpkin are two prime examples of heavy feeders. They need extra compost and manure in their beds to get them to grow big and tasty. You can use this month to prep those beds extra well, before direct sowing the seeds at the end of the month.
Work in things like well-rotted manure or sheep pellets, chopped up, washed seaweed, compost and worm castings. Cover the bed with mulch and let the worms and microbes have a feast until it’s time for planting.
As the weather is warming up, did you notice your broad beans are finally carrying little beans? We have the bees to thank for that.
We are heading to the months where pollination is vital for our fresh produce. Let’s get those bees in our garden by planting flowers wherever we can! Borage, lavender, poppies, lupins, sunflowers… these are all flowers bees love.
Feed your berries
Homegrown berries are hard to beat. You can feed your blueberries, boysenberries, raspberries, gooseberries and strawberries with Strawberry Food to ensure a bumper crop. Keep the soil for the berries consistently moist but don’t over water.
Fill your gaps (and your plate)
Direct sow baby carrots, lettuce and radishes anywhere you have gaps. They’ll grow quickly and you can have fresh salads while you wait for your main summer crops to grow.
Slugs and snails
Keep on top of slugs and snails before they demolish your seedlings! You can use bait or a trap, like this beer trap. Fill it with beer and the slugs and snails will climb in and drown.
Fashion a frame
If you’re planting climbing beans, pumpkins, squash and cucumbers this year, a climbing frame may be what you need to save on space.
Pinterest is full of fantastic ideas on what you could use. It can made from stakes and string, an old spring bed base, a clothes horse… the possibilities are endless!