Set out below is my latest blog post in the Yates Spring Veggie Gardening Challenge
Today, I sowed some more seeds on my heat pad: apple cucumber, rockmelon “Hale’s Best” and zucchini “Blackjack”, all from Yates seeds. Our wwoofers are arriving this morning, two young girls from Germany. Together, we are going to pot up some lettuce and kohlrabi seedlings and I’ll get the girls to help me with a bit of weeding. The picture I’ve included for today is of our broad beans which have started fruiting.
I’ve noticed a number of recent newcomers. Welcome to the challenge! I’ve decided to write a bit about what to do if you’re a bit late coming to the party. It’s normal to always feel a bit behind schedule. There are always things that should have been done yesterday! But what if you really are behind because you haven’t done anything yet? The good news is that it’s not too late to start preparing your summer garden. It’s still spring, the ground is moist and the days are often sunny (at least here in Auckland). The conditions are ideal for raising seedlings from seed and putting plants into the ground. I have put together an action list if you are starting from scratch this season:
· Prepare your beds. Dig the soil over and work in lots of compost, sheep pellets and fertiliser such as Yates Thrive Granular All Purpose Plant Food. It’s always a good idea to leave the soil to settle for awhile before putting in your plants
· Consider buying some established seedlings and plants from the garden centre to get a head start on the season. If you live in a remote area or are pressed for time, Awapuni deliver direct to your door
· Look for fast maturing varieties. Don’t forget that cherry tomatoes will ripen before larger ones such as beefsteak, which need more sun in order to turn red
· Start sowing seeds immediately. Even tomatoes, capsicums, chillies and eggplants can be started in early to mid-October. I have done this in the past and found these plants cropped later in the season, in March and April. This is a good thing, as they will follow the established plants you put in and it gives you an extended harvest period
· It should still be fine to sow carrots, parsnips and peas direct. Make sure you keep the soil nice and moist to aid germination. I like to sow seeds just prior to rain as I’ve noticed they shoot up soon afterwards
· Sow curcubits - zucchini, cucumbers, pumpkins, squash and melons. As the temperature drops considerably at night, it’s a good idea to sow these indoors in a warm environment such as on a heat pad or in your hot water cupboard
· Now is the perfect time to sow corn in punnets for transplanting outside after Labour Weekend, or you can wait until then to sow it direct
· I would advise holding off sowing beans until after Labour Weekend as the weather is still quite temperamental and I’ve never had luck sowing earlier than that
· Don’t forget to include some companion plants in your garden. It’s not too late to start marigold from seed or you can purchase some seedlings from the garden centre
· Do your bit for the environment by putting in some swan plants and wildflowers. Both can be started from seed now
· It’s still not too late to have spuds from your garden on the xmas table but act quickly! Look for quick maturing varieties such as Swift, Rocket, Liseta and Jersey Benne. Bunnings still have lots of seed potatoes left and the last time I was there they had reduced them to half price
· Think ahead. Sow asparagus seeds now as they take three years to mature until they develop spears which can be harvested
That’s all I can think of for now. Have I missed anything?