19 January 2018

19 January 2018

Summer is here

The edible garden is in full swing with lots of produce coming on.

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We’ve found the weather a bit of a challenge this summer – mainly the intensity of the sun, with the leaves of some plants getting burnt from the heat.
The cucurbits and solanums are thriving though, as they really love the heat. One strange thing is that some of the zucchinis have been sending out more male flowers than female, due we think to how hot it got so quickly. The imbalance between male and female flowers will result in less fruit set, but only in the open-pollinated varieties of course. It’s nature’s way of keeping us on our toes I guess.

If there’s any spare space in your garden, you can still plant more summer crops. We’re planting a new bed of cucumbers, which should start to produce in early February.

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It’s also a good time to plant a second crop of zucchinis, beans, main season potatoes like Agria, lettuces and mesclun crops. A good mulch will keep their roots cool and feed the soil.

Feeding time

Heavy croppers like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and eggplants will be smothered with fruit.

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Remember to feed your crops when they’re at their peak. A dressing of a good potassium fertiliser like a liquid comfrey, or volcanic rock and seaweed will give them a boost to produce through to late autumn.
Sheep pellets are a great all-round tonic for the beds and will slowly release nutrients to feed the plants and earthworms. A healthy plant will be able to resist disease and pests better than a stressed plant.

Flowers Flowers Flowers

No organic garden is complete without flowers.

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They can be grown near or in the vege bed, alongside your crops. Not only do they look great but they attract the good insects to the garden. One of our favourite insects is the bumblebee.

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For those of you growing beans, the bumble is the best way to pollinate your crops. If you’ve noticed some of the little beans being nipped off, it’ll be the work of the honey bees. They can’t get down into the big bean flower so they try and get pollen from the back of the flower, causing it to fall off. Encourage more bumblebees into your garden with flowers.

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Water

Birds and insects alike need a source of water. The best way to do this is set up a bird bath with its gentle sloping edges.

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If birds aren’t thirsty, they’re less likely to attack your tomatoes for the moisture. In the evening you’ll notice bees and other insects landing on the bird bath to have a drink. This way you also encourage them to stay in the garden.

Something new

This year we’ve tried a new type of pumpkin. I’m a great fan of growing and eating pumpkin and squash, so we’re trying out baby butternuts. Easy to grow and just enough for one meal. They’re great for the smaller gardens as they don’t trail and take over the whole bed. We’ll let you know how they taste!

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From Rob, Jan and the Team at OEG!

8 thoughts on “19 January 2018

  1. awwwwwwww – you are so lucky to be able to get a 2nd crop in – i have a very short growing season down here in otago where i live – i have had a fabulous zucchini crop and they are still producing like mad – my peppers and chillies have literally come to nothing – just nice wee plants – darn it – the weather has been so hot here most of my iceberg lettuce rotted in the ground so i now grow gourmet lettuce seed mix – that cut and come again variety – spuds have ok-ish – carrots wimped out in the heat and some cabbage broccoli and cauliflower did all right as well – my vege garden has to crop really well over our short summer because i have found in our up to minus 17 degs in winter and up to 2ft of snow not a heck of a lot grows in my garden over summer – i love the alpine summers but miss the longer growing seasons i had on the coast

    1. Hi Liz Yes we are lucky! All cucurbits grow well in the heat. Do you grow pumpkins and cucumbers too? We reckon your peppers and chillis should be doing well. Have you given them enough nitrogen? Sheep pellets, chicken manure, that kind of thing. They need lots of feed in their soil. Yes, Icebergs don’t like hot weather – we avoid all hearting lettuces in the middle of summer. Looseleaf lettuces do better. As far as winter goes, you’ll be able to grow Brussels sprouts and kales though – they’ll withstand snow. All the best 🙂

  2. Hi Rob, Our weedmat pathways are working well: thanks for the tip! Although we were late getting things in as we were still building beds abd paths we are surprised that everything is growing so well. Especially as we planted into soil that has just had the turf taken off. it’s good to read that we are not toolate to plant some maincrops and summer crops. Unfortunately our large (1300) garlic crop was hit by rust and the bulbs are very small. Any hints on how to avoid that in future? I guess not palnting garlic in that patch for a few years would be important.
    Cheers
    Mark

    1. Good to hear Mark! If you’re feeding and watering regularly, your plants will do well. Yes, don’t plant in that bed again for a couple of years. Agree with John below that seaweed is the answer. The key is to double the strength of the application of liquid seaweed to prevent or halt the progression of rust. If we get a hint of rust, we’ll spray weekly during that final period of maturation to get the crop through. If you can get your hands on actual seaweed, try digging it into the bed you’re going to plant your garlic into and that’ll make a difference too. All the best 🙂

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