25 September 2015
maintenance in the spring garden
How to tidy up rhubarb
- It’s important to clean up your rhubarb bed in early spring, so that you get good growth over summer.
- Pull off any dried seed heads and throw into your compost pile. They’re a great source of carbon.
- Don’t use secateurs to chop anything off a rhubarb plant as it can cause rot and affect the crown.
- Remove any stalks that are touching the ground or any older stalks that have grown through the winter and are now soft and rubbery. Simply pull the stalks off the crown.
- Rhubarb leaves are high in oxalic acid which can be harmful, so don’t put the leaves in your worm farm or cold compost. They’re fine in your hot compost though, as that reaches temperatures of 70 degrees.
- We planted our garlic at the beginning of April or autumn. We’ve sprayed our bulbs a couple of times with liquid seaweed since then but now it’s spring we can feed them more often – probably every three weeks or so.
- Also make sure you keep the garlic bed weeded as garlic don’t like the competition.
Pinching out the tips of broad beans
- When your broad bean plants get up around 50cms high, it’s time to start pinching out the tips.
- By doing this you encourage stocky growth which means you probably won’t have to stake your plants.
- Use the tips in a salad or stir fry – they taste amazing.
Ploughing in your green manure crop
- We planted oats and lupins in a bed that we weren’t using over winter. They’re up about 30cms now and because we plan to use the bed soon, it’s time to dig the green manure crops in.
- Use a fork rather than a spade, so as not to disturb the soil structure nor the earthworms too much.
- It doesn’t matter if it looks chunky. The green manure crop will take about a month to rot down once uprooted.
Growing potatoes in a bag
- The Maori potatoes (Urenika) we planted a month ago have sprouted beautifully. The Agria potatoes are a bit slower so we’ll leave those for now.
- Roll the sides of the polythene bag up and add another 8-10cms of compost to the bag.
- We’ll continue doing this every 4 weeks for another 2 or 3 times, and the potatoes should be ready for eating at the end of November or beginning of December.
Pricking out tomato and pepper seedlings
- The tomato and pepper seedlings we planted three weeks ago will be ready now, or soon will be, to prick out into pots for planting on. See here for how to prick out seedlings.
Camera: Jarod Murray
Editor: Thomas Asche
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