The weather is settling down and we can now spend lovely warm days in the garden.
November is the month to get the heat-loving crops in the ground – capsicums, chillis and eggplants, along with zucchini, cucumber, pumpkins and melons.
But this week, being a New Moon phase, we’re focussing on leafy greens. This week we’re planting our sweetcorn seedlings. You might not think of sweetcorn as a leafy green, but it’s known as a grass or grain which is why it belongs to this category.
Sweetcorn is a heavy feeder and you can’t give it too much fertiliser – we give it twice as much as we give lettuces, for example. I managed to get a bit of compost out of our Hungry Bin to lay on the soil first (looking forward to setting up big compost bins), then added our usual chicken manure and rock dust and worked it in with a fork. The plants are set around 40-50cm apart. Remember also to plant your corn in a block, not a single row, as it’s wind-pollinated.
This variety is ‘Honey and Pearl’ which is not organic and not even untreated. The reason I’ve chosen it is because corn that is organic tastes quite different from what we’ve grown used to these days – more mealy and not sweet. At least this sweetcorn will be grown organically in our garden.
We also have a little silverbeet plant ready for planting. This is the traditional Ford Hook Giant with white stalks. The varieties with the red and yellow stems are smaller and possibly less bitter, but at the moment I’m liking the old school one.
The lettuces are all staggered in their growth phases. The bigger one here is a Parris Island Cos lettuce. There are two more of the same, a couple of weeks behind.
We’ve pricked out one Great Lakes lettuce into a jiffy pot and sown two more Great Lakes lettuces here. This plan is designed to deliver 1-2 lettuces a week to our table.
Rocket and mesclun update
Alongside the lettuces our large-leafed rocket is coming away nicely. And the row of mesclun should be good to start cutting in about a week’s time. I’ve put a barrier of coffee grounds on either side of the mesclun – that’s to put slugs, which have been roaming, off – hopefully.
Basil as a companion plant
Then over in the tomato bed, I have 5 little basil plants ready for planting. They’re going in as companion plants. I hope to put marigolds as well in next week. Slugs love basil, so rings of coffee grounds have gone round each plant.
Start delateralling tomatoes
If you see laterals developing on your tomatoes, you can start nipping them out now. If they’re quite big, flop them back and forward and they’ll snap off. The key thing is to do this on a day with blue skies and some wind, as creating a wound on a humid day can lead to infection. The point of getting rid of laterals is so that the plant has more air circulating through it which prevents fungal infection.
Our Italian Flat beans are up and looking healthy.
And I’ve covered our potatoes with some barley straw (you get this from a horse feed and supplies place) because the piles of soil are as high as I can go. The straw supports the leafy growth which might otherwise snap off in a heavy wind, it keeps the moisture in the ground and potatoes will still grow under the straw.
Next week, in go the solanums that are big enough for planting out.
Have a great week!
From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG!