6 March 2020

6 March 2020

Autumn is here! The nights are definitely cooler and the mornings darker, but there’s plenty of growing weather left.

This month we’re enjoying the last of the summer produce, planting some of the autumn-specific crops, and preparing for winter ones.

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I’ve had good and bad luck with our watermelons. We had 4 in total grow on our one vine – one I picked too early, the second one was perfect weighing in at 7.5kg, and the two little latecomers were picked because the vine had shrivelled up, but they weren’t ready either! This big beautiful one made up for the mistakes, and I’ll know for next year 🙂

Kumara

The kumara patch looks nice and healthy. The general wisdom is to cut back the runners, so that the plants put their energy into their roots, rather than the leaves.

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Potatoes

The Agria potatoes are bursting with life. Time to do the first hill up. The hills on the side become the trenches and the trenches the hills.

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Onions and leeks

My onions and leek seedlings all germinated well – this is what they looked liked after 5 days of sowing.
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I kind of thought they were doing okay and left them in the laundry, and now they’re suffering from lack of light (too embarrassed to show you them now), so time to pay them some good attention so they’re ready for planting out at the end of this month. They’re out under the shadecloth now and have had a liquid seaweed feed – on Dr Rob’s instructions!

Peas

Even though beans are perennial and if I’d cut these spent vines off at the base they would grow again next summer, space is at a premium at our place. So I’ve pulled them out completely and sown climbing Sugar Snap peas ‘Carouby’ there instead. Rob says peas and beans aren’t fussy about being planted directly into the soil of a previous crop, but I did give the soil a boost. I cleared out a small amount of composted material from our Hungry Bin worm farm but, as the material is pretty ripe, I trenched it into the soil. Peas and beans need an alkaline soil to thrive, so I layer lime on top of the compost, then cover it with soil. I apply our favourite rock dust and in go the pea seeds directly, watered in well. The beans are doing nicely on the other side of the support structure.

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Kale

I’ve also sown some kale seed to plant out at the end of the month. I like the cavolo nero variety of kale best.

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Crop Rotation

And now it’s time to think about crop rotation. This is how our summer garden looked, and now I have to plan rotation for the winter garden.

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This is my best solution I think. I had put the late season zucchini and cucumber in where the original plants were, but realised I needed a whole bed for onions and leeks, so quickly transplanted them into the late season bed which now has late sweetcorn in it too.
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This is not a perfect plan, but you need to take into account what you’ve got growing in each bed currently, when it’s likely to come out versus what’s going to replace it, and when that will be ready to plant, and so on.

And lastly, loving our carrots which are ready to eat – these are the first ones I sowed – Laguna – we’ll enjoy these over autumn and winter. I’ll sow more in April ready for spring and summer.
Check out this yummy Carrot Salad recipe.

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Enjoy the beginning of Autumn!

From Jan, Rob and the Team at OEG

2 thoughts on “6 March 2020

  1. Hi
    Just to clarify:
    Peas/Beans (nitrogen fixing) – leafy greens – fruiting – roots.
    Yours is different. Can you tell me why? I thought leafy greens need the extra nitrogen and root crops don’t like too much.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Sonia We believe this is the order that works ideally, but there is much written about which crop follows which, and the key thing is just to rotate your crops however best it works for you. Try not to put the same type of crop in the same bed for 4 rotations if you can. That is not always practicable of course. The way legumes (nitrogen-fixing crops) work is taking nitrogen from the air and converting it into forms of nitrogen that will ensure they themselves grow well. It doesn’t particularly benefit the next crop in. Nitrogen compounds in decomposed matter in the soil often needs to be broken down by microbes before the roots of other plants can take them up. The reason we like root crops going in after peas and beans is because peas and beans use up potassium which is not good for root crops. Then the root crops aerate the soil well which, when combined with nitrogen-rich fertilisers, make a good environment for leafy greens. And fruiting plants like the potassium left by the leafy greens. That’s our theory, but as mentioned, there are many 🙂

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