The days are getting longer and in our garden we’re definitely planning for Spring.
I’ve ordered some new tomato seeds from a local online store where there’s a wonderful heritage collection to choose from.
I’ve chosen Watermouth as our beefsteak, and I’m trying Moonglow as a medium orange/yellow tomato – orange/yellow tomatoes contain more lycopene than the red but perhaps are not quite as tasty. Then there’s Tigerella, which I do know is a good producer, and Green Zebra as an experiment.
I’m staying with Gardener’s Delight for our red cherry, planning to be a more on to it with the Black Cherry than I was last year – it’s more difficult to germinate and starts producing late but finishes late too, and I’m staying with Roma for sauces, relish and bottling.
We’ll sow these in the First Quarter moon phase. Remember to put the seed packets in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks beforehand to assist with germination.
So it’s all very well to order seeds, but where are the plants going to go? That’s where our Crop Rotation plan comes into its own. Remember the four types of crops to rotate are nitrogen-fixing, root crops, fruiting vegetables and leafy greens.
This is how we ended up this Winter…
And this is the plan for Summer…
I loved the bottled tomatoes we had last summer, so I want to do more of those this year, hence more Romas going in.
Our first lot of brassicas are all eaten up – heading broccoli and cauliflowers. We have some sprouting broccoli and cabbages coming along, but as it’s the coolest time of the year, growth is super slow. They’ll pull away in the next month as it warms up.
The long-term leafy green bed is coming away – parsley, mint, celery, silverbeet and cavolo nero kale.
I’ve had a little patch of rocket and mizuna going for winter salads. The rocket and mizuna has tasted great and is lovely and crisp, but has not exactly flourished due to the cold. The rocket now looks like it’s done its dash as it’s trying to go to seed. It is a short-term crop, so that just reminds me to sow some more seeds. I love its peppery taste.
In our next New Moon phase we’ll plant out these cool-weather lettuces and pak choi.
I am sad to report that even in this cold weather, the garlic has got rust. I’ve resorted to sulphur spray on a 10-day cycle for 4 weeks, then depending on how that goes, I’ll push it out to monthly. I also need to cut away the affected leaves.
I’ve been nipping off flowers from the strawberries up till now, but I reckon it’s time to let them go. I’ve given them all an application of our well-balanced fertiliser, plumped them up with extra straw to keep the fruit clean, and they’ve been netted as the birds love to come and get the straw for their nests.
These are last year’s plants, so second-years…
… and these are the newbies.
The asparagus is all set to go with their old fronds trimmed off, they’re all spaced out evenly now, and as asparagus is a seaside plant, I’ve laid seaweed on the bed as a mulch and for its nutrients. (The big green plants are self-sown violas.)
And lastly, our peas which were planted in autumn are producing beautifully now. I could collect them bit by bit for a salad, but I like to think of them as a garden treat. Pick them off when you see them and enjoy as a snack as you check in on your garden!
More next month on sowing the main summer fruiting vegetables 😊
Happy gardening from Jan and Rob!