Autumn is harvest time and we’ve just gathered in our kumara.
Got them in and out earlier this year and the results are better. I possibly could have left them in a touch longer to grow them a bit bigger, but there are a few little holes there (most likely from wireworms) and I figured the longer I leave them, the more holes I’ll get.
If you’re about to harvest, then cut your foliage off first so you can see where the plants are. It makes great biomass for hot compost. Then with a fork, ever so carefully dig around each plant. You want to skag as few kumara as possible as the damaged ones won’t store. Lay them out in the sun for 2-3 days to harden their skins, then wrap each kumara up individually and store in a cool, dark place. (Unwrapped ones here have a bit of fork damage and need to be eaten first).
It’s time to get our long-term leafy greens and our brassicas in for the winter. Ours are not quite ready for planting, but some serious growth in the next two good moon phases should sort that.
Remember these plants are in the ground for a while, so it’s important to enrich the garden bed before planting. Fork the soil to aerate it – it doesn’t need to be turned, just gently lifted. Then add a good layer of compost. Leafy greens will need a nitrogen boost from chicken manure or sheep pellets. An application of garden lime is beneficial to brassicas in particular, as they prefer an alkaline soil. And we always recommend a multi-mineral fertiliser like Natures Organic Fertiliser. Using a fork in a wig-wag fashion, blend it all together. At this time of the year we would also add some Neem Tree granules to the planting hole of brassicas as the white butterfly is still flying – the plant takes up the neem systemically as it grows and repels the white butterfly. You’ll also need to net your beds as extra protection from the white butterfly, but also from birds, cats and dogs. See Rob planting brassicas here.
And don’t forget to sow the next crops.
With the tomatoes out now I’m just enjoying the companion plants of marigold and basil reaching their peak. The basil is flowering, so I’ll harvest that in the next week or so and make Pesto out of it for the year ahead
I always have one bed (a new one each year) in a green manure crop. I’ll sow that in this old tomato bed as soon as the basil is harvested. I’m going back to lupins this year, as the Autumn Manure Mix I used last year was a bit of mission to get going. Mustard is a good one too, but matures quickly. You can also plant broad beans as a green manure crop and enjoy the beans as well as being able to dig the plants back into the soil.
And if you get a moment, your evergreen fruit trees can do with a top up of nutrients. (Deciduous fruit trees only need feeding in spring.) I’m feeding our feijoas, citrus and passionfruit with chicken manure and a couple of handfuls of Natures Organic Fertiliser. If your evergreens are large, apply the fertiliser round the dripline. If you have spare mulch or wood chips, cover over the fertiliser.
I picked up some organic garlic cloves on the weekend from our local organic store ready for planting out in the Full Moon later this month. Have some new ideas for combatting rust this year which I need to run past Rob, so will let you know next time.
And finally, we’ve had really uneven growth on the ‘Sugar Baby’ watermelons. One huge one, one small one and one that split and is now in the worm farm. I’ve been waiting for the stem to shrivel up on the big one, but Rob told me it was late in the season and truly time to harvest it. It weighed 10kg and we’re still eating it. Delicious!
Enjoy the little bit of rain we’re experiencing currently!
From Jan and Rob.