Beginning of winter! We’ve had a lot of rain and wind, and by and large where we live, the temperatures have been pretty good.
The brassicas have taken a bit of a beating from the rain and wind, so I’ve hilled up the medium-sized plants in this bed and added yeast traps (to 1 cup warm water add 1 teaspoon white sugar and 1 teaspoon dried yeast, stir till more or less dissolved). We seemed to be slug and snail free when the plants went in, but in this bed the green cabbages in particular must be to the liking of slugs and snails and are getting eaten up.
This brassica bed is the most advanced. We’ll be eating from here soon. The holes in the top leaves are due to sparrows using the netting that was over them originally as a trampoline and pecking away at the leaves they could reach through the net.
The onions have also taken a pummelling particularly from the rain, so this bed got a weed and some of the plants were propped up. I have one lone viola that’s self-seeded, but will need to put some more in – they are great companion plants for onions as they don’t compete for nutrients.
Speaking of alliums, we have lift off with the garlic! After sitting in the ground for 4 weeks, the cloves have finally burst into life. I have to admit I was thinking it wasn’t going to happen. So all the cloves poked into the soil are accounted for and happy in their little Mikroclima tent (designed to keep the airborne rust spores from finding them – my experiment this year!).
We took a trip to the beach to gather seaweed. It was pretty scarce that day, but enough to make a liquid brew. Pop the seaweed in a container and fill with water, leave for 2-3 weeks until it’s broken down, then you can start scooping the liquid out and diluting it for a wonderful tonic, best applied once a month. People ask if you wash the sand and salt water off first, but we don’t. There’s no harm in it.
I’ve also made a hot compost. Ingredients are the biomass that’s been building up for a few months and is quite broken down with all the rain; egg cartons; used coffee grounds; fresh lawn clippings; chicken manure and our rock dust (Natures Organic Fertiliser); along with some of the compost from our worm farm.
I layer in this order: lawn clippings – egg cartons – biomass – rock dust/chicken manure/coffee grounds – worm farm compost. I made 3 layers like this, then watered it all generously and covered it with black tarpaulin, securely fastened down. It’s a bit shorter than I usually make it (ideally it should be a cubic metre) as the biomass had broken down quite a bit already. Hopefully in a couple of days it’ll have reached around 70°C, then in about 2 weeks, I’ll turn it and 3 weeks after that it’ll be ready to use. We’ll see how the plan unfolds.
June and July are quiet months in the garden. You’ll have everything planted now and it’s just a matter of keeping an eye on things. In a quick whip around our garden we have the blue lupins green manure crop pulling away.
We have the root crop bed doing its thing. I won’t sow anything more now till probably September.
We’re eating our parsnips. Delish.
And I’m just waiting for the asparagus to die down further, then I’ll chop off the dead fronds, and feed up the bed. I’ll most likely do this in the Last Quarter of this month, all in anticipation of lovely fresh spears appearing in August.
My hero crop at the moment is rocket. How many times do we plant it in spring only for it to go to seed almost immediately? Well this lot was planted about 2 months ago and it’s been feeding us for a month already. Crisp, tasty, feels like you’re eating goodness. It’s going to peak soon, so I have one more lot on the go to see us through. I might stick to this autumn planting in the future.
Happy winter gardening!
From Jan and Rob