1 August 2023

Now’s the time to sow seeds for our tomatoes for this summer, along with eggplants, capsicums and chillis.

Each year we show in detail how we sow our tomatoes, and this is the method we use for all our seed sowing going forward.

Firstly, if you’re re-using old plastic punnets or containers as we do, wash them out thoroughly in water which has had a good splash of white vinegar added to it.  This helps sterilise the containers.

Then we sieve potting mix to make a finer blend for seed sowing and fill our containers. 

Using a piece of dowel which has a nice sharp edges we create little troughs for the seeds.

Then I make a list of how many seedlings I want to end up with and add one or two more to the rows, since if you’re using fresh seed or seed that’s been stored in the fridge, you should expect good germination. 

Label each lot of seeds with the date of sowing on the back, so you know how long to wait. 

And using one of the labels back fill the rows and gently pat the mix down.

We then make a bath and add liquid seaweed and pop all the containers in till they’re fully wet.  Then onto a tray and the windowsill to await the arrival of the seedlings.

You’ll see we’re also sowing eggplants and capsicums and cool weather lettuces – Cos and Iceberg.

I’ve created the summer planting plan using crop rotation principles, because it’s important to have space ready to go for your summer crops when the time comes.  This plan needs to be refined (too much in one bed there!) but the main point is to make sure types of crops are rotated in the beds.  The ideal rotation is nitrogen-fixing to root crops to fruiting crops to leafy greens, but it’s hard to achieve in the home garden.

Last week we did a big trip down to Sarah Frater’s Edible Garden to pick up two pears (Beurre Bosc and Doyenne du Comice), which have had some initial espaliering, to plant in our new patio area. We had to pick them up because they don’t travel well in a courier van. The Desert Road was closed on the way back, so the trip home was long coming up the western side, but what a sight it was!

The trees come bare-rooted so we’ve got them in.  The next step is putting up the horizontal wires and tying up the branches, as well as tidying up the paving and planting. Very excited!

Our cauliflowers have been the best ever this year.  Along with two nice leeks from the garden, I made our Cauliflower Bake to add to a shared dinner the other night.

The alyssum we sowed, where the roots of the guava were encroaching, is now flowering which will be good for the beneficial insects.

Otherwise growth is slow but satisfactory.  Hope you’re keeping warm!


From Jan and Rob

4 Responses

  1. Just saying how much I love your content …especially what to do when. Do you know which potato varieties are determinate vers indeterminate ? Also varieties with blight resistance. Thanks for all you do

  2. Hi Sharon Thank you for your kind words – much appreciated 😊 We understand determinate varieties are the early ones like Rocket and Swift. Indeterminate are main crop varieties like Agria and Heather. There is talk about not needing to hill up the determinate ones as much as you would indeterminate as they tend to grow downwards more than indeterminate, but our advice is to grow them similarly – in a trench to start with, and hill up as the plant grows. When there’s no more soil to hill up, we’ll add straw around the plants to keep them supported and moist during the growing period. Good disease resistant determinate or early potato is Cliffs Kidney; good disease resistant indeterminate or main crop potato is Agria. All the best!

  3. Thank you Jan and Rob. I look forward to receiving your blogs. They help me to garden right 🙂 Happy Spring to you 🌻🌷🌞 from Diane

  4. The espalier pears look great. Sarah didn’t have them ready two years ago, so I had to espalier them myself, they haven’t been as successful as the ones you have got, but time will tell. I used the espalier kit from espalar.co.nz wall mounted for mine. It makes it really professional looking and can be tension tightened.

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