25 November 2023

Just a quick note to talk about getting the last of the first round of the summer vegetables in. The First Quarter is a great time to do this.

This is the bed we’re planting in and its contents are able to be harvested, in fact need harvesting.  In here still are the leeks that didn’t fatten up (the fat ones have been used already) but combined in the kitchen they’ll do the trick; carrots, some of which are going to seed (not good because they get a tough core), but plenty which are not; and cabbages that probably could get a bit bigger if left, but they’re in the minority and will still make a delicious contribution to a meal.  And there’s a whole lot of weeds!

But a bit of work with the trusty Niwashi and it’s done.

We’re planting sweetcorn, pumpkins, eggplants and capsicums. (Chillis can go in now too but I don’t plant them because we don’t need as many as they produce.  Melons can also go in, but our seedlings are not strong enough yet).  

These guys need food in spades.  Our food consists of chicken manure, vermicast, compost, and Morganics fertiliser.  Also in the image are sulphur prills which I’m using on our garden because it’s become too alkaline (specific to us).

Firstly I use a fork and work over the bed, not turning the soil, but gently lifting it to aerate the soil.  I’m not disturbing the microbial life in the soil, just giving it a bit of air. 

I actually put chicken manure on next, but I should have trenched the vermicast first.  This is from our Hungry Bin and I absolutely love it.  It’s finely processed by the mighty worm, and uses up all our kitchen scraps with no smell and no rats. The reason for trenching is because lots of the tiger worms come with it and I don’t want the birds digging in the bed at this stage because they can uproot seedlings.

Then I put on a couple of bags of certified organic compost.  We have a ton of biomass ready to make a hot compost, so that’s tomorrow’s job!

Sweetcorn is a gross feeder, so their end of the bed gets one more layer – Dave’s Humate ultra concentrated compost (available at Mitre 10).  A bit of a fork through, and in go the seedlings.  Remember to plant sweetcorn in a block, not a row, for best pollination.  And be super careful handling your seedlings from pot to soil as these guys don’t like root disturbance that much.  With the eggplants and capsicums I add a handful of gypsum to the bottom of the planting hole as we did for our tomatoes – the calcium helps strengthen the cell walls of the fruit.

Around each seedling goes a handful of Morganics and then I carefully water round the plant.  Planting out seedlings is best done at the end of the day when it’s cooler.  But I’m doing it late morning and I’m careful watering because I don’t want the leaves to burn with moisture on them.

Good netting is essential for the reasons above.

Our tomatoes are looking beautiful.  It’s actually quite a good day today for delateralling, blue skies and a bit of wind, but I’m going to leave the plants for a bit longer.

And just a reminder to keep your leafy green supply up.  Every New Moon I sow seeds for the upcoming months.  Work out how many lettuces or how much rocket you eat in a week and add a couple of extra seeds to that tally for no-shows. At the same time I’m transplanting the last month’s seedlings, and planting out the previous to that month’s ones.  That turnaround cycle can be a bit shorter in the summer months.

Happy gardening!


Jan and Rob

2 Responses

  1. Hi. Thank you for another informative blog.
    Just a thought on “no-dig” gardening. I have practiced this for a number of years. Over the past few years crop yields have diminished in spite of my best efforts. Mid-winter I decided to break tradition and dig over a section of soil that was producing poorly, only to find it was harbouring a massive number of grass-grub larva. Hmmm. I have since dug all of my vege plots and removed several hundred larva (lost count). Before planting seeds this season I re-dug the plots, removing about 50 larva. It appeared that the larva count was lowest in areas where I had been using Neem granules. I want to continue “no-dig” gardening if possible.
    Any advice or thoughts would be appreciated. Regards and thanks again.

    1. Hi Peter Thanks for your comments. Yes, we believe soil needs to be aerated as soil structure can collapse if it becomes too compacted by the elements, and in your case home to unwanted grass grubs. I just use my fork and lift or rock the soil gently. Rob has a broadfork. The aim is to open up the soil without displacing or disrupting the natural layers. It’s just enough movement to make little openings which let air and light and minerals come in and that helps the soil stay healthy. We are fans of the use of neem granules to condition soil and the smell detracts pests so we would recommend applying that to the infested area. We hope this is helpful. All the best.

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