6 January 2024

Happy New Year! Expecting dry times with El Niño and getting moderate rain is not a bad thing in the middle of summer for the food gardener.

Zucchinis, cucumbers and lettuces are producing and beans are coming on stream.  Everything else is getting there. 

Our tomatoes are formed and just waiting to ripen up. 

To give them a boost I’m applying the liquid comfrey we made last month diluted.  Pour all over the leaves in the early morning.  It’s a stinky thing so be careful not to get it on your clothes. The dregs can go directly round your fruiting plants.  Apply to capsicums and eggplants as well.

It was out with the onions and in with the kumara last week.  That’s root crop to root crop rotation which is not the best but the only available space.

I hung the onions on the south side (coolest) of our house under an eave but with a cover over the top to make sure they don’t rot when it rains. 

The Californian Reds were a dead loss but the Pukekohe Longkeeper did well.  Maybe I’ll find another source of Californian Red seed this year, as I love red onions.  It’s actually time to source your seeds for onions and leeks now as we’ll be sowing them this month.  We recommend getting new seed every year for the best germination.

I forked through the garden bed first to aerate it, after all, those onions have been in there for a good 9 months.  Then I plumped it up with the results of our latest hot compost heap.

I had put two kumara in the bedding pot to sprout slips, but only one fired.  I got 13 good plants out of it however, so no complaints.  That’s enough for us.  I take a good chunk of the sprouts off the mother kumara at a time, then separate them out after that.  That seems the best way to get good long roots off intact.

Then simply plant and apply Morganics or similar well-balanced organic fertiliser round each plant.  Water in well and net.  Those birds are getting way too cheeky, ripping out plants when a bed is not netted in their search for worms!

Last week I also put some carrots and radishes in.  Maybe a bit warm for the carrots to germinate but the drizzly rain will give them the best chance.  Radishes are starting to pop up.

I’ll be sowing seed for another zucchini and cucumber in the upcoming New Moon to see us through summer.  And of course keep up your monthly seed sowing of leafy greens.


Happy January gardening!

From Jan and Rob


11 Responses

  1. Happy new year and great to see your inspiring tips to keep us moving forward in 2024! Just wanted to clarify about planting kumara slips, I thought this was only done in November but interesting to see you can also do this in January. I had a number I sprouted back in November and gave lots away but sadly ones that were planted weren’t watered when I was away. So good to hear that it’s worth trying again if I can find some slips now – thanks very much.

    1. Thanks Melissa. Now my planting of the kumara slips is about a month late in an ideal world. I should have had them in in the Full Moon phase which went from the end of November to the beginning of December, and instead I put them at the end of December/beginning of January. But my slips weren’t ready then and we live in a warm climate, so I’m thinking these ones will be fine. They take 4-5 months to mature. If you too live in a warmer part of the country and could access slips straight away you’ll get away with it, but if there’s a delay, you may have to let this year go.

  2. Charles Dowding in the UK has a no dig garden and he has even experimented with no rotation. always love reading your blog.

    1. Thanks Christine. Yes I hear Charles Dowding is a good source of information. We would recommend crop rotation in an ideal world purely because one type of crop takes certain nutrients out of the soil as it grows eg fruiting crops take a lot of the potassium out of soil, root crops take phosphorus. So as long as you know that you can replace that particular mineral if you’re putting the same crop type back into a bed. The other reason for rotating crops is that if there’s a disease that a crop is prone to, it may affect the next same-type crop eg brassicas can get club root.

  3. It’s my first year growing onions, which were from seedlings, not seed. They have all bolted, but still have bulbs forming. I have cut the flower heads off, but am wondering whether I should harvest now or leave for a while and harvest as needed. Any other tips on growing onions would be appreciated.

    1. maybe plant to early.I plant August to as late as mid october and get good size harvest when head drop.In Tirau

    2. Firstly, it’s a good move to cut the flower heads off as the energy of the plant goes back into the bulb. We would recommend adding a fertiliser that has phosphorus in it to help size up the bulbs and water it in well. Our Morganics is a good balanced fertiliser to use here. Watering generally will help the bulbs size up at this time of the year too. You’ll know when the plants aren’t going to get any bigger, but there’s no harm in having them in the ground still now. And remember there are summer varieties of onions and winter ones so choose the right ones for the season you’re growing in. Check out our page and video on growing onions and leeks for a bit more information … https://organicediblegarden.co.nz/2017/03/08/10-march-2017/ All the best 😊

  4. I’m having a problem with my tomatoes in the glass house. Great plants, lots of flowers, but bees not pollinating them.

    1. Hi Dorothy We would recommend pollinating by hand if the flowers aren’t developing into fruit. Just get a small artist’s paintbrush and dab around on the pollen of the flower, then go into the next one and do the same around all the plants and soon they’ll all be pollinated. Just out of interest, have you grown tomatoes successfully in your glasshouse before?

      1. thanks for that advice. yes I have grown them in the glasshouse before, it just seems to be this season is a problem. plenty of bee friendly flowers about in the garden and bees about, but something seems to be putting them off. thanks again.

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