Planning for summer planting

Locally it is accepted we do not plant the majority of our summer crops until November. This is because we usually get a cold snap in November and this on top of transplantation shock will knock your plants and put them back.

At this stage of the year if you are quick you can still plant seeds to keep under cover transplant into bigger pots and then have advanced seedlings to be transplanted and give you tomatoes for Christmas. But mainly you will be planting the seeds of: –

Plant in seed trays Plant out

6 weeks

Pot On

Plant November.

Sow Seed

direct to ground.

Cabbage X Kohlrabi
Lettuce X Mustard Greens
Onions X Peas
Silverbeet X Potato
Radish
Spinach

 

 

TIP! The seedlings will be ready to plant out or plant up into a larger pot when they have 6 or more leaves or when strong and healthy looking

 

Those vegetables which you could plant into seed trays now are tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, Egg Plant, pumpkins, zucchini, watermelon and your herbs. Basil, chives, thyme and oregano. Being honest here if you have missed the time to seed your vegetables for this year because of time restrictions then do not worry, work on making the soil the best you can and in approximately 4 weeks buy some seedlings and pot up into 4 inch pots and have strong and hardy advanced seedlings to plant out in November. For the last few years, I planted out tomato seedling with small fruits and in bloom and yes, there were tomatoes for Christmas.

HEALTHY SOIL

Healthy Body = Healthy plants = Healthy soil!

You don’t need to worry about applying miracle elixirs or wielding new-fangled tools.

 

You are THE best fertilizer in your garden?

Adding compost to garden beds is the best — and easiest — thing you can do to produce a bumper crop of vegetables and bountiful bouquets of flowers.

How much compost you need to apply and how often you should apply it varies, depending on the typical soil characteristics and whether you garden year-round.

As a general rule, plan on incorporating compost into your beds before each planting season.

Because we do not have a problem with our ground here freezing our soil microbes and worms are working all year round ploughing through what organic matter they have.

Here’s a general schedule for applying compost where year-round gardening is possible:

  • Cool season: The cool growing season extends from approximately mid-March through October, so add compost in late February or early March
  • Warm season: Warm-season planting (which overlaps with the ongoing cool-season growth period), starts in mid- to late-September and runs through until March, with warm-season plants continuing to grow through summer.
  • Alternatively, if your garden lies empty during intense summer heat, spread compost, cover it with some mulch over the fallow soil to reduce erosion, combat weeds, and maintain moisture.

If you’re starting a new garden bed, first determine whether the soil is organically rich. This doesn’t have to be an exact science, so you can use a simple “eyeball test” — light-coloured soil doesn’t contain as much organic matter as dark brown or black soil. Then follow these guidelines:

  • Soil with limited organic matter: Where soil isn’t organically rich, add 10 to 15 centimetres of compost before each planting season.
  • Soil with plentiful organic matter: If you garden where soil is organically rich, 3 to 7 centimetres of fresh compost will suffice before each season.

 

 

The root systems of most annual flowers and vegetables remain within the top 30 centimetres of soil. Loosening up your soil to that depth helps roots penetrate freely to seek moisture and nutrients. Follow these recommendations for loosening soil and digging in compost:

 

 

 

  • If you’re lucky to garden where soil is already loose, easy to dig in, and drains readily, you can layer compost on top of the soil and dig it in to a depth of 15 to 30 centimetres in one step.
  • If soil is compacted, drainage is poor, or you garden above a layer of hardpan(impenetrable subsoil that restricts water movement and root growth), you’ll grow a more successful garden if you first dig and loosen soil to a depth of 30 centimetres. Then layer your compost on top of the soil and turn it under to a depth of 15 to 30 centimetres.

 

Benefits of Adding Compost to Your Garden

Composting provides you with rich organic matter that does wonders to improve the quality of your garden soil. Whether you sprinkle compost on the surface of the soil or work it in, your garden plants and landscape will grow healthier and stronger thanks to the addition. Your garden benefits from compost in the following ways:
• Incorporates organic matter to feed microorganisms and microorganisms that maintain a healthy soil food web
• Enriches soil with nutrients for plant growth
• Releases nutrients slowly so they don’t leach away as some synthetic fertilizers do
• Improves soil structure
• Promotes drainage and aeration in clay soil
• Enhances moisture and nutrient retention in sandy soil
• Reduces soil compaction
• Inhibits erosion
• Suppresses soil-borne diseases and pests
• Attracts earthworms, nature’s best soil builders and fertilizers.

GREEN MANURE

Did we plant some Green Manure in Autumn/ Winter? 

If we did, it is time to start dealing with it.

Points to remember: –

  • Cut down green manure crop before it starts flowering otherwise it will start using nutrients from the soil.
  • Dig in legumes before they get a woody stem as they take a long time to break down. If they have developed a woody stem make sure you cut the stems finely. This will speed up the decomposition and make it easier for the worms and microbes to break down the stem more quickly.
  • About a week after digging in the green manure crop, dig it in a second time and a week or two after that, the ground should be ready to plant your veggie crop.

 

Happy Gardening

Susan xx