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Southern Vegie Garden Notes August 2013

Winter harvestQuick Summary for September


Seeds to plant outside

Broad beans
Silver beet
Spring onions

Seedlings to plant

Garlic growing strongly in mid AugustBroccoli
Herbs (not basil)

Green crops

Lupin seeds
Wild flowers

Yeah the white baiters are out!  There is no surer sign than this that spring is on the way. The garlic is shooting up. Plants which have been sitting quietly all winter are beginning to sprint into action e.g. pak choi, miners lettuce.

A Globe Artichoke well grown in August ready to deliver a harvest of flower budsThe globe artichokes have grown strongly and the flower buds will be ready for harvest in late spring. Follow the  link for Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s  recipes. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/jun/21/recipe.foodanddrink

The best way a gardener can prepare while waiting for spring, is to pile as much mulch into their gardens as possible. It can be thrown on top and then lightly forked in at planting time. The more plant material you have in your soil the greater the water holding capacity. This is critical for summer.

One tricky part of gardening at this time of year is that over winter in Christchurch we have quite calm weather – hence the smog problem. This calm weather often holds on until late September / October. As the sun heats up the weather is wonderful and our gardening fingers itch like crazy. A balmy Saturday arrives and zoom we visualise plump tomatoes so off to the nursery we go. Get some tomato plants, then wham the equinoctial gales come roaring in and your tomato plants become very grumpy. All the lovely tasty summer plants like basil, corn squash, cucmbers, tomatoes and beans really don’t like their growth interrupted by a long bout of cold weather.

So in August, September, and October grow what grows well at this time and you can have bumper crops and leave all the lovely tasty summer plants until Show Day. I have proven time and again that if you leave these plants until Show Day you get better and believe it or not, earlier crops.


Green macerata cauliflower ready for harvestFor open night at Shirley Intermediate we harvested green macerata cauliflowers, leeks, and pak choi. The children made a delicious salad of mizuna, mustard lettuce, red silver beet, miners lettuce, spinach, mint, parsley and green silver beet. This was very popular. At the end of the evening we gave away the display veggies. One lady who carried away a huge leek said that it was a better bouquet than any flowers.

Winter salad mix with Mustard red GiantMustard lettuce is a wonderful crop for those who like a bit of schazaam in their salad. It turns a roast beef sandwich into a gourmet lunch. You will find it in Kings Seeds oriental mesclun mix. www.kingseeds.co.nz

Brussels Sprouts with the last sprouts swelling mid AugustThe last of the Burssels Sprouts are being harvested. Pluck off the leaves as you pick them. 

Planting Seeds

Peas and snow peas are the main crops which can be direct sown in late August. Snow peas are very cold tolerant and vigorous growers. Last year at Delta they overwhelmed parts of the garden, so this year I am planting them in places, where they can’t over run other crops. See www.aplaceoflearning.co.nz/southern vegie garden notes August 2012 for planting details.

Broad beans can be sown now. See www. placeoflearning.co.nz/southern vegie garden notes April 2013 for the details for sowing broad beans . There is quite a lot of resistance to eating broad beans because people have the image of starchy tough over boiled beans from their childhoods.
The small unripe pods can be eaten steamed and stir fried. The small fingernail sized beans are sweet and delicious. If the beans get bigger the tough outside coat can be removed and broad bean pesto is really nice. The dried broad bean seeds can be deep fried and salted. These make a really tasty snack. What an amazing plant.

Early peas growing well in mid AugustMiner’s lettuce can be sown. The seed is very fine and the seedlings hard to handle. To direct sow prepare a small patch and scatter a small amount of seed. Cover very lightly either with river sand or fine soil. When the first two leaves emerge, they  are long and narrow.

Planting Seedlings

Red lettuce growing well against a warm wall in mid AugustI have planted lettuce seedlings against the concrete wall at Delta  and they are doing very well. If you don’t have a warm sheltered hot place, leave your lettuce seedlings until September.

Silver beet planted now will give a great spring crop. The silver beet which has wintered over will be going to seed rapidly.

Garden tasks

There is still time to lift your strawberries and renew the garden plot with compost www . aplaceoflearning.co.nz/southern vegie garden notes July 2012

There is very little time left to finish pruning. This task now needs to be on the urgent list. Once the buds start swelling it is too late. It is already too late to prune plums.

Find light mulch to keep bare soil covered or cover with mustard or lupins while you wait for the warmth of October.

At this time of year the weeds grow vigorously. They are great for the compost bin.



Red Silver BeetVegetable Garden Planning at Your Place 

This is the perfect time for Vegetable Garden Planning as you will be able to get ready to plant for spring.
This is a great way to start your new garden. In Mary’s one and a half hour visit to your place, you will create your Garden Action Plan, and have a mind buzzing full of ideas. Find out how to transform your world with a spade and some seeds at: http://www.aplaceoflearning.co.nz/vegetable-gardening/


Purple sprouting broccoliThe Simple Organic Gardening Course

At the end of this in depth course you will be able to grow healthy vegetables in your own garden. Imagine the satisfaction of picking fresh salad in the spring sunlight.

This spring three different times will be available
6.30 -8.30  Wednesdays  August 28 to 16 October.
6.30 – 8.30 Tuesdays  22 October to 10 December
12p, - 2 pm Saturdays  12 October to 30 November

At the end of this in depth course you will be able to grow healthy vegetables in your own garden. Imagine the satisfaction of picking fresh peas in the spring sunlight.
Find out morehttp://www.aplaceoflearning.co.nz/vegetable-gardening/
Email Mary to book now. mary@aplaceoflearning.co.nz . If you pay a booking deposit on the

Simple Organic Gardening Course this entitles you to A $30 discount on  Vegetable Garden Planning at Your Place .



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