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Southern Vegie Garden Notes February 2015

Harvesting Fresh Organic Vegetables from your own Doorstep

Welcome to Southern Vegie Garden Notes

Quick Planting Summary for March

Seeds

Oak leaf lettuce seedling which had been sown outdoors.Cabbage

Lettuce

Mesclun mix

Mizuna

Mustard

Pak choi

Lettuce seedlings grown outdoors.Radish

Silver beet

Spinach

Spring onions

 

Seedlings

Celery seedlings ready for transplanting. Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Lettuce

Mizuna

Mustard

Pak choi

Silver beet

Spinach

Spring onions

 

Pears ripening on the tree.Daily Peaceful Garden Time has buzzing energy at this time of year. The bumble bees are harvesting the bean flowers. Butterflies are everywhere. Monarchs, white butterflies and yellow admirals all busy supping on the abundance of nectar. The sparrows are busy in the corn tassels. In the evening light the dill flowers attract a wild dance of tiny insects. The birds all turn up at watering time to bathe and drink. This is shows how dry it is at the moment. This exceptionally warm summer has meant the tomatoes are so abundant. I am picking them by the bucket full.  Last year it was a struggle to harvest enough and the commercial growers had tomatoes rotting in their paddocks.

Harvest

I like to harvest just before dinner. Food which has just been harvested has the most flavour and is the sweetest. Even the best grown food left lying in the bin in the fridge for a week goes limp and tasteless. 

Blackberries ripeningAt this time of year food is flowing out of the garden. Blackberries are sweet garden treats ready for early morning fingers. Pears, apples and late peaches are all ready or nearly ready for harvest.

It is time for onions, garlic and shallots to be harvested and hung in an airy dry place inside. Left in the ground they are prone to getting mildew and rotting. Beetroot, potatoes and carrots are all ready for harvest. You can just harvest these as you need them as they will store well left in the ground.

Outdoor cucumbers are at their peak of production. keep picking and eating. They can collapse easily after a couple of cooler nights. Courgettes need picking every 3-4 days unless you want huge marrows. Beans are now ripening rapidly and need to be harvested every two days so that they are at their sweetest and juiciest. If your beans get tough just remove the beans from the pods and cook them. They are delicious.

'Uncle Ted's' tomatoes that were grown form 2007 seeds.The 'Uncle Teds' tomatoes see Southern Vegie Garden Notes October 2014  are now ready.  With the lovely warm summer the tomato plants are heavily laden. More tomatoes ripen every day.

Seeds 

Saving your own seed is very satisfying. Some plants are easier to save seeds of than others. The easiest seeds to save are: silver beet, pumpkins, squash, beans, peas and onions.  The seeds need to be dry and hard before saving.  Most seeds are brown but some like onions are black and shiny. You can save your seeds in a paper bag or old envelope. It is important to label and date the bag. Place the bag in a dry cupboard. 

Lettuce plant which is being left to go to seed.Some plants are easiest left to go to seed and allowed to seed themselves in. I let one or two lettuces go to seed each year. Although lettuce seed is easily collected in a bag, I fnd it easiest to allow the lettuce fling the seeds all around the place and then in early spring watch out for the seedlings popping up. When they are at the four leaf stage they can be transplanted to where you want them.  Most years these self sown lettuces are the first lettuce crop in spring. Seeds know exactly the right time to pop up. The other plants that are easiest left to seed themselves in are: parsley, mizuna and red kale.

 

Getting ready for Winter

The leeks which looked so droopy after transplanting now growing vigorously.The leeks which looked so droopy after planting last month are now vigorous and will produce a great winter crop. Leeks are one of the most bullet proof crops; they don't get blown over or frosted or thwacked by snow. They are such a tasty green in mid winter.

As your summer crops finish, it is time to plant your winter seedlings. Your soil needs to be well composted and lightly mulched. You will find that your brassicas; cauliflowers, cabbages and broccoli will wilt  on hot days - this is a natural process for them to save water. If possible give them a good drink in the morning. You will need to continually watch out for the caterpillars of the white butterfly. They will need to be removed. If you have only a few plants squashing the caterpillars is the best method.

 

Consultations

 Enjoy Gardening without Backache

Freshly picked vegetablesIn this one hour session discover the way to use hand tools such as spades, shovels, trowels and secateurs without hurting your body. You will have plenty of time to practice so that it's easy to do when you return home.

Cost: $30 per hour if you travel to Mary's place or $30 per hour plus travel time if Mary travels to your place. 

Come by yourself or gather a group of friends. Gardening without Backache is hands on learning and will require more than an hour for more than two people.

Call Mary 03 942 6940 or email mary@aplaceoflearning.co.nz.

Vegetable Garden Planning at Your Place

Beans galoreStart your own garden for fresh organic food at your place

This is the perfect time for Vegetable Garden Planning as you will be ready to plant your winter crops.  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  http://www.aplaceoflearning.co.nz/vegetable-gardening/

Call Mary 03 942 6940 or email mary@aplaceoflearning.co.nz.

 

 

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