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Southern Vegie Garden Notes June 2014

Welcome to Southern Vegie Garden Notes

Harvesting Fresh Organic Vegetables from your own Doorstep

Quick garden task summary for July

  • Planting GarlicPlant Fruit trees and berries
  • Plant Garlic
  • Replant and compost strawberries
  • Plan spring garden
  • Sharpen tools
  • Tidy shed

It is a perfect winter's day for writing Vegie Garden Notes.  It is cold and the sky  is rapidly changing from fine patches to dull winter grey and back again to thin sunshine. A southerly breeze is whipping up leaf eddies into tidy corners and rattling the cabbage tree leaves into a flowing green dance. This is time for idling. Yes whiling away a bit of time in front of the fire or in a warm spot in the winter sun.

A  Matariki planting day was held at Anzac Drive reserve on 28 June. At least 100 people turned up to plant 400 trees, listen to good music and grab a sausage sizzle. Yes this is the time for planting your fruit trees, natives, and berries and have fun while you are doing it.

Winter can be a season of soup celebration. Look on http://www.aplaceoflearning.co.nz/recipes/winter-soup/ for a basic soup recipe.

Leeks and parsnips just pickedHarvest

Parsnips, beetroot, leeks, carrots, silver beet, perpetual beet, red mizuna, oriental mesclun, pak choi, cabbages, mustard, parsley, Brussels sprouts are all ready for harvest. Winter is really an abundant time. 


Strawberry runner ready for plantingStrawberry plants need to be renewed every two years. It is a good idea to renew half the plants each year from runners. This is the time of year to dig up your strawberries and replant the runners. Compost the strawberry bed. Prepare the runners for replanting by removing most of the leaves leaving only to two central leaves.  The plant will sit quietly putting down roots over the next couple of months and be ready to burst into life in spring. On Grow Your Own Free lunch we prepared a tray of runners so that the very small runners don't get lost in the garden. These we can give away and will use some for  planting in Churchill Park.

The old strawberry plants can be used as cover plants to tidy up shady places.

Planting Fruit Trees and Berries.

Fruit trees can grow large (4m)  and berries are very hard to get rid of once planted. It is a good idea to leave the trees and berries in their pots for a week or so and move them around your garden playing with different layouts. Your fruit trees add structure to your garden and you need to consider how your trees will work with your vegetable patch.

If you have trouble contact Mary for A Vegetable Garden Consutlation.http://www.aplaceoflearning.co.nz/vegetable-gardening/

Small strawberry runners growing in a trayExperimentation

I was tidying up in the weekend and saw a pod of broad beans which had been accidentally left lying around. The beans had begun to sprout. One precocious bean had even slipped it's root into the soil. I opened up a seed drill and popped these sprouted beans in. Will they grow? Possibly. Will they grow well? Maybe.  I will watch and see. The reason that they might not grow is there is possibly tissue damage to the new shoots.

Garlic bulbs

Missed garlic bulbs growing between red silver beetTwo years ago, when we dug up the garlic at Delta Community Gardens, we missed three bulbs.  They sprouted providing luscious early garlic 'chives' in June. Since the whole bulb was growing in one spot, they were not going to grow good sized bulbs for January harvest, so I just left them there.

We managed to forget these three again this year and so we now have another feast of garlic 'chives'. Chopped up in a winter salad they give add a wonderful taste especially when allied with a little mint scrounged between the dry stalks.

Last week I planted 3 whole bulbs with view to getting these sumptuous garlic 'chives'. I also want to see how the plants behave.

Chook YurtCompost for chooks

My chooks are in a moveable chook house. We call it a Chook Yurt. As a gardener I believe that if there is a creature who is happy to do all the hard work who am I to deprive them of such fortune? The chooks remove all weeds, bugs, aerate the soil, manure the soil and provide eggs. I am on the chooks back! Like all good workers they need to be paid. The Chook Yurt moves to each vegetable patch once the crops are harvested. They are immensely fond of old cauliflower plants preferably with a few snails etc for dessert.

I am preparing a chook banquet for their next move. I am building up a small compost heap of old leaves and vegie scraps. Currently it is a mass of worms and bugs. Delicious. 

Watching the Earth 

Red silver beet at the 4 leaf stage waiting for planting at the beginning of spring.For gardeners the earth is like a book, open and waiting to be read. Actually it is better than a book, as it is always changing and interactive. If you read the earth you will be able to be more responsive with your vegie gardening. Winter is a quiet time of rest and restoration but it is also readying for the big sprint in spring . Nettles, chickweed, biddybids (cleavers), and miners lettuce  are all wintering over as small plants. Copying this format, I have trays of silver beet and lettuce seedlings sitting at the 4 leaf stage ready for planting against Delta's warm wall in mid August. These plants will gallop into action and provide lovely greens for  early spring.

Perpetual beet flourishing amid rubbishIn the empty section next door miner's lettuce and perpetual beet have sprung up, seeded from this side of the fence.  I also found a delicate violet among the rubbish and weeds.

Garden Tasks

Take a leaf out of the earth's book and carry out quiet preparation in winter making the big rush in spring less frantic. One good winter 'task' is to peruse seed catalogues e.g. www.kingsseeds.co.nz  ,garden books and magazines for inspriation. Further inspiration can be had from visiting your local Community Garden http://www.ccga.org.nz/

 Get Growing

Winter Harvest at Delta Community GardenA Foundation Horticulture Programme.

Learning vegetable gardening naturally

Book now mary@aplaceoflearning.co.nz

This is a wonderful opportunity for those who want to learn basic growing skills as well as explore career opportunities in the primary sector.This course is free as it is funded by the Tertiary Education Commission.

This course is 12 weeks beginning May 26, 2014. Monday to Wednesday 9.30 - 2.30.  Thursday and Friday will be practical skills and work at your pace.The course will be held at Delta Community House 105 North Avon Rd.  Agriculture New Zealand have set up the course and Mary will be tutoring. The course will cover basic growing skills as well as information about the primary sector. 


Miners' lettuce flourishing among rubbishVegetable Garden Planning at Your Place

Start 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 in spring.  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/

Mustard adds zing to your saladsThe Simple Organic Gardening Course

Learning vegetable gardening naturally

   The next course will be run in Spring in the second week of September. Bookings taken now. email Mary mary@aplaceoflearning.co.nz 

See http://www.aplaceoflearning.co.nz/vegetable-gardening/ for more information


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