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Southern Vegie Garden Notes May 2013

Quick summary for June

Planting Garlic
Planning for next spring
Planting Fruit trees and berries


Perpetual Spinach ready for pickingVegetable Garden Planning at Your Place 

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/

Beetroot ready for harvestThe Simple Organic Gardening Course

6.30 – 8.30  Wednesdays August 28 to 16 October.
At the end of this in depth course you will be able to grow healthy vegetables in your own garden.

10% Discount on The Simple Organic Gardening Course
you have been on the Lose Weight and Bloom  or the Vegetable Planning at your Place.

Find out more http://www.aplaceoflearning.co.nz/vegetable-gardening/

Pruning Stage 2

This will be held at the New Brighton Community Gardens
Sat 15th June 9.30am-12


Fungi. Photo taken by Shirley Intermediate StudentThe warm weather has held on so well that a student said reported that her outside courgette was still producing its last baby courgettes! This autumn has been a truly wonderful growing season with long warm days and enough rain for steady growth. It has produced a bumper crop of fungi. At Shirley Intermediate, where the soil is full of fibrous matter from leaves and wood chips, the children have been treated to a wonderful array of fungi.  But now the seasonal door is slamming shut and it is time to think winter thoughts.

Garden Tasks: A working garden.

Mustard and lupins growing next to an undug row of potatoesAs vegetable growers our gardens can be considered working gardens in a continual cycle of planting and harvesting. At the moment, as the potatoes, parsnips and beetroot come out, the soil can be mulched with sea weed, autumn leaves and manure and then left for the worms to do the work of preparing the soil for spring. I trenched one row where the potatoes came out and filled it with the contents of my bokashi bucket and then I mulched it all with straw and grass clippings. By mulching at this time of year you can sit back relax and let all the creatures in the soil food web do the work for you.

Climbing beans nicely dried and ready to be stored for next years seedJune is also a good time to sort seeds. I always throw out my out of date seeds. Out of date seeds usually can grow but the percentage gets less and less. It is a lot of work to prepare soil and then plant out of date seeds which may or may not germinate. This is a good time to check the seeds you have saved yourself and make sure that they are dated and labelled etc.

If your early broad beans have sprung away a bit too quickly in the warm autumn you can hill them up with some soil to help protect them from winter snow and storms.

This is a good time to  split up your rhubarb crowns if you want more plants. Use a sharp spade to make a clean cut. Replant pieces that have two or more strong buds.


It is pleasurable to be sitting by the fire thinking about next spring. This is a great time to start a garden diary, peruse books from the library and browse through Kings Seeds catalogue. This is the time for planning.
New crops which I intend to grow next year are some chilli serano, epazote and a tomatillo. I was given these seeds by a Mexican student and I will have to plan carefully to get fruit from these crops as they are marginal in Christchurch’s climate.

This year I have also got hooked onto autumn sown radish. They stay sweet and crisp longer than spring sown ones and they are a delicious treat in cooling days.

A beautiful fungi growing out of straw.I am also composting areas ready for the first early peas to be planted.


This is the time to think garlic. You can buy garlic in the plant shops or just buy NZ garlic in the veggie shops. Garlic needs a well drained site and a moderate layer of compost. A good sprinkle of wood ash is also recommended. You only plant the larger cloves of garlic. I use my dibbler (aka child’s cricket wicket) to make holes twice the length of the garlic. Drop the garlic in ‘pointy’ way up. That’s all you need to do. You do need to weed garlic regularly.



Freshly dug carrots and parsnipsHarvesting in May and June is a pleasure of treasures. Beetroot, potatoes, carrots, parsnips, celeriac are all tucked away in the soil with leeks and pak choi happily growing. All these crops make a wonderful winter soup which is lovely to sup while hail is flinging itself around.

At both Delta Community Gardens and Shirley Intermediate the first Miner’s Lettuce are popping up.

Fruit Trees and Berries.

I have an offer of free raspberry plants from a lady leaving the redzone. Contact Mary if you want any.

Winter is the time to plant all your fruit bushes and trees. They need the same attention as your other plants; plenty of mulching, compost and a handful of lime. For the average suburban section dwarf fruit trees are worth while considering.

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