Planting Out: (Growing your own food)
During these troubled and unprecedented times it is interesting to note the rush for vegetable seedlings and seed. However, it is sad to see to people buying the wrong varieties. Pumpkin, tomato, beans and corn will not grow at this time of year. They need to be planted in late spring, early summer.
Autumn is a good time to plant certain varieties which will yield within 6 to 8 weeks. The soil is warm and we are still experiencing 11 hours of sunshine. So, it’s time to get busy.
Day 1: Prepare your soil. Peg out a patch of 3 metres x 4 metres & dig through. Removing weeds, rocks etc. Apply some blood & bone and (Rapid Raiser*) these are both organic. If your soil is poor add some complete mineral mix. Rake through and water well.
Day 2: Plant radish seed, bok choy seed, hakurei (Japanese turnip) beetroot seed or seedlings. Seed tapes (Yates*) are a good idea, the seed is nicely spaced on the paper tape. The radishes, bok choy and hakurei will be ready to begin harvesting within 6 to 8 weeks, the beetroot 4 weeks later. Water in well and water daily depending upon the weather.
Day 7: Your seedlings will begin to emerge in nice neat rows. It is important to keep the weeds down and keep your seedlings moist. In a few weeks they will toughen up. You can start to give your plants a liquid fertilizer using a watering can. If you have the space you can plant climbing peas, snow peas and sugar snap peas. Add a bit of dolomite to the soil, these legumes like sweet soil. You will need to make a trellis or some pyramids for the peas to climb up on.
The reason for climbing peas is that they are easier to pick and less prone to mildew.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention… silverbeet or rainbow chard. It is the vegetable that continues to give & it will keep going during the depth of winter. The more you pick, the more you get. Seedlings are hard to get, so you might need to start with seed. Use as you would for spinach. It contains great nutritional values. Think veg lasagne, quiche, spanakopita, canneloni etc.
Gardening is a great activity for the entire family and it will keep you (and your family) fed for months.