Often the hottest month, February is an exciting time filled with abundance and joy in the garden. So good, in fact, that some of those divine edibles you planted in spring could even be producing more than you can eat!
In this issue:
- Hiatt & Co Top Tip: Water
- Bolters are real “B’s”
- Looking Ahead: Planning for autumn
Whilst all about harvesting the abundance of amazing edibles you planted back in spring, our focus for February is water. Many places around NZ will be experiencing hot weather and, in turn, dry conditions. To combat this, our plants will need good watering, which lowers their stress levels and allows them to stay healthy and producing. Wherever possible – and where water restrictions allow – provide the garden with one really deep watering each week. This is more effective method than daily sprinkles, not to mention a lot more time saving for you in the garden. And we’re all about saving time at Hiatt & Co!
February is a month when you could find yourself with more produce than you can eat each week, so it’s good time to share the harvest love with friends, or drop some off to your local community organisations to help those in need.
Other options are to freeze excess – great for green beans and chilli’s – or where time allows in your week, make things like basil pesto that you can freeze and pull out during the year.
Bolting is a real “B”
One garden woe that can happen in this hot month is bolting! This is something that can be hard to avoid and can be a real “B” as my mum would say. Bugger is what I say. Bolting is when the extreme conditions, often heat can shock young plants into thinking they are mature and they go to seed. Sadly this results in inedible, often bitter tasting leaves, poor quality produce or the plant doesn’t produce anything.
Basil, spinach, lettuces, beets, celery are all common bolters. One way to try and avoid bolting is to plant these guys in a cooler part of the garden. I often plant my second or third plantings of spinach, lettuce & basil under the more established edibles in my raised beds, to provide them with shelter from the heat and wind. Sadly there are times bolting is totally unavoidable though, so don’t despair if this has happened to you this month!
Looking Ahead: Planning for autumn/ winter
Now is a great time to start thinking about which edibles you want to take you into winter. You can plant beets, spinach and brassicas now for autumn eating. In warmer areas these can be grown from seed but if you live in a cold mountain climate like me, seedlings of broccoli, leeks and cauliflowers will be better options. Our growing season here in Central Otago will end abruptly (almost before we know it!), so I need to make the most of the growing window I have left.
If you are thinking further ahead and wanting to learn more about getting your garden ready to grow in, then check out my Edible Garden Consults :)
Lots of love