January is an exciting time in the garden when we are harvesting all the edible goodness we have lovingly nurtured since late spring. I love summer. It’s also a time of the year in our house when friends holidaying often unexpectedly pop in to say hello and end up staying for dinner.
Being able to whip out to the garden, grab all the ingredients needed to throw a few salads together, dig up the new potatoes and throw something on the barbecue is so good. Not only does it take the thinking out of what to cook, and save you time having to nip to the nearest supermarket, but the sense of pride and joy you feel when picking your homegrown food really is the best!
We look forward to being your not-so-secret green thumb each month, giving you solid advice and inspiration, so you too, taste the sweet satisfaction of homegrown kai.
In this issue:
- Keep harvesting to ensure more produce
- Pesky pests in January
- Looking ahead; planning for autumn
Keep harvesting to ensure more produce
This month I am picking a variety of salad leaves, tomatoes are ripening and I have cucumbers, runner beans and courgettes (zucchini). The more often you pick these vegetables, the more they will keep producing.
The chillies are flowering. I planted a late round, three of these late after the first two plantings were annihilated by a variety of pests.
On the herb front, basil, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme are all still flourishing. The fennel is in full flower, on which the bees go nuts on. The chives have flowered and underneath these mature plants, young self-sown plants are well on their way. I have planted more coriander under bigger leafy plants to provide them with shade so they don’t bolt ( go to seed before they have grown).
Pesky pests in January
While we may be on holiday at this fabulous time of year, others are not. Aphids and white fly can really get to work and show their stuff. So keep your eyes peeled for these wee mites as it could be time to get your thumb and index fingers working together as pincers. You could get your children onto the job, as a holiday project, or use the use the opportunity to phone a friend for a chat as you’re doing your pest control.
Another option is to wash pests off with a spray bottle filled with water and a few teaspoons of dishwashing liquid and water - this really helps to send them packing.
Looking ahead; planning for autumn
While summer is still in full swing and if you have some spare time, start to think about the autumn and winter crops you want to grow in your garden. Here are some ideas of what to plant. Plant more basil for late autumn pesto making. Pesto is great to freeze in ice- cube moulds and use when needed.
- Keep planting leafy greens, I am planting seedlings of my trusty Bright Lights chards, Drunken Woman lettuce, spinach and silver beet under more mature plants out of the direct summer sun.
- Beetroot for autumn harvest can also be planted now and celery for winter harvest can also go on the list to plant in the coming weeks.
- Leeks can be planted now for winter harvest. It seems super early, but these guys take a long time to mature.
- Cornflower, phacelia, and borage are all fantastic flowers for attracting the bees . They are brilliant at self-sowing, so once you get them growing you won’t need to worry about re-planting them. It’s quite fun seeing the random spots where they will pop up.
- Now is a good time to start thinking about broccoli, cauliflowers and cabbages (all hail from the brassica family) and planting a few of each every few weeks. I have had a lot of trouble with white fly this season, so I am going to leave mine for a while longer. Alternatively, you could cover them with mesh.
Until next month, happy gardening,