And just like that, summer is here and wow, she is coming in hot. We have had a wee taste of hopefully many more stunning summer days to come.
Edible Garden Ideas and Tips for December in your garden.
I am harvesting many different leaves for salads and the first of the snow peas are in. Delicious in a green salad, they give an instant crunch as well as look divine with their smooth texture among all the salad leaves.
This week, I have planted more lettuces, courgettes, chillis and basil.
In this issue:
- Keep on planting the herbs and salad leaves.
- Bee-attracting Cornflowers for pops of colour
- Water well. Ideas to hold it in.
- Garden-sit angel.
Edible Garden ideas on what to plant this month
Keep planting the salad greens and herbs such as dill, basil, parsley and chives. Herbs are my edible gold. They add flavour to a dish so easily and quickly. I use herbs in everything.
You can also plant chillis, capsicums and, if needed, extra courgettes. I have had to replant my chillis after they were eaten to nothing in the glasshouse.
Plant coriander in the shade from now on as it will quickly go to seed from the heat. If you followed last month’s journal and got the runner beans in, expect lots of growth this month. You might find you need longer stakes for them to continue growing up.
Bee attracting Cornflowers for pops of colour
I adore planting the bee-attracting Cornflowers throughout my raised beds. They attract the bees and add gorgeous colour pops throughout the garden. Blue is divine and there are also pinks and mauves. Cornflowers are an edible flower and I love them in salads for pops of colour among the blue. They are it’s super easy to grow, it really attracts the bees and look gorgeous.
December, the month to water.
Summer has one downfall; it tends to cause the garden and the pots to dry out really quickly. Pots especially will require a lot more watering over summer, which is something to think about if you’re going on holiday. (More about this later.)
Water the garden deeply when you can, as opposed to light and frequent. This means having the irrigation or hose on fewer times a week, but for longer durations. This encourages the roots to dive deeper into the soil and they will last longer as conditions dry. Make sure you water in the cool of the day, either dawn or dusk. This conserves water and is much better for the plants. Try to avoid watering in the heat of the day.
Laying mulch is a good way to retain moisture in the soil. Here in Wānaka, we get lots of strong wind at this time of year, which dries the soil further. By watering the soil deeply, and then adding mulch, you will help to keep the moisture in.
I use lucerne mulch on my garden. It’s heavier than pea straw, so it doesn’t blow away in our winds and it composts beautifully into the soil. A win win. Any type of mulch will be a huge help.
Just Add Water. Swap a Garden Buddy system.
Many of us will be heading away over the festive season. It’s a time when all your hard work and rewards in the garden can easily turn into a tinder-dry field of brown if it doesn’t get regularly watered. It’s also easily preventable. I suggest you set up a system with a buddy when they “just add water” for you while you are away and then you return the favour while they are away. They might also get to harvest the yummy produce in your garden while you are away as part of the deal.
I cannot stress enough, if you don’t have an automated watering system, how invaluable it is to have that special buddy just adding water to your garden while you are away. It will mean you get to reap the rewards of the love and care you have put into your garden to get it to this stage.
Oh and one last thing. If you have berries, now is a great time, if you haven’t already done so, to be covering them with bird netting to make sure the berries, once ripe, go into your mouth and not others.
Until next month, wishing you a very happy Christmas and holidays.