So just like that, autumn is creeping in. Mornings are cool and dewy and daylight hours are getting shorter. Excitingly, in my edible garden in fabulous supply I still have apples, strawberries, cranberries, tomatoes, courgettes, cucumbers, chilli’s, leafy greens, the last of the sweet corn, green beans, fennel, basil, cucumbers and thyme. Delish!
March can be a busy month in the garden – at times overwhelming – so I like to focus on keeping it simple.
In this issue:
• Tomatoes & basil – companions in more ways than one.
• Planting leafy greens – what not to do.
• Garden tidy – it can wait!
Tomatoes & Basil
Tomatoes – you may be like me and feel like you are swamped by tomatoes.
Photo Credit Alexis Doyen
If so, don’t worry. Keep picking them and schedule yourself a couple of hours one day to cook up a yummy, homemade, rich tomato sauce that you can freeze in batches. So handy to pull out during the year for a base for bolognaise, lasagnes, slow cooking or any other tomatoes based meals – and it’s made from your own gorgeous tomatoes!
If over the next few weeks it looks like it’s going to get really cool, go ahead and pick your green tomatoes. Store them in a dry, sunny pot and let them ripen inside.
Basil – I can’t have enough in my garden – I love it! Keep nipping the flowering heads to encourage more leaves. Basil is a good companion plant for planting amongst tomatoes as it fends off some of the pests tomatoes attract. I am fascinated that not only are they a gorgeous combo on your plate, they complement each other when growing as well.
If you live in a cooler area it’s a great time for planting out seedlings of cabbage and broccoli and leafy greens – spinach, kale and silver beet. If you live in more temperate and sub-tropical parts of New Zealand, I suggest you wait another month.
Hiatt & Co Top Tip: If possible, don’t plant your seedlings in exactly the same spot as last year.
It’s nearly time to start your autumn garden tidy up. But as I mentioned this month can be overwhelming, so let’s focus on enjoying what we still are harvesting and planting out for late autumn early winter for now. The tidy up can wait!