February in the Vegie Patch

young squashAside from keeping everything alive with regular watering, our most urgent job is getting our winter stuff underway. Always challenging in this dry time of year (I hope my planting tips for hot days help out).

Direct sow Roots: beetroot, carrots, parsnips; Flowers: calendula, chamomile, larkspur, wallflower, cornflower, snapdragons, love in a mist, borage; Greencrops: phacelia, buckwheat or mustard after heavy feeders or in any spaces.

Direct sow (in the shade) coriander, parsley, saladings, rocket

Tray Sow  silverbeet, spring onion, celery

Plant out (in the shade): broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, silverbeet, celery.

The difference that shade makes

In the shade means either on the shady side of tall plants or inside a simple shade house of your own making. What a difference a bit of shade makes to your seedlings when the sun beats down! It means they can grow steadily onwards, as opposed to constantly recovering from dehydration. Simply drape shadecloth or hessian over cloche hoops and pop a rock on the ends. If you don’t have cloche hoops then bang a few short stakes in the ground up the centre of the bed and at the ends and drape the shadecloth over these. Tent pegs are also useful for securing the ends.

Manage Cabbage Whites

Spray kiwicare caterpillar killer (or any product that uses BT) on your brassicas fortnightly so cabbage whites don’t decimate your seedlings.  If you have a mesh cover for psyllids this will also work by keeping cabbage whites out. Keep this job on your radar until the heat subsides and the cabbage whites disappear for the winter.

Our next Workshop

February’s workshop is the Abundant Vegie Patch. Where we spend a whole day together celebrating the keystones of organic gardening – compost, crop rotation (hurrah!), seedling raising and other smart stuff.