May In The Vegie Patch

may vegie patchThings To Do In The Vegie Patch This Month

  • Leave nothing bare! Soil prefers to be growing stuff – a crop, greencrop or just leave the weeds. Yes, truly – weeds! Living roots keep your soil happening. Next best alternative is to tuck it up under a thick layer of mulch.
  • Make lots of compost. Finished summer crops/ flowers/ perennials provide a bounty of ingredients for compost. Chop them down, cut them up and toss together with some seaweed or poo, cover (my favourite cover is a fadge/wool sack), and leave nature to make magic. There is nothing cooler than starting your spring crops off with the rotted remains of your summer crops.

Direct sow

  • Greencrops – lupins, broadbeans, phacelia, wheat, oats, mustard or barley.
  • Onions. If you get the chance to play with growing onions – go for it! There’s no greater sense of pride than in your home grown onions.
  • Corn salad and miners lettuce. Desert island saladings these. Sow them once, let them self seed and have winter greens every year.
  • Broadbeans, peas, snow peas; spinach, bok choy, rocket, kale, coriander; radish.
  • Good companions like calendula, poppies, cornflowers, larkspur and sweetpeas

Tray sow

  • Onions and salads.



  • Strawberries. Plant into raised ridges if you have heavy soil. May plantings have all winter to grow beaudacious roots. Bigger plants = more cropping. For big juicy fruits use rotten manure in your soil preps.
  • Garlic
  • Lettuces – under cloches or in the greenhouse.
  • Brassica’s for spring eating.
  • Silverbeet, perpetual beet, chard, kale, parsley – our kitchen cornerstones!
  • Lots of flowers like stock, primula, tulips and snapdragons

Odd Jobs

  • Thin and weed carrots and parsnips. What a difference good spacings make to your crops!
  • Liquid feed broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower that aren’t heading yet. Celery and all other leafy greens can have some too.
  • Pile mulch up around the stalks of any leggy brassicas to hold them steady in the wind.
  • Harvest kumara. If you haven’t already done it, get those kumara up! The rules say you’re supposed to wait till the tops die off, but in all these years I’ve never got to that stage. This instruction is for hotter climates I think. It’s more important to get them up before the frost hits it. The gamble is yours!

Lay Your Asparagus Down (for Susan)

asparaguspatchThe asparagus has come to the end of its run. The ferns are nearly all brown, having transferred their goodness back to the roots. The time has come to lay it down.

  • Chop down the dry stalks
  • Weed the bed
  • Cover with a generous amount of compost and rotten manure or seaweed
  • Top with the chopped up stalks.

Ready for a bumper spring crop!

Plant Garlic

planting garlicGarlic is one of our favourite crops – oh the excitement! Here’s how to get your bed ready.

Cut down the legumes/ greencrop you planted in preparation. Aerate if needed. Add a fine layer of compost, a sprinkle of Rok Solid and lime flour and lightly work into the topsoil. Mulch the bed with the cut up legumes and leave it to settle until garlic planting day.

Drainage is really important, so if you are on heavy clay make ridges to plant into. Raise your garlic above the soggy stuff.

My top picks for buying good quality, heirloom garlic seed

Be Ready For Rust

If rust was in your garlic or leeks last year

  • plant in a fresh, new spot (crop rotation!)
  • space generously
  • keep weedfree for good airflow
  • have to hand Kiwicare Super Sulphur to spray at the first sign.


  1. Thanks for the asparagus tips (excuse pun) Kath 🙂

  2. Hi Kath – in a newish garden I have my compost up and running, summer crops are chopped up and doing their thing, albeit not quite ready yet. Rather than paying for expensive pea straw, and while I have this awkward gap before my compost is ready, I’m wondering if/how I can use leaf litter (relatively fresh) around my veges as a mulch??