May in the Vegie Patch

savoy cabbage

Many of you have teased me for my love of planning (you know who you are, and my secret hope is to convert you all), but a bit of organisation in the food garden goes a long way.

Right now I’m reaping the rewards of my forward planning – as my summer crops come to a close my autumn crops are beginning to bear. I love the synchronicity! We have the last of the peppers, jalapenos, eggplants, tomato and zuchinnis coming in plus the new wave of autumn harvests – saladings, celery, broccoli, cabbage, beetroot, carrots, dwarf beans (perfect stringless is an outstanding performer) perpetual spinach and kale.

Thin and weed your root crops before they get too crowded. If you are oh so careful you can transplant your thinnings into any gaps. Please shake some Quash about – I can’t bear the thought of your beautiful winter food getting eaten by a mollusc.

Aerate all your beds this month before you sow greencrops or plant crops, this’ll give your garden an important head start come September.

Prepare your garlic beds. Aerate, add a 5cm layer of home made compost, a sprinkle of lime and rockdust, and, if you are lucky enough to live near a kelp providing seashore, a fine layer of seaweed. Water it (or wait for the rain to do it), then mulch it and leave it to consolidate for a few weeks before planting out.

Sow your broadbeans. If you don’t like eating broadbeans you must sow some anyway – they are magic for dirt: aerating your soil over winter, providing lots of fodder for bees in early spring, grabbing all that nitrogen in the atmosphere and fixing it in your soils as well as providing a huge amount of biomass for your spring compost heaps. They’re a great crop to grow before your tomatoes.

green crop oatsOther green crops to sow now are oats to integrate calcium and for loads of biomass, wheat for soil building and biomass, lupin for biomass and nitrogen fixation, mustard for biomass, soil cleanse and beneficial insects.

For those of you with cloches or other winter cover – get another lot of saladings underway. Include rocket, coriander, kale, endive, puha – lots of peppery and zingy leaves to keep your pecker up over winter. We’ve been really enjoying Anna’s mesclun mix this autumn – the perfect combo of sweet and tang. See www.loveplantlife.com to order yours.

Companion flowers to sow now for spring flowering are poppies, anchusa, snap dragons, borage, calendula and heartsease. As important as the food crops people.

Make some time to potter round your garden with a watering can full of liquid feed. It’ll give everyone a booster before the soils slow down.