November In The Vegie Patch & Wondermesh

I love November because Asparagus and Broadbeans are in it. Two of my favourites! Together! At the same time!

The November Weather/ Soil Watch

Is summer really coming? At the risk of jinxing it – it feels like it. NIWA are predicting warmer temperatures and settled weather in our neck of the woods and so far the signs line up – the soil in the vegie patch has just reached 15 degrees, the winter quilt is off and barefeet are in!

Even so I’ll ease into summer planting. I’ll plant out one zuchinni each month until January and staggered plantings of beans, corn and tomatoes between now and December. Because little and often is my gardening mantra. Little and often missions make for little and often harvests. That daily flow into the kitchen is what I’m all about. Little and often makes for doable bite size missions. Little and often keeps me in the garden regularly, catching weeds/disease and pests at their first sign when solutions are simple.

Pondering Wondermesh (The Cost Of Psyllid Free Potatoes)

wondermesh

Last month I posted this pic of my spuds growing happily beneath wondermesh, and a few of you were worried by the cost, so I thought I’d look into it. (Wondermesh prevents psyllids, a tiny pest that sucks the life out of potatoes resulting in small crops of small tubers with hard bits through them (no more creamy mash 🙁 ) Read all about psyllids here.)

Logisitics

To keep psyllids out you need a fabric with a 0.6mm weave. Which is so tiny it’s almost sheer. A tough fabric is also on my agenda – one that handles being used time and again without tearing. Something that’ll last years.

Which is why I use and recommend wondermesh. A 5m x 3.7m length costs $50 and covers 18sq/m.

A quick online search bough up plenty of NZ options – similar length/ width as above ranging in price from $36 to $72. Bear in mind we are comparing price here only, not quality.

Net Curtains?

In the string of comments on the FB post a few of you recommended net curtains. Which is a brilliant idea because if you pick them up at op shops they’d be cheap as chips, making psyllid free potatoes achievable for every budget. Is the weave tight enough though? I’d love to know.

The net curtains of my memory are too holey (possibly same as my memory…) Also you’d need to sew a few of them together to cover a potato patch – no big deal, but do be careful, the smallest hole will foil your carefully sewn plan.

Here’s my take

At $3.50 a kilo (give or take) for organic potatoes, my $50 bit of mesh pays for itself after just one bed of potatoes. An excellent investment, especially if you use it more than once a season.

What I’m Sowing and Planting this November

ladybird on buckwheat

  • Little and often patches of quick greenery like rocket, spinach, coriander, lettuce and mesclun.
  • Direct sow root crops of beetroot, radish and the last lot of carrots. Be sure to thin out earlier sowings of beetroot, parsnip and carrot as they hit four leaf, for good size crops.
  • Once the soil is steadily sitting at 15 degrees I’ll direct sow the first lot of climbing beans.
  • Kumara slips are about to go in (any day now!) I’m waiting for the soil in my kumara bed to hit 18 degrees – its getting a gee up under plastic as we speak.
  • Yams can be planted out if not already done.
  • Fresh plantings of parsley, perpetual beet and loads of saladings complete the picture.
  • Pumpkins/ squash seedlings are hardening off outside, soon to be planted out.
  • Outdoor cucumbers and tomatoes, and the first lot of corn and zucchini seedlings are growing well in the greenhouse. I like to have them at 4 to 5 leaves before hardening off and planting out. They’re that bit more robust if the weather dives and more likely to survive slugs.
  • In the greenhouse tomatoes, dwarf beans and cucumbers are flowering and growing like rockets in the warmth – keeping an eye on soil moisture hits the job list.
  • De-lateraling the greenhouse tomatoes is in – I do this to create single leaders that’ll grow up strings. The airflow is important for disease prevention, and it makes spraying and picking a dream.
  • Tray sow another lot of summer companion flowers like zinnias, sunflowers, marigolds and cleome.
  • Direct sow cornflowers and calendula.
  • Tray sow outside basil.
  • Direct sow phacelia and buckwheat in any gaps. No room in your vegie patch? How bout under your fruit trees? In your herb/ flower gardens?
  • Plant your maincrop potatoes and protect with wondermesh, or other cover of choice to keep the psyllids out.

Comments

  1. angi buettner says:

    Hi Kath,
    Thank you so much; I always look forward to your blog posts and they always make me go and work in the garden.
    Just one quick question: where can I get buckwheat seeds? And other green manure seeds?
    Many thanks,
    Angi

    • Hey there Ange,
      Go to kings seeds for all your greencrops. Buy a stash of them in one go so you have plenty to hand for the 1st of each month when I put you to work 🙂
      happy gardening
      Kath

  2. Hi Kath – awesome advice and reminders as always, thanks! Just interested in whether you sow/plant and/or fertiliser using a moon calendar?

    • Hi Nicky
      My goal yes – to follow the moon, though things don’t always line up that way. I’m not always available when the moon is ready! Also my priority though is always perfect conditions eg soil too cold for kumara planting in the right moon, so I wait.
      best Kath

  3. Charlotte Cohen says:

    Hi Kath
    How do you control aphids organically on lettuce. I see ants have also arrived. I live in Christchurch

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