The Vegie Patch in December

Anise HyssopIt’s one thing to be intrepid when it’s winter, to get all geared up and brave the elements – it’s supposed to be grotty in winter after all; but to have to carry on wearing coats and jumpers at the end of November when it’s supposed to be shorts and t-shirts?  Well, I’m complaining to whoever’s listening – what a crap spring! The lovely sunny days we have between the cold or wet or windy ones are like gems, aren’t they? But at the risk of sounding ungrateful I’d like more of them. I NEED more of them! And even though blah weather makes gardening uninspiring, it’s essential to dig deep and get out there to sow some new seeds each week so your garden continues its bountiful supply.

So, to the job list for December

  • A successional sowing of beans, corn, cucumbers and zucchini. Gardening is not a sport that you often feel brainy or clever at, apart from when you manage to get your timing spot on and the demise of one crop flows succinctly into the bounty of the next. Clever moment indeed! (By the way, I prefer to direct sow these crops, but on account of the recurring cold snaps and downpours I have tray sown my next lot of beans, zucchini and cucumber in the comfort of the greenhouse.)
  • Plant out another lot of outside tomatoes, basil, parsley, silverbeet, pumpkins and salads. If you are planting eggplants and peppers then do so under a cloche until it warms up again.
  • Direct sow coriander, dill, basil, chervil and saladings; beetroot and radishes. I normally stop sowing carrots and spinach in November because it’s too hot, but perhaps you could get away with another sowing this month.
  • Sow as many summer greencrops as you can find spaces for  – phacelia, buckwheat, mustard or lupin. These will start out as nectar for the beneficial insects and a much-needed rest for your soil, and end up as your next lot of mulch or compost.
  • Plant out kumara. Boy oh boy am I late this year (Not to worry, tis the same lateness as every other year, but still a good crop ensues) I have only just finished preparing my bed and any day now will pull the shoots and plant them out. The final blog in the kumara series will be on my facebook page (sorry to keep you all waiting!)
  • Plant out leeks for winter harvest, making sure to grow them in super dooper soil.
  • Scatter some autumn flower seed about – they are, of course as important as the successional crops. Flowers like zinnia, gaillardia, cosmos, sunflowers, anise hyssop (pictured above), mignonette and marigolds – whatever your favourites are.

Neem those suckers!

Use Neem to take care of all your sucking insect – aphids, thrips, scale, psyllids – before they become a problem. A stitch in time saves nine! This is why that daily garden walk is so important. They multiply like mad and every day left unattended counts (especially in this temperamental weather where plants can easily become stressed.)

It’s harvest time!

The first onion and garlic harvest will be upon us this month. This means having a supply of greencrop seed at hand to sow into the bed straight after emptying it. I’ll keep you posted on my facebook page as my garlic and onion matures and harvest draws near (hopefully the weather has turned and we have consecutive dry days to cure our crops)