December In The Vegie Patch And Summer Soil Care

Wow – from one extreme to the other! From super soggy soil to concrete. Met service predicted hot and dry, gee I wish I’d believed them! I’ve spent November on a mad mission to get the soil mulched. Everything that could be pruned or cut down has been and still I’ve been left wanting. A few bales of barley straw have been bought to finish things off.

Soil health is going to be our number one mission this summer, my friends. Here are the two things that will save your soil this summer

Proper Watering

The key thing is to check first, poke your finger into the soil and see if it needs water or not. And then when you do water be sure to get the soil nice and moist. Keep a nice rhythm of moist, letting it just dry out, then get moist again.

I’ve written a whole blogpost on it already, you can read it here.

yarrow fennel and parsley mulch


Mulch is your soils shelter. It keeps the moisture in, provides a roof over the worms heads, and drip feeds the soil life. What a difference that layer makes! If all your mind can conjure at the word mulch, is pea straw then have I got news for you! – mulch is so much more than pea straw.

Mulching also doubles as weeding. When the weeds are too big for the hoe, just pile mulch on top. The weeds will return to the soil a la nature’s way, delighting the worms/ soil life beneath. You also are delighted not having to put your back or knees out.

The very best mulch, the one that gets the soil life humming and keeps the moisture in is a mixed mulch made up of garden debris. the homemade mulch I go on and on and on about….. 🙂 Failing that, any mulch is a good thing. Stretch your mind – sacks and old blankets are good as gold.

tomatoes ready to plant out

Planting Tips for Hot Days

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.

dwarf beans

The job list for December

  • Take a daily evening stroll about the estate to check on everyone’s health. Any emerging pests or problems can be nipped in the bud. This is as good for you as the garden – a moment to unwind, to breathe in nature and slow the heck down 🙂
  • A successional sowing of beans, corn, cucumbers and zucchini – direct sow as preference. Keep your harvests flowing in.
  • Plant out another lot of outside tomatoes, basil, parsley, silverbeet and salads.
  • Direct sow dill, basil, chervil, saladings, magenta spreen, beetroot, carrots, coriander.
  • Sow as many summer greencrops as you can find spaces for – phacelia, buckwheat, mustard or lupin. These begin as a much-needed rest for your soil, become nectar for the beneficial insects and end up as mulch or compost.
  • Plant out kumara and yams.
  • Plant out leeks for winter harvest, into excellent soil.
  • Scatter some autumn flower seed about. Flowers like zinnia, gaillardia, cosmos, sunflowers, anise hyssop, cleome, mignonette and marigolds – whatever your favourites are.
  • Look after your soil with best watering and mulch mulch mulch!