February in the Vegie Patch – Cabbage Whites & Hot Days

feb in the vegie gardenAside from keeping everything alive with regular watering and feeding, our most pressing job is sowing and planting the winter food garden. No mean feat when it’s hot and dry.

Planting Tips for Hot Days

The difference that shade makes

brocolli shade houseIn 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. Simply drape shadecloth or hessian over cloche hoops and pop a rock on the ends. If you don’t have cloche hoops then bang a few short stakes in the ground up the centre of the bed and at the ends and drape the shadecloth over these. Tent pegs are also useful for securing the ends.

What to Sow and Plant in February

  • Direct sow dwarf beans, basil, beetroot, carrots, parsnips, florence fennell. I get all my winter carrots and parsnips underway this month. They’ll be mature by the time the soil cools off and keep beautifully over winter in natures fridge!
  • Direct sow companion flowers like calendula, chamomile, larkspur, wallflower, cornflower, snapdragons, love in a mist, borage
  • Direct sow greencrops – phacelia, lupin, buckwheat or mustard to give your soil a rest between crops and to provide mulch for autumn plantings.
  • Direct sow (in the shade) coriander, parsley, saladings, rocket
  • Tray Sow silverbeet, spring onion, celery
  • Plant out another zuchinni
  • Plant out (in the shade) broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, silverbeet, parsley, celery.

love in a mist

Two ways to Manage Cabbage Whites

  1. BT (Bacillus Thuringiensis) is your friend in the war on cabbage whites. It’s the active ingredient in Kiwicare’s Caterpillar Killer and Dipel. Mix it up and spray it all over your brassicas (fortnightly to keep up with the egg hatchings). Only impacts those that eat the leaves (which is what makes it safe for bees, ladybugs and all our other friends), they’ll suffer a bad tummy ache and shortly thereafter meet their maker. Keep this job on your radar until the heat subsides and the cabbage whites disappear late autumn.
  2. Another option is to use a row cover, the same fine mesh that keeps psyllids out will keep the moths (yes it is a moth, not a butterfly!) from laying eggs on your precious cabbages, there by preventing the caterpillars in the first place.

 

Comments

  1. Kath, as always, this newsletter is so vibrant and enthusing. The difficult can be done! I appreciate your titbits of advice – some are things I wish I’d thought of! Your listing of the month’s tasks is a great reminder – it’s so easy to lose track of the time. Thank you.