January in the Vegie Patch

flax greencropTo get the best out of all that hard-won fertility in your vegie patch you want to make sure that as your summer crops wind up, another lot of something takes over. Yes, it’s that scary “planning” word! Go on, I dare you – look ahead. What do you want to be eating this autumn?

Tomatoes planted early January will keep going right through to early winter if the weather is kind. Zucchini, cucumber and dwarf beans planted now will feed you and yours through autumn. A couple of cabbages, caulis and broccoli tray sown every 2 or 3 weeks from mid January to March will provide a continuous harvest from autumn right through spring (all going well). Hedge your bets by growing a variety of crops. A wetter, cooler autumn will favour brassicas and a drier hotter one cucumber, zuchinni, beans and tomatoes. (Somewhere in between and you’ll be setting up a road-side vegie stall)

Getting ready for autumn will be the hot topic at our Summer Garden Tour and Harvest Lunch in February. You wont believe the thrill when you head into yet more abundance in April – there is life after tomatoes!

It’s time to

  • Plant out your last lot of Dwarf Beans, Basil, Tomato, Cucumber and Zuchinni.
  • Direct sow Salads (choose heat lovers like Tree lettuce, Merveille de Quarter Saison, Drunken Woman, Oak Leaf)
  • Direct sow another lot of Rocket and Coriander.
  • Direct sow Beetroot (don’t let it dry out or you’ll pay with woody roots) and Radish.
  • Sow summer greencrops (phacelia, mustard, buckwheat, linseed) in any gaps made by harvesting.
  • Make a compost for autumn plantings.
  • Prepare the first of your brassica beds. Mine are being dosed with a generous layer of rotten cow manure which will be watered in, covered with mulch and left to do it’s thing. A legume greencrop sown now for late February or March plantings would also be great.

Linseed (Flax) is a very useful greencrop if you have a small garden as its only 1m high and on thin delicate stems. Oh so pretty with her sky blue flowers (pictured). Just use the organic linseed in your pantry. Direct sow and protect from the birds.

Toss another lot of flower seed about to continue the fodder for the bees et all. Stock, snapdragon, calendula, borage, primula, and chamomile are all good options. Most of these you will only need to sow once and they will happily self seed for you ever after (self sufficient plants are the ones we love). Chamomile is one of my top ten companion plants. As well as being very pretty we drink it, mulch it, compost it and the beneficial insects love it too.



  1. Hi Kath,
    Do you know where I might get cow manure? I’m based in the Hutt and have been using horse manure but the horses are being wormed regularly which doesn’t help the garden worms much. Not to mention the weed seed!
    Any ideas much appriciated.

    • Hi Justine

      Sorry to say I have no idea down your way. I would find a local organic farm and ask. It’ll be worth the effort as cow manure is the best!

      happy gardening

  2. Doreen Heron says:

    Opened my emails this morning after a few days away and off the grid.
    Sorry to read that you have hurt your back. I commiiserate with you having tweaked mine a couple of days ago when at Mt Holsworth with friends.
    Hope that you heal quickly and are back in your wonderful garden doing what you love best.

    Here’s to happy gardening real soon.

    • Thanks Doreen! We dont realise how amazing our bodies are until we wreck them! I’m nearly back in full action again, hope you are too. regards kath