January in the Vegie Patch

beneath the mulchI am over-joyed to find delicious dirt beneath the mulch after all these hot days! Dark, damp, wormy and smelling fine. It’s good nick has alot to do with the often topped up layer of organic matter (mulch) spread over it. Keeps the soil life fed and housed and multiplying. Mulch is your weapon against dry, dead soils.

Homemade Mulch

And by mulch I mean any old thing, don’t go mortgaging your house for fancy store bought stuff. In the absence of garden waste (which I find hard to believe – there are always things to prune or weed) there will be an old blanket lurking in the shed, a daggy jersey he’ll never miss, or plenty of organic matter on the roadside (bracken, pine needles, seawrack)….. mulch is everywhere!

The thing is to get it on when the soil is moist, and there after to keep topping it up which is not as arduous as it sounds. Whenever you mow, spread it on. Whenever you weed or prune – cut it up and spread it on.  Returning these bits brings your garden full circle – as it grew it took, now it’s given back.

living mulchLiving Mulch

Save yourself the trouble and plant for total ground cover in your perennial gardens. Where one plant flows into the next; as one finishes another is shooting up to take its place – a garden without gaps. Comfrey and yarrow give 100% when it comes to covering ground, which is why organic gardeners madly plant them beneath their productive trees.

It’s time to:

  • Plant out your last lot of Dwarf Beans, Basil, Tomato, Cucumber and Zucchini.
  • Direct sow Salads (choose heat lovers like Tree lettuce, Merveille de Quarter Saison, Drunken Woman, Oak Leaf, Summer Queen)
  • Direct sow another lot of Rocket, Radish and Coriander on the shady side.
  • Direct sow Beetroot.
  • Sow greencrops (phacelia, lupin, mustard, buckwheat, linseed) in any gaps made by harvesting.
  • Make a compost for autumn plantings.
  • Prepare the first of your brassica beds. A legume greencrop sown now for late February or March plantings is one way. A layer of rotten manure spread over the bed, watered in, covered with mulch and left to do it’s thing is also great.
  • Toss another lot of flower seed about to continue the fodder for the bees et all, and for the sheer pleasure flowers bring your good self. 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 (We love and adore self sufficient plants).




  1. HI, my name is Trish and I live in Queensland Australia.south of Brisbane. I have planted a Kerrie Berry. It is growing very well and all over the place but so far has not flowered.I can’t seem to get a lot of good information on growing habits, fruiting time. soil and water. It has been in the ground since March 2015.. Could you give me information or direct me to a site that will give me the information and show me the plant growing ,flowering and fruiting Thanks Trish.

    • Hi Trish

      So sorry but I have never even heard of a Kerrie Berry! I recommend chatting to someone in Aussie – perhaps the amazing crew at Milkwood can help you out.

      best Kath

      • Hi Kath, I was told that it was from NZ, The hybrid of a blackberry.,grown and breed in NZ,thats why I bought it as it should grow in my area. I will try Milkwood… Thanks Trish

        • Hi Kath, On further looking the plant is from Asian countries and it is grown commercially in NZ and that is the NZ connection to my plant . Thanks Trish.

          • Thanks for letting me know! I cant believe I’ve never heard of it – I’ll keep a look out. Meantime hope you find the answers and get some fruit.

            best Kath

  2. Wayne Jacobsen says:

    Wondering where you get seed for the “Drunken Woman” lettuce?

  3. Thanks for the January garden inspiration. We have increased out garden beds this year so time to get planting. And will look into the leeaky hose as we have a water tank on very low pressure so this just might be the answer. Thanks for the tip!

    • You’re welcome! More garden – how exciting! I hope the new greenhouse is working out well.

      • Hi all, we have been using leaky hose for several years now and it’s fantastic! we are on gravity-feed water supply and it works really well. My hubby got all creative this season and has made little hose rings around each tomato plant plus the eggplant etc. It looks hilarious but water delivery is guaranteed to each plant. happy gardening to you all. Pauline

        • Thanks so much for dropping by Pauline, so pleased to hear from a fellow lover of leaky hose!! (Our water is gravity fed too – lucky us :)) I can just hear your husbands mind ticking over with his improvements/ ideas….. Wishing you an abundant season, Kath

        • Hi, the little hose rings sounds very interesting! Could we see a photo of this masterpiece? Do leaky hoses come in small diameter? The one we tried takes up
          a lot of space!

          • The leaky hose is buried, so will have to unearth it to take a photo! Its the same size as a regular garden hose, takes up no room at all in the garden. The rings are used by mechanics to do up hoses – you’ll find them at Repco, farmlands etc. Hunkin.co.nz have lots of detail about the leaky hoses. best Kath