January in The Vegie Patch + Brassica Preparation

forksta3 months until Autumn hits! At the risk of not being present to summer – let’s think about dinner in Autumn. Let’s get some new stuff planted to keep your vegie patch abundant … not in an excessive way – in a regular, daily way.

January is an opportunity to extend our summer crops. To create a lovely continuity after our current crops call it quits. Successional planting/ sowing is the proper name. Let’s just call it – not going hungry, little and often planting, or production plus 🙂

  • Plant out another lot of dwarf Beans and Basil. Another one or two Tomato, Cucumber and/or Zucchini.
  • Direct sow Salads (choose heat lovers like Tree lettuce, Merveille de Quarter Saison, Drunken Woman, Oak Leaf, Summer Queen), and another lot of Rocket, Radish and Coriander – all on the shady side.
  • Direct sow Beetroot. Use your edges for this, unless you need a heap to pickle/ bottle you don’t need a whole bed. Such a small efficient crop, they can be squeezed in anywhere.
  • Tray sow leeks and first brassicas
  • Make compost for autumn plantings.
  • Toss another lot of flower seed about to continue the fodder for the bees et al, and for the sheer pleasure flowers bring your good self. Stock, snapdragon, calendula, borage, primula, and chamomile … so many options here! Choose vigorous self-seeders – sow once and enjoy them ever more. Self-sufficient plants we love and adore.


Find Garlic Seed

My darling friends – it’s no good coming to me in May or June asking where to get garlic seed. I’ll tell you – sorry mate, but the good stuff is sold out. Start the hunt now! For good quality, heritage garlic try Sethas Seeds, or NZgarlic or Country Trading.

Looking Ahead to Leeks + Brassica’s

brocolli seedlings

Let’s look ahead to what we’re going to be eating this winter. Now! In the middle of summer! Satisfaction guaranteed when the ending of one crop overlaps the beginning of the next.

  • Sow greencrops (phacelia, lupin, mustard, buckwheat, linseed) in any gaps made by harvesting, to rest and rebuild your soil, paving the way for winter crops
  • Tray sow your first lot of leeks, brussels sprouts and celery.

Get ready for hungry brassica’s – two ways:

  1. Sow a legume greencrop (+ lime if you are on clay soils). Cut it down in its prime – right about flowering time. Broadfork the bed, spread compost + minerals, then mulch with the greencrop and leave to settle before planting out.
  2. Or Broadfork/ aerate the bed, give it a good water (or do this on a rainy day), then cover the whole bed in rotten manure. Mulch generously and leave it to percolate for 6 weeks or so.

I start planting out brassica’s late January/ early February and sow a mixed tray (3 or 4 each of cauli, cabbage, broccoli) every 3 or so weeks for regular harvests Autumn through Spring.

My Autumn Open Day is all about this continuity, about keeping your vegie patch going year round. Exciting huh!



  1. Hi Kath,
    My garlic (like so many others) got rust in the last month before harvest but other than the rust looks like lovely fat, healthy cloves. Is it okay to use this as seed garlic or shall I start again with new garlic cloves?

    • Hi Nikki. Yes! Apparently you can use the same seed. Goes against the grain doesn’t it? I have it on good authority (Sethas Seeds) that it doesn’t carry over in the seed. I will doing this for the first time as well.
      happy gardening!