March in the Vegie Garden

Extremes of weather really test our food growing systems. As you know, I’m always looking at how I can make my garden more robust, and therefore able to cope in extreme seasons such as this dry summer. Two things are key – preparation and variety.

I haven’t been watering my squash or corn, and the corn is not it’s usual juicy self. The earlier lot got some rain and shows it in its bigger cobs. The later lot has had very little ergo smaller cobs and less of them.

The squash however, are doing fine – plenty of fruit set and good healthy fruits. They were direct sown into piles of homemade compost and rotten manure, which I trenched a lot of food scraps round the outside of. They were watered until established then left to their own devices. The ground has been covered with one growing thing or another the whole season. If I poke my finger into the surrounding soil it’s still barely moist – amazing! I will be saving the squash seed (Walthams butternut, kamokamo, ironbark and green chestnut) as it’s stood up to the extreme weather test. Perhaps a new variety of corn is on the horizon though.

Seed to sowmarch vegie patch

Winter salads, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, broadbeans, peas, carrots, parsnip, beetroot, radish, coriander, rocket, florence fennel, lots of companion flowers, winter greencrops.

Planting out

Brassicas, saladings, silverbeet, celery, parsley.

Other Tasks

  • Take great care with your tomatoes as autumn dews set in – I am weekly spraying with dilute raw milk and plucking off older leaves as they turn yellow.
  • Prepare beds for winter crops.
  • Clean out your chook house – give it a good scrub and airing. Recycle all the bedding into your compost piles. Shake some diatomaceous earth (available from Commonsense Organics) around before you put your fresh bedding down, dust the chooks with it and can even add some to their sawdust yard/ dust bath.
  • If you don’t have a worm farm, you’ll need to make liquid feed for winter supply.
  • Keep on top of your cabbage whites and lopper caterpillars with regular Dipel sprays (also for sale at commonsense), or by netting them out. Dipel really is your best friend at this time of year!
  • Save seed off all your best plants.
  • Bottle, freeze, pickle, dry the excess.