March In The Vegie Patch

Autumn is here and once the nights start cooling off the soil will soon follow. Those cooler temps slow growth right down. May plantings will take much longer to mature than April plantings, taking longer again than March plantings. The moral of this story is to plant some winter stuff today.

Brocolli seedlings

Getting Winter Crops growing

  • Another lot of broccoli, cabbage and cauli can be transplanted and more tray or direct sown. Once transplanted, liquid feed weekly to grow them fast before the cold hits. Take care when planting on hot sunny days and don’t forget a fortnightly squirt of Dipel or Yates Natures Way Caterpillar Killer to stop the cabbage whites decimating your seedlings.
  • Rootcrops (carrots, parsnip, turnip, beetroot, florence fennel) can all be direct sown, and if you are counting on eating them through winter then best you boogie.
  • Plant salads beside the brassicas. They’ll grow fast in the rich soil, and be well finished before the brassicas begin.
  • Direct sow broadbeans, mizuna, salads and kale.
  • Direct sow coriander and rocket. Don’t buy a 6 pack and transplant them – they’ll shoot off to seed on the next hot day. Spend $4 on a pack of seed with 50 potential plants in it and sprinkle a few seed each month directly in the garden, thereafter let them self-seed of their own accord.
  • Parsley, celery and silverbeet are the backbone of my winter kitchen and all need to be transplanted this month. It’s too late (down this end of the island) to sow them now and get a winter crop,  so if you don’t have the seedlings raised then go buy them.
  • Winter greencrops like oats, wheat, lupin and mustard should all be going in this month. Oats and wheat are magic for heavy soils – those big root systems open them up, and at the other end of their life they make the best mulch.
  • If miners lettuce and cornsalad aren’t already established self-seeders in your patch then throw some of this seed about too.
  • Sow lots of flowers. This is really important to be sure the bees are well fed through winter and spring.

Chard (1)

Top up your Dung Heap

Back in the day everyone had a dung heap. Before there were blue pills for gardens, there were cow do’s. And the cow do’s win. Rotten manure grows the best soil,  the best vegies and the best roses.

A dung heap is simply a pile of manure.

  • Put it somewhere where the runoff will be appreciated (eg near a rhubarb).
  • Keep it covered.
  • Add fresh do’s to the pile as you collect them.
  • Scrape out rotten do’s as you need them (to prepare a bed or for side dressing).

A dung heap will improve your garden like you wouldn’t believe. Poo is THE BEST.