September In The Vegie Patch


So much cool stuff to do in the food garden at the mo. So much prettiness to soak up and enjoy. I am out there every spare moment!

In the Vegie Patch

Take your cropping success next level and check your soil temperature before planting or sowing anything. Align your crop choices with it. Nature is finely tuned to temperature.

Plant out celery, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, kale, silverbeet, parsley, salads, onions, leeks, potatoes.
Direct sow carrots, kohlrabi, beetroot, turnip, parsnip, rocket, chicory, endive, spinach, mesclun, miners lettuce, corn salad, salads, bok choy, kale, snopeas, peas, broadbeans, fennel, dill, coriander, shallots, spring onions.
Tray sow celeriac, salads, silverbeet, parsley, chervil.
Companion flowers Direct, or tray sow, or plant as many as you can cram in! eg: calendula, cornflower, poppy, nasturtium, borage, sweet pea, snapdragon, aquilegia, viola, wallflower, larkspur, hollyhock.

In the Greenhouse (or under cover)

Tray sow tomato, chilli, pepper, aubergine, zucchini, cucumber, melon. Because I live at the foothills of the Tararuas, these will all be grown in my greenhouse.

Depending on how the season rolls out I’ll be sowing outside crops of zucchini, cucumber, tomato next month for planting in November.

Don’t jones out and rush into summer crops if you live somewhere cool. Patience grasshopper. Planting heat lovers when its hot means less stress, less pest, more crops, happy gardener.

Direct sow dwarf beans, salads, courgette. Love my greenhouse for providing a warm place to grow these guys in this early on.

Begin your kumara shoots.

Here Comes The Asparagus!


Blimmey, could it get more exciting! Asparagus is popping up and soon to be part of dinner. Hopefully your patch is weed free, composted, mulched = ready for a productive season. If you’ve yet to weed be ever so careful – the spears are super fragile and break off with the slightest knock.

Happiness Is Homegrown, New Potatoes For Christmas.

spuds in buckets

Having spent a good portion of my life coaxing vegetables from soil, I’m weather wary. Between now and the arrival of summer there will be days for shorts, days for raincoats, and days for beanies. I’m cautious with the planting out of tender crops like potatoes – such a waste when they get bowled over by late frosts.

So my first lot of spuds go into buckets – a great use for cracked, broken buckets (sacks are another good option).

Choose fast growers like Rocket, Swift, Liseta or even Cliff Kidney.

Make holes in the bottom for drainage and line with about 10cm of compost. Homemade compost is best – no where near as rich as bought stuff, and no where near as fine. Those undigested bits make air and worm pockets. Bought stuff is too dense, too rich – so mix it with something to bring air – pumice, soil or straw or some such.

Lay your seed potato in (one per 10litre bucket), on top of a few bits of seaweed if you’re lucky enough to be seaside. Top the bucket up with compost/ or straw/ or old hay or a mix of the above to bury the spud – and you’re off!

When it starts to heat up you’ll need to move the bucket amongst shrubs to keep the soil cool (leaving the tops in the light).

This is never going to produce the same amount were the tubers in the ground, but it gives those of us on heavy wet ground the opportunity for early potatoes.

If you stagger plantings, you’ll stagger the harvest. Little and often is  achievable, and so very useful.


  1. hi Kath, last year my raspberries, boysenberries and hortberry had an infestation of caterpillars in them and rendered the majority of the fruit inedible. The thing burrowed its way down the centre of the fruit to lay its eggs. Would you know what this is and how to avoid it this season?

    Warmest regards,

    • Hi Jo – that’s a real bummer! Let me know if it was a small white worm or a caterpillar?

      • hi Kath, I think it was a small brown caterpillar from memory. There were lots of moths around the berries and we wondered if that was the final product?
        Warmest regards

        • yip that’ll be it then raspberry bud moth (was ruling out the other option – a fruit fly relation).
          Begin with pruning and burning your prunings. Tie your raspberries to the frame keeping them open and well spread so that the spray is effective. I’d use dipel or any spray with the active ingredient BT bacillus thurengensis, a caterpillar specific spray. You need to achieve good foliage coverage. When the eggs hatch out they bite the foliage and die – hurrah! Fortnightly sprays will keep up with egg hatchings. I hope you have a backpack sprayer to make this job easy.
          My raspberry pest is shield bugs who suck the life out of them leaving corky berries – I too have to spray every fortnight but with Neem. Its a mission but Raspberries are so worth it!
          hope this helps
          love to hear how you get on
          kind regards

          • hi Kath, thank you!! I’ll get spraying with dipel and let you know how it goes.

            Happy gardening!

  2. Spring is such an exciting time of year. I’m from the northern hemisphere and I get such a kick out of seeing your season ramp up (asparagus!) while ours is starting to wind down (garlic!). Good luck in the garden!

  3. I would like to have a contiuous supply of leeks through the winter and into the spring,I live in the Waikato.When should I sow the seeds?

  4. Hi Kath
    Could you recommend an alternative to pea straw to use around potted strawberry plants, hard to buy locally so wondered if seaweed would be ok..though it dries hard and woody? Much appreciated

    • Seaweed is best under the mulch to make the most of it, but you can get what locals call tea leaves from the beach which is the broken up woody seaweedy brew dumped at the tide line. Also you can use any runings/ crop waste/ leaf litter/ grass clippings and mix them together for an excellent mulch.
      Happy gardening Kath

  5. Hi Kath, I planted out broccoli about a month ago and it had bolted and is starting to flower. Would you know why that could be?
    Thanks, Holly

  6. Yes that’s probably it! We had a couple of nice warm spring weeks then turned cold again a few days ago. I’m in the top of the South Island so it fluctuates a bit at this time of the year.