Gardening jobs – Sunday 3rd June 2018

This weekend has turned on some spectacular Winter weather – cold, crisp, and sunshiny, with barely a cloud in the sky. Perfect weather for that endless winter weeding, provided I rug up well! It was touch-and-go for a minute, when I couldn’t find my woolly winter beanie, but crisis was averted, and out I went.

The sunshine of the past week that followed some wet weather caused germination of many weed seeds, so I have spent two days weeding, and then mulching with sugar cane straw to try to prevent the weeds returning. Some people believe that sugar cane mulch causes nitrogen drawdown, but I have never seen any evidence of that, and I am happy to use it in my garden.

Compost ready for the garden bed

I also spent a happy hour turning the compost in my bin and digging out the fresh compost to add to the garden. There was enough in there to add to a whole new section of garden. I cleared that section of weeds, and added the compost, before planting brassica seedlings from my raised seedling bed. These included a mix of broccoli (Green Sprouting), cauliflower (Purple Cape), and cabbage (Mini Drum). After watering in, I mulched and then fed with seaweed solution to prevent transplant shock.

Happy Broccoli seedling tucked into a freshly mulched garden bed

Hand weeding allows you to take stock of changes in the garden. For example, my bed of mixed greens (silverbeet, rocket, and coriander) are now ready to start picking. They are still at the lovely, sweet, tender stage and are really delicious. Coriander is a tricky herb. It can only be planted in cooler weather, as it will bolt straight to seed as soon as any hint of warmer weather hits. It also dislikes transplanting, so it is best to grow it directly from seed and then leave it alone to grow quickly. Pick it frequently so it grows nice and bushy, and ensure you keep it well watered. Some people dislike it intensely, but our family loves it. I have planted a lot and will plant some more in a couple of weeks to ensure a good supply while I can grow it myself. I tend not to buy herbs, as I have the space to grow all I need, but I make an exception for coriander in the Summer.

Rocket, silverbeet, coriander

The beetroot I thinned a couple of weeks ago is responding to the extra room. It is time to plant some more though so I can have a steady supply of fresh beetroot during the cooler months.

Beetroot seedlings

The broad beans and peas I planted recently are taking off. I have purple-podded peas, dwarf snow peas, and although I have planted three kinds of broad beans, to date only two have germinated. I think the third packet, which I found at the bottom of my seed tin, was too old. I will give it another week before accepting defeat, though.

Broad bean (Aquadulce)

The Crimson-flowered broad bean started flowering this week. These were planted about a month ahead of the Aquadulce, so this is not surprising. It was exciting to see the flash of red in the mostly green and brown garden.

I’m having a week off work this week, so I’m hoping for a few more pleasant days to get out in the garden. Next job on my list: rose pruning, and transplanting some very unhappy feijoas.

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