Spring action

So much happening now that the spring equinox has been and passed! The days are finally longer than the nights, and everything seem to have an enormous growth spurt, weeds included. Here’s what’s to be done this week, and when, and what needs to be prepared now so that next week is a breeze.

New moon: Saturday 1st October

  • Outside, direct sow radish, beetroot, carrot, turnip and parsnip (these last ones thake a loooong time to mature). Good days are Sunday and Monday.
  • Outside or on a windowsill/greenhouse, sow nasturtium, sweet pea, lettuce, coriander, parsley, rocket and peas. If you sow them outside, it can be a good idea to put up a cloche with plastic or bug netting to protect them as they germinate. Slugs, snails and birds will fight for the first shoots! Germinated in a protected space, you can plant them out when about 8cm tall and they will withstand the attacs a bit better.
  • In a greenhouse or on a windowsill, sow pumpkin, zuccini, tomato, cucumber and dwarf beans. This is best done next Saturday, 8th.
  • Put up cloches to warm the soil so you can plant out the first zuccini and beans. Next week is the very earliest you can do this, and only in a well sheltered spot with a plastic cloche.
  • In a really warm place, 20ºC all the time, sow eggplant, capsicum, chilli and melons. I find none of these do well here out of doors, so if you plan on growing them, make sure you’ve got space in your greenhouse and big pots, or good cloches for the whole season and pamper them a lot. Chilli can grow indoors all year round though.
  • Put fertiliser under fruit trees – last opportunity before autumn! Over summer, just foliar feed them regularly.
  • Fix the understorey under fruit trees: plant companions and mulch.
  • Bring your surplus seedlings and leftover seeds to the Seed & Seedling Swap & Sale at workerBe oasis’ Spring Celebration Sunday 9th!

flyer-spring-event-2016

Prepare now for next week (first quarter starting Sunday 9th October)

  • If you’re growing plants from seed, make sure you have what you need to prick out seedlings as soon as the cotyledons (very first leaves, that don’t look like the “normal” leaves) have opened. And find a good space where they have enough light for the time they’ll spend in pots!
  • Make and apply compost: I’ve got a pile from last summer that’s been maturing over winter and another that’s half-way through with all the prunings and leaves from autumn and winter. I’ll use the ripe one, turn the half-way one, and build a new with all the vegetation I’m pulling off the beds now.
  • Prepare beds: take out all vegetation and, depending on how compacted the soil is, either double dig or fork open. Spread 2-5cm of compost and a good fertiliser (either RokSolid or Nature’s Garden), fork it into the top 10cm and rake the surface ready to plant or sow.
  • If you need to fill in a lawn, next week is a good time to prepare it. Get lime, a fork, fertiliser and lawn seed ready in advance.
  • If you want to grow onions, buy seedlings now so you can plant them 11/10.
  • Use any of the foliar feed recipies I shared recently to prepare a good brew! You’ll put it on next week.
  • Prepare to plant out “leafies” 14-16th: celery, cabbages (kale & cavolo nero too), spinach, lettuce, silver beet… Buy seedlings a few days or a week in advance and harden them off by putting them progressively more and more outside, so they don’t get a chock when they are planted.

Hope this helps! And welcome to the Spring Celebration 9th October, 1-4pm, I’ll be running a free 101 Food Growing workshop as a launch of the workshop series “Grow More Veges”. Six 90-minute sessions on Wednesdays, starting October 19th – register now!

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