Protecting young plants
From my last few posts, and probably your own experience too, you gather the importance of good care for your young “babies” freshly planted out in the garden. Wellington weather in this season varies wildly, and a night of southerlies can check the growth for several days or even weeks.
This coming week, we have quite stable temperatures, although windy and dry. This is a good thing! Hopefully, the soil will warm up – especially if you have cloches or black plastic out – and be ready to welcome some heatlovers in a couple of weeks: zucchini, green beans, and the first tomatos.
To do 14th – 21st October (Full moon Sunday 16th)
- Prick out & plant out leafy plants: lettuce, chard/silverbeet, spinach, cabbage, kale, cavolo nero… Best done 14-16th.
- Foliar feed today Friday if you didn’t yesterday, and then again Wednesday 19th – seaweed is ideal with all the micronutrients.
- Prick out tomatos, eggplants, zuccinis and other fruiting plants Monday 17th and Tuesday 18th.
- Sow lawn seeds on prepared areas on the day of the full moon for quick germination.
- Wednesday 19th October is ideal for seed sowing too:
- plant main crop potatos
- sow seeds to grow seedlings for planting out in December.
- direct sow beetroot, carrot and turnips
- sow autumn flowers and leafy greens – can also be done on the following weekend
- Set up protection systems for young newly transplanted seedlings: cloches for warmth, netting against the birds, foliar feed for extra nutrients, diatomaceous earth to deal with snails and slugs…
- Hoe all the newly planted beds so the soil surface doesn’t crust over and young weeds don’t get established.
- If you have access to a good source of mulch (cacao husks is my favorite), apply some now: make sure the soil is moist, then water while you’re adding thin layer after thin layer of mulch. Otherwise it either blows away or stops the rain from getting through to the roots! Then be extra vigilant in snail/slug patrol at night, as they tend to move in to the mulch and breed there.
To prepare now for next week
- Check your irrigation system and make sure it’s practical for you – you’ll start using it soon! If you have young fruit trees, how will you water them?
- If you don’t have comfrey in your carden, try and get hold of some roots to to plant!
- If you do have comfrey, it has probably sprouted now and the shoots show you where the different roots are. If they’re close together, dig some out to make more space and either transplant to another area where they can spread, or make them root in some potting mix and give away to other gardeners 🙂
- Source mulch for your tomatos, zuccinis and other bigger plants
- Get nets and hoops ready for berry beds
My workshop series on how to grow food efficiently on a small surface, “Grow More Veges” runs on Wednesdays from 19th October – still spaces left, so sign up now! You can register for one workshop or the bundle of six, up to you. As always, 2 spots are available for Timebank credits.