Nov 5, 2010
I have been lucky enough to speak with lots of you this month, both through email and while I have been working at the yard. As is the usual pattern for November, many of you (including myself) are busy in the garden both generally and vegetables. I have been busy cracking with whip (we have a lawn that desperately needs to by laid) as well as busy harvesting vegetables. I have learned how to prepare beetroot both traditionally and for use in stirfrys. I have had a plentiful harvest of big cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage which is due, I think to all the regular feeding. In the process I have also found a great recipe for slightly Asian version of a coleslaw. (See below)
After harvesting the last of my winter vegetables I have now got a lot of space in my vegetable patch. The number one reason for crop failure is insufficient numbers of nutrients in the soil. Remember that topsoil has virtually no nutrients, especially after a busy growing season. It is really important that at this point you replenish the nutrients in your garden. I have topped all my gardens up with Living Earth Garden Mix. I found that over the last two seasons (which is the last time I topped up my gardens) that I have had a lot of earth settling or sinking, which is why I have decided to top up the gardens. You may find that you still have plenty of soil but need nutrients only. If this is the case you could use Living Earth liquid compost, work through sheep pallets, gypsum or another slow release fertilizer. (All of these products are available at either of our yards in St Johns or Henderson)
What to Plant:
I already planted my tomatoes just before Labour Weekend, they are still small and I can't rule out planting more, but at least I have some started. It is definitely not too late to plant tomatoes now, remember to have stakes ready for those ones that will require it. I have actually planted quite a few as I am planning to bottle them for recipe bases and pasta sauces.
Strawberries should be really taking off. Mine are a little bit slow, but they are not in the best spot in terms of how much sun they are receiving. I am going to leave them and see how they go...
I have already planted snow peas, which are already cropping and great for salads and stirfrys. My broad beans are really coming along beautifully, but will need a wee bit longer before they are ready to harvest. Lettuces are well on the way, carrots are being harvested (these I plant straight from seed, as I do beetroot and radishes) All of these vegetables I will plant in rounds, a new crop every six weeks.
In the last few days I have planted my capsicums, my chillis, my corgettes and my cucumber. This is a bit of a gamble as these seedlings really do need warm weather to flourish. The night time temperature really needs to be above 13 degrees C. I will see how they go this month and if they are not doing too well I will plant another batch in December.
Of course you can also plant a host of other things, sweetcorn, potatoes, watermelons, just about anything will grow at this time of the year.
What is important
It is most important to remember to water your plants through the summer. Thirsty plants will not crop well, so water them and mulch them. The mulch helps to keep pests away as well as hold in the much needed water. Feed vegetables every 6 weeks or so over the next few months.
My Summer Experiment
One of our supplier has told my about a study that has being carried out which proves that if you place a red mulch underneath vegetables that are red in colour you will triple your yield. I have mulched my tomatoes, strawberries and capsicums to see if this does indeed work. The coloured mulch that I am using has got a dye in it, but it is organic and toxin free.