A picture is worth a thousand words…a walk in the garden today.

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How to sow seeds

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When you’re new to vegetable gardening the easiest way to get started is to buy some seedlings from a garden centre and plant them out. However the range of things to plant and the varieties available are very limiting, so sowing from seed is the way to go. There are many organic seed companies that you can order from online, or you may have a gardening friend who saves their own seed and is happy to share some with you. Beware though, looking through seed catalogues is addictive and often results in you buying more seeds than you have space for in the garden!

Here is my guide for some common vegetables and how best to sow them:

Seeds that should be sown directly into a garden bed:

Parsnip
Swede
Beetroot
Carrot
Radish
Beans
Peas
Turnip

Seeds that are best sown into seedling punnets and planted out as seedlings:

Tomato
Capsicum
Eggplant
Broccoli
Cabbage
Brussel sprouts
Kale
Cauliflower
Celery
Onion

Seeds that can either be sown direct or into seedling punnets first:

Rocket
Pumpkin*
Corn
Zucchini*
Squash*
Cucumber*
Leek
Spring onion
Spinach
Lettuce

*Careful not to disturb the roots of these seedlings when planting out

It’s also important to plant seeds at the correct depth, generally 2 to 3 times their width. Keep soil moist after planting but not soggy; if you let the soil dry out after the seed germinates it will die, if the soil is too wet the seed may rot before it even starts to grow. And remember to sow your seeds in their correct season!

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Sowing peas directly in the ground

What to grow in November (Cool/Temperate Climate)

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It’s 15ºC and raining outside on the first day of the last month of Spring. It’s just as well I’ve been too busy lately to get my summer vegetable seedlings planted early as the temperatures have been much cooler in our region this last month then they were this time last year.

The weather can be unpredictable sometimes and if you find that the early tomatoes, capsicums, eggplants etc. you planted on a beautiful sunny day in October are now shivering in an unexpected return of winter weather, you can always protect them with a mini greenhouse made from plastic bottles with the base cut out or some plastic plant guards until the warmer weather returns.

With the hope of sunny days ahead here’s what you can plant this month:

Potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, eggplants, capsicum, chillies, cucumbers, sweetcorn, celery, celeriac, globe artichokes, jerusalem artichokes, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Asian greens (pak choy, bok choy, wombok etc.), carrots, beetroot, swedes, turnips, radishes, beans (climbing and bush), spring onions, leeks, yacon, perennial spinach, zucchini, pumpkins, squash, lettuce, rocket, mizuna, basil, parsley, coriander, chives and most other herbs…

…and of course lots of sunflowers to bring out the sun!