by Fraser Bayley
It’s time to reap the rewards!
Now we are in the full swing of summer, you should be reaping the rewards of your gardening by enjoying some really good food.
This time of the year you should keep planting your salad greens.
By the end of this month you’ll want to be planting parsnips, carrots, cabbages and brussels for your late autumn/winter eating. Spuds could go in now for a good spud store for winter. If you aren’t sick of cucumbers and zucchinis yet you could get a quick crop in for a bumper autumn yield.
Keep the water up and remember to deep soak your soil rather than light watering on the surface. It is important to maintain a moist soil particularly around your tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, peppers and corn. From here on we will get some very hot days so a deep soak of an evening twice a week for most spots in your garden and maybe once more for the plants mentioned above should see a good crop and healthy plants.
Weed your garden regularly with a cultivator to avoid having to get down on your hands and knees. Weeding is all about timing. Michael Plane and Joyce Wilkie of Allsun Farm at Gundaroo are often saying “the difference between a good gardener and a bad one is three days”.
If you give a quick run over your beds every three days with an appropriate tool, the weeding diminishes to a point where you can actually enjoy your garden without having to spend all day digging out grass. If you leave it to be a once-a-week activity or worse longer then the gardening does become a chore, patches will get away on you and you spend more time weeding than planting, composting, harvesting and the other more rewarding jobs. Weed quick and often and you’ll stay on top. A gram of prevention is worth a kilo of the cure (older imperial minds can do the conversion to ounces and pounds).
The worst pest this time of year is the visitor especially the drop-in variety. They tend to turn up an hour or so before lunch or dinner. These pests are troublesome in that they will keep you from your gardening for hours and then eat all the produce out of your patch. They’ll step where they shouldn’t and usually break something. The worst of it is when they leave they want to take a bag of your homegrown with them! The easiest organic treatment for these is to put them to work. Get them chopping wood or digging holes; weeding is a certain cure. Apply a task every couple of hours or so and they should move on quickly and usually this is enough to keep them from returning.
Happy New Year to all. Don’t forget to enter your produce in the show this year. Enjoy the season — summer can be hard work but autumn is just around the corner and this is the best time of the year by far. If you thought you were fat from too much “xmas pud”, all the treats you’ll be eating in autumn will add a couple of holes to your belt.