With the exception of last night’s incredible storm, the past few weeks have consistently brought light showers and cooler temperatures, which are soon warmed by the midday sun. It’s what you would expect being one week away from spring.
Garden commentators are warning southern Kiwis against the lure of early spring planting, should surprising lows or even frosts snap the life from tender seedlings. However, the 15-18 degree celsius highs and 8-10 degree celsius lows that we’re experiencing in the Far North is spurring seed, seedling and plant growth, and providing perfect conditions for continuing to grow winter veg and getting a jump on summer salads.
Lettuce, spinach, rocket, silverbeet and strawberries have been growing in my garden successively for 11 months now, albeit quite slowly during late autumn to mid-winter. Carrots, radishes, broad beans, peas, kale and beetroot have been growing since autumn and early winter, with most of these receiving a head start in the temperate environment of the hot house cabinet. More recently, a few brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages) and tomatoes have been growing in the garden from seedlings and, like everything else, have had a growth spurt with the combination of warm sun, well-timed rainfall and a generous helping of well-rotted chicken poop; which has flooded the soil with nutrients.
A morning and afternoon in the garden yesterday saw a number of seeds get underway in the the hot house or sown directly into the soil, and seedlings planted out into the vege beds.
Sown in the hot house cabinet:
- Broccoli (to replace dud seeds)
- Capsicum (to replace dud seeds)
- Rocket (to replace dud seeds)
- Watermelon sugar baby and another variety (to replace dud seeds)
- Red butterhead lettuce
- Zucchini (yellow and green varieties)
Sown into the garden:
Seedlings planted out:
All of our staples are underway in the garden now, with watermelon added as a treat. The few spaces that are left in my square foot garden are being saved for planting out what’s in the hot house, if they can’t be planted in between existing rows. From here on in, the trick will be continuous planting for succession, sowing directly into the ground where possible and trying to hit the right frequency for maturation and harvesting what we want for the pantry. Imaginative recipes and preserving will usually take care of over-supply; however under-supply will mean trips to the supermarket or local grower.
Today’s seed sowing is the third cycle through the hot house cabinet, which means it has been a successful experiment and one that I will maintain as part of my propagation routine. I have experienced a few dud seeds along the way, as highlighted above, however I can pinpoint these failures to seeds that had become damp through poor storage.
As you can imagine, this issue has been remedied. Happy growing!