Last year’s NZ Gardener of the Year, Alan Jones shares his tips and tricks for a thriving winter vege patch at home…
Winter has us in its grip and I hope you are enjoying those winter veggies you planned for in late summer.
If you forgot to sow your broad beans, it’s still not too late. Well done if the baby strawberry plants were planted and any still left on the runners: snip them off and put them in pots to plant out in beds come spring. We’ve potted our surplus at the school garden and will sell them as a fundraiser in spring.
The shortest day of the year (21 June) is traditional garlic clove planting but cloves may still be planted now. As August looms, in Canterbury we sow onions on the first nor’wester – sow them fairly thick. Sow them thin in October and use as a spring onion or chives on egg dishes in salad or muffins.
In August, also plant broccoli, spring cabbage, spring cauliflower, wombok, and bokchoy plants – these will be ready to eat in November. You will have great success as the aphids and butterflies are not yet active.
Celery is normally sown in spring but I was allowed to plant some in the flower garden in a sunny spot under the eaves so we’ve had lovely celery for winter soups. Along with the curly kale, don’t discard those small yams; put them in soups for great flavour.
This is a good time to dig up the rhubarb and divide the bigger clumps, replant and cover with a generous lot of manure. Also put manure around the raspberry canes.
As spring approaches, gardening gets exciting with warmer days, salads to grow and barbeques to plan. Search Spring garden in the Fresh search field above for more tips or visit www.tuitime.co.nz for wonderful how-to videos.
Alan Jones (Jonesy) is the 2010 New Zealand Gardener of the Year. He looks after Leeston Consolidated School’s veggie gardens and keeps school parents up-to-date with tips for home gardens.