Happy New Year, fellow gardeners!
I know it’s the middle of summer and your vegie patch may be wilting now and then, but autumn is not far away and my seedling subscription vegies will be sown very shortly ready for your autumn planting. I am aiming to have the first batch ready for planting out in mid-March.
Subscriptions are available as vouchers for multiples of 5 punnets, i.e. 5 for $25, 10 for $50 etc. Surplus punnets will be available at the market stall at $5 each.
So here’s the selection for this round. If you would like to subscribe, please email me a list of what you would like to order – copy and paste this table into your email if that helps – include a contact phone number, and let me know whether substitutes are OK if the variety listed is not available.
Note: this is not an online store so it’s not equipped for you to place orders on this page – maybe one day!
|Bok choi / Asian Greens|
|Beetroot – mixed|
|Kale – mixed|
|Lettuce – mixed|
|Silverbeet & Rainbow Chard|
|Spinach – English|
I will email you with payment details for your subscription voucher, and again when the seedlings are nearly ready to collect (either from the Organic Corner Store market at Glenelg North or from Warradale). If there’s something you’d like that’s missing from this list, please let me know so I can include it in a later batch.
I’d like carrots, peas and beans but they’re not on the list…?
Plants that don’t like to be transplanted and typically grow better from seed sown directly in the garden will be available in seed packets for $3.90/pack. Please list anything that you’d like to order as seed. An upside is that you can grow more plants from a packet of seed than a punnet of seedlings!
How many plants are in each punnet?
Each punnet will have at least 6 plants – some varieties more.
How do I care for my plants?
Keep the punnets moist and plant them out as soon as possible after collection. Place the punnet on the prepared garden bed a day or two before planting to acclimatise, and water with diluted seaweed solution. Squeeze cells gently at the base to loosen the rootball and lift the seedling by its leaves, not its stem. Plant it to the same depth in the ground as it was in the punnet, and space plants according to their mature size. Planting late in the day gives plants the night to recover, but in hot weather a little extra shade the next day helps them to bounce back faster. Water often enough to keep the soil moist and prevent wilting. You are welcome to bring back punnets for recycling 🙂
What can I do to manage pests organically?
Some of the most common vegetable pests in Adelaide are caterpillars, slugs, snails, cutworms, earwigs, slaters, aphids and whitefly. Here are some non-toxic approaches to minimise the damage they may cause. Don’t aim to eliminate them completely, because the helpful predators in the garden need something to eat too! The main thing is to visit your vegies daily and have a good look at what’s going on amongst them so you can identify the culprits.
- Caterpillars – most commonly green caterpillars, from eggs laid by white cabbage moths. They hide on the stems and the underside of leafy green plants, especially those in the Brassica family. Look and feel to remove caterpillars and eggs by hand and squash them. Cover plants with an old net curtain or Vege-Net to exclude the moths. Use white butterfly-shaped cut-outs from yogurt containers, hanging on strings over the garden bed, as decoys to deter the parents.
- Slugs and Snails – usually come sliming out at night and after rain to feed. Again, catch and squash or feed to chooks. Offer children pocket money to collect pots full of them! Set beer traps in the garden bed to attract and drown them. Or as a last resort use brown iron-based bait pellets as instructed (these have minimal risk for pets and wildlife and break down safely in the garden).
- Cutworms – grubs that live in the soil and eat through the stems of young plants. You can use old paper or plastic cups or containers with their bottoms cut out to make a collar around each seedling to help protect against this. As their stems grow bigger and stronger they’ll be more resistant. If you have regular trouble with cutworm, try planting seedlings out at a slightly later stage of growth (you may need to pot them up first)
- Earwigs and Slaters – both flourish where there is lots of deep mulch and plenty of hiding places. Try placing half orange skins cut-side down on the soil to attract slaters, then collect them to throw to chooks or in the bin. Earwigs can be collected in scrunched-up newspaper inside plant pots (they like to climb, so upending the pot full of paper on a stake can attract them)…or bait them with cooking oil and a dash of soy sauce in an empty tuna or sardine tin – works like a beer trap, and makes a great marinated snack for chooks.
- Aphids – tiny sap-sucking bugs that are attracted to the soft new growth on the tips of plants. Ladybirds will eventually come and feed on them if you leave them alone. But if they are doing too much damage while you await the ladybirds, hose them off. More of a problem with over-watered plants putting on rapid growth.
- Whitefly – tiny white flying insects that settle in great numbers on the underside of leaves and gradually skeletonise them. These are seasonal and usually don’t last long. If they become a problem try yellow sticky traps – available commercially or make your own using vaseline on a yellow surface such as an ice cream lid.
Companion planting can also help to protect your precious seedlings by masking them with different scents and leaf shapes. For more information see “Jackie French’s Guide to Companion Planting”. Beware of tips from Europe and America that may be less relevant here.
Looking forward to hearing from you. Keep cool!