A pause and a breath. What a year. Not a lot has gone according to plan. But as usual, back to the garden for respite, relief, restoration and renewal.
What to do in the garden this spring
- Prepare vegetable bed soil for seedlings, with compost, manure and fertiliser. See Wagtail Urban Farm‘s videos for how to prepare your soil, and Starting a Garden in Adelaide ebook* p. 18-20 if you’re deciding what kind of vegetable beds would work best for you.
- Prepare soil for later spring tree planting (p. 28), bearing in mind to choose locations for your subtropical treasures where they’ll have good shelter, excellent drainage and warmth through winter.
- Harvest lots of wonderful, tender spring greens, herbs and eggs to make Spanakopita– even its name sounds like a celebration of spring. Of course you can include juicy edible weeds too.
- Complete any overdue winter pruning before the trees shoot away – probably too late for many of the stone fruits and grapes now but you can get away with apples and pears while they remain dormant. Ideally shift to summer pruning after harvest once you have the basic shape and size of the tree under control (p. 29).
Over the next month – Plant out these seedlings… artichoke, basil, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, celeriac, celery, chilli, chives, chicory, eggplant, endive, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, onions, pak choi, silverbeet, spring onions, swede, tomato, turnips. (Apart from celeriac, onions, kohlrabi and swede, which are due for their last planting now, the others could also continue to be sown from seed and planted out later in spring.)
Bear in mind that the solanum/nightshade family (tomato, chilli, eggplant, capsicum) really like warmth – so by end of Sept/ early Oct the soil should have warmed up enough for planting these out.
… and sow these seeds direct in the garden: beans, coriander, daikon, dill, fennel, melons, parsley, parsnip, peas, potato (tubers), pumpkin, radish, rocket, zucchini.
All the big seeds prefer direct planting, plenty of compost, lots of water, and a warm start in life. So don’t go crazy with these guys while the soil is still cold. They mostly don’t like to have their roots disturbed. If you have to get them started from seed before their bed is ready, consider planting them into seed raising mix in a tightly packed box full of toilet roll tubes – these are deep enough for good root development and can be planted out whole or just gently peel away the lower part of the cardboard at planting time.
Do you need a planting calendar on your potting bench or toilet door to plan ahead? Just print out pages 13-16 of the ebook* and join them together to make your own Adelaide vegetable growing calendar for the whole year.
As spring progresses…
- As the soil warms up in late September/early October, plant out subtropical fruits such as avocado, passionfruit, mango etc. into that wonderful, rich, well-drained soil you prepared earlier. (You did, right?)
- Check irrigation lines and extend them to new plantings. I sure hope we get some good catch-up rain this spring after the disappointment of winter, but have that irrigation ready to go for any dry spells. Remember that rain often doesn’t soak in as deeply as the plants need it for developing a good root system – check how far down the moisture goes!
- While you’re in the garden, see what you can do to attract native wildlife – e.g. birds, lizards, butterflies and the invertebrates and plants that make up their food supply – here are some ideas.
What else is coming up?
- Friends of Sturt River Landcare hosts planting and other events around the Oaklands Wetlands, including this introduction to the local ecology on Sunday, September 13.
- Trees for Life has a series of workshops for those interested in growing trees for the Tree Scheme as well as caring for local bushland.
- Living Smart, a short course on practical ways to live more sustainably and connect with community – starting online (hosted in Prospect) this week.
- Follow Folk of All Trades for a variety of DIY home and garden videos.
- Home garden consultations are available to help you plan and get the most out of your space – book by emailing email@example.com or phone 0410636857.
* Starting a Garden in Adelaide
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