Kitchen Garden temperate winter
Warm up this winter with a few projects to get your gardening efforts organised:
Tool maintenance, twine dispensers, Beat the dreaded cabbage moth and grow delicious strawberries. Now’s the time to get stuck in.
Clean and oil secateurs frequently. These hard-working tools are especially prone to rust from sap and residue build-up on the blades. Use a stiff brush or scrubby pad to loosen dirt from the crevices, then wash the blades with warm soapy water and dry them thoroughly. Apply a few drops of lubricating oil to the pivot joints and blades, and wipe off the excess with a towel. We always have a supply of lubricating oil on hand for dissolving rust on steel blades, protecting tools from corrosion and lubricating the moving parts on my various shears.
Sharpening those secateurs is quick and simple.
The gardeners twine we use to tie up sweet peas, tomatoes and dahlias stays knot-free in cheap aluminium funnels on the back of our shed door.
Knot free and easy to put together
The voracious cabbage moth butterfly is the curse of the cabbage family. Plant wormwood, which is full of bitter chemicals, to warn them off.
Wormwood is better than chemicals
Get a head start on summer by germinating tomato seeds can be indoors on the kitchen bench or anywhere undercover with bright light.
Hang yellow sticky traps to trap clouds of white fly and prevent them transmitting viruses from plant to plant.
Spray stone fruit at bud swell with Yates Fungus Fighter, Eco Fungicide or lime sulphur to keep fungal diseases at bay.
After citrus have fruited, prune to open the canopy into vase shape that will increase air flow and promote ripening of fruit on interior branches.
Prune the citrus
Sharpen cutting tools and organise the shed.
Cut down asparagus ‘ferns’, manure and dress the patch with blood and bone before mulching.
Hearting lettuce, such as mignonette, oak leaf, iceberg and cos grow well through the cooler weather. Plant a few every weeks for a continuous supply.
Plant asparagus crowns. Check out the Mr Fothergills range at your local nursery or hardware store.
Grow a wigwam or trellis of peas so you can decide for yourself which is sweeter – frozen or home grown. Add a handful of garden lime to the soil before sowing.
Plant strawberry runners, ensure the runners are severed so individual plants can develop their own root systems.
Get those Strawberry runners in now
Small tools were often misplaced around our yard until I made a habit of storing them a sand bucket. Fill a bucket with clean sand and stir in enough 3-in-1 multi-purpose oil to lightly dampen it. You want the sand to be slightly moist, not look like an oily mess. Place the bucket in a sheltered area near the garden. When you’re done using your tools, brush off any debris and then stick the tools (blades or tines down) into the sand. The grains help keep the blades nice and sharp, while the oil prevents rust from forming. As a bonus, now I always know where to find them!