Kitchen Garden: Winter
We’re harvesting greens and citrus, starting tomatoes and nurturing the pea crop. Join us in the winter vegetable garden.
Sow tomato seeds so that you can be harvesting before Christmas.
1. Fill seedling punnets, a seedling tray or mini glasshouse with good quality seed raising mix. Sow two seeds to each cell and prick out the weakest one.
2. Leave in full sun on the kitchen bench. Keep moist; use drip tray to catch the runoff.
3. When seedlings reach 10cm high pot up into individual pots. Keep them inside until after last frost or cold stretch, then plant out into the garden.
Tomato Seedlings ready for planting. Photo - pshenina_M / Shutterstock.com
Yellow sticky traps will lure and catch the clouds of tiny little white flies that appear around cabbage-type vegetables. Alternatively, spray with Yates Natrasoap.
Make sure that you have snail pellets on hand. With moist soils and tender young shoots emerging, you can guarantee snails. Pet and animal-safe snail bait is available. Eggshells, coffee grounds and sawdust are also good at guarding the perimeter of popular plants.
Egg shells, coffee grounds and sawdust are a few of our favourite things. But not so for the garden snail. Photo - Michael Ninger / Shutterstock.com
Grow some health foods! Ginger, tumeric, kale, blueberries, garlic and lemons are all healthy treats that are easy to grow. Try Greenpatch Organic Seeds or Greenharvest.
Ginger. Healthy and beautiful. Photo - Baitong333 / Shutterstock.com
There is still time to plant out winter vegetables. Act now for broccoli, cabbages, broad beans, leeks, spinach, silver beet, kale and sugar snap and snow peas. Plant in richly composted soil, fertilise regularly.
Plant strawberry runners. They like a sunny spot with well-composted soil. Plant them into soil raised into a mound so that the fruit will hang down. If you mulch between mounded rows with sugar cane, the fruit on the straw will stay clean.
Edible figs are easy to grow, thrive in our climate, don’t mind frost and produce juicy succulent fruit in late summer. Try ‘Black Genoa’ or ‘Brown Turkey.’
Lettuce germinates easily from seed sown in situ at this time of year.
Don’t let the peas flop. They need to be tied up or gown through peas sticks or chicken wire.
Asparagus stems should be cut down. Top dress the patch with well-rotted manure or compost and mulch.
Keep 'em standing at attension. Photo - Eag1eEye / Shutterstock.com
Spray stone fruit for fungal diseases as soon as the buds start to swell. We like Yates Fungus Fighter.
Gall wasps attack citrus trees and cause swellings in the stems. Prune any affected wood and burn. Control scale and leaf miner by spraying regularly every two weeks with EcoOil.
Order asparagus and rhubarb ‘crowns’. Prepare the soil with plenty of compost before planting. Allow the crowns to develop for a couple of years before harvesting.
Add fallen leaves, kitchen scraps and grass clippings to the compost in layers, not allowing any ingredient to dominate. Turn compost with a fork to accelerate decomposition. Spread matured compost over garden beds in winter to condition the soil.
Coriander and chervil can be trimmed and used in cooking. Try a tomato, corn and coriander salsa, or a coriander pesto made with peanuts and a hit of chilli. Chervil is good on grilled fish or in a salad of fennel and blood orange.
Broccoli heads can be picked to allow for secondary shoots to come from below. Don’t forget that the long stems are tasty too. Lightly peel if the skin feels tough then steam until tender, to serve either with or without the heads.
Beautiful brocci's. Photo - epsylon_lyrae / Shutterstock.com
Lemons and oranges can stay on the tree until needed.
Rhizomes of ginger and turmeric should be pulled up before the first frost and stored in a dark spot until needed. They can also be frozen for later use.
Kale leaves can be picked from the bottom up.