Kitchen Garden winter jobs
Warm up this winter with a new project.
Increase your home harvests: compost bin, worm farm, raised beds, chicken coop, citrus wall? Now’s the time to get stuck in.
Photo - Hannah MacCowatt
Pets with benefits
We like omelettes, frittata, meringue, and easy-care pets. So last spring we decided to keep chooks. We repurposed a large, walk-in cockatoo enclosure and placed it under our giant Chinese elm, creating a shaded and cool area for our chickens to roost in. We fenced in a pen that provides room to dig, scratch and forage under the tree. We give them fresh greens, sprouted Clucker Tucker seed mix (from Green Harvest) and fresh water and they give us up to 42 eggs a week. What a deal! For more details, check out Claire Bickle’s advice on page 58.
The kids just love playing with 'the girls'. Photo - Linda Ross
Store fallen leaves from lawn and gutters in an industrial-size black plastic bag with half a bucket of blood and bone (the magic ingredient). In spring this powerful leaf mulch can be added straight to the garden.
Autumn leaves, with a few magic ingredients, are dynamite mulch. Photo - Africa Studio / Shutterstock
We’ve no room for an orchard so grow an espaliered wall of citrus. String horizontal wires every 20cm on a north- or west-facing fence. Plant citrus 1m apart. Train branches along wires. Prune at the top of fence. Water in.
Why not espalier citrus? Photo - Luisa Brimble
Buy potatoes for spring planting. Try kipfler, ruby lou and King Edward, available from Diggers Club. Allow them to sprout in an egg carton before planting. After the frosts are finished, dig a long, 40cm-deep trench and plant 20cm apart on a thick bed of compost and manure. Feed and water well to harvest bucketloads of potatoes for Christmas.
Plant now and enjoy bucket loads by christmas. Photo - Diana Taliun / Shutterstock
Spray stone fruit for fungal diseases with Yates Fungus Fighter or Eco-fungicide as soon as the buds start to swell.
Swollen stems on citrus are the work of the citrus gall wasp. Prune off and burn affected stems. Start a worm farm to turn kitchen scraps into wonderful fertiliser without making a mess. Choose a spot with morning sun and a product that suits your space and budget. Feed worms daily. They especially like green trimmings, leftover salad and melon scraps.
Allow enough room for hearting lettuce such as ‘Mini Cos’ and ‘Butterhead’ to heart up nicely by not crowding them. Harvest them by cutting out the heart to allow another to regrow in its place. Simply cut the plant to 2cm above the ground, leaving a few of the bigger leaves around the outside. Repeat three times!
Plant rhubarb crowns in well-drained soil. Mulch with compost or cow manure as soon as leaves appear, keeping it clear of the stems. Rhubarb needs regular applications of fertiliser, manure and liquid fertiliser. Every few years dig up the clump, divide, and replant the strongest pieces. Prune passionfruit by at least one third after the threat of frost has passed. Top up with potash when the weather warms.
Wash and disinfect all gardening tools. Sharpen cutting tools. Organise the shed.
Getting organised. Photo - SmileStudio / Shutterstock
Keep unruly balls of twine in line by using aluminium funnels as dispensers. Hammer a nail through each funnel near the top lip, attaching it to the wall of a shed or back of a door. Place a ball of twine or string in each one; run the ends out the spouts.
Store small garden tools in a sand-filled trough. Mix a quarter-cup of motor oil through the sand, so that the sand is slightly moist. Before returning tools to the trough, wipe them with a rag. The sand will keep tools clean and sharp, and the oil will keep them rust-free.