Kitchen Gardens: Temperate
Springtime in the temperate kitchen garden is time for soil preparation, tomato planting, and building structures for vine crops.
It's time to get busy!
Photo - Luisa Brimble
Power Soil recipe
Give the warm season vegetable patch a big boost before seedlings go in. For every square metre of your kitchen garden mix up the following: one handful of blood and bone, one handful of potash, half a bag of cow manure, one shovel of homemade compost, one handful of Dynamic Lifter, a sprinkle of dolomite or garden lime, rock minerals as per packet directions, and Eco-hydrate or Wettasoil as per packet directions.
Dig in then get ready for take off!
Introduced to Seed Savers in 1994 from the mountains of West Virginia, this peach-streaked tom is big - 500-900gm!- and great on sandwiches.
Harden off summer veg seedlings before planting them into the soil by introducing them to the outdoors in a sheltered position in mild weather.
Harden off seedlings
Group crops with similar soil preparation and feeding needs:
Leafy greens: silverbeet, rocket, basil, cut and come again lettuce etc. Sow in situ in rows 20cm apart. Feed with high-nitrogen fertiliser such as Harvest.
Fruiting vegetables: tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumber, capsicum etc. Feed with seaweed until flowers appear then with comfrey tea or high-potash fertiliser.
Legumes: snowpeas, dwarf, runner and climbing beans, etc. Sow in situ and don’t water until germination occurs.
Roots and stems: carrots, beetroot, radish, spring onions, etc. Sow in situ, spacing seeds by adding sand to the seed mix or using Mr Fothergills seed tape.
Liquid feed garlic. During October and November garlic bulbs should be developing a papery sheath for better storing potential. Harvest when leaves are yellow then dry in the sun for two weeks before storing.
Build a tall 2.5m wigwam, arched tunnel or trellis to grow a combination of cucumbers, vine tomatoes and climbing beans. Angle the long side to the north to maximise sun.
Press sticks into the soil to protect just-sown seeds from blackbirds.
Water new seedlings with weak seaweed solution or very dilute worm liquid. Protect small seedlings from cut worm, snails and slugs by ringing them with crushed eggshells, copper tape or sawdust.
Build a wigwam structure
Jerusalem artichokes are best replanted at the beginning of spring each year to grow into 3m-high plants topped by yellow sunflowers in summer. Allow plenty of space. Dig up tubers in late autumn.
Add flavour to home-cooked meals with rosemary, curry plant, kaffir lime, bay tree and basil.
Spice up your life by planting a knob of ginger, turmeric and galangal, a pot of lemongrass, a chilli plant and a Thai basil bush.
For the best potato salads grow waxy potatoes, such as ‘Sapphire’, ‘Ruby Lou’ or ‘Kipfler’. Place them 40cm apart in 40cm deep trenches. Fill trench with soil and feed and water as normal. Harvest from mid-summer.
Grow waxy potatoes