Reap what you sow: Summer Vegies
If you have been waiting for a sign to start your vegie patch – this is it!
Now is the time to get all your favourite summer vegies into the ground. Tomatoes, zucchinis, beans, chillies, capsicums, corn and leafy greens are a few of our favourites and we’re sure you’ll love them, too.
Good soil prep makes all the difference. Home-made compost makes the best soil conditioner, as it contains all the micro-organisms necessary to recalibrate your garden soil. Failing that, buy organic compost from the local nursery to help nourish your soil. If you’re planting fruiting vegies, add a dressing of dolomite and sulphate of potash to help promote fruit production.
What to plant
If your patch receives full sun, plant summer fruiting vegetables, like tomato, zucchini, aubergine (eggplant), cucumber, beans, capsicum, chilli and sweet corn. Salad greens such as lettuce, rocket, mustard greens and baby spinach can also go in, but will need a light shade cover on very hot days.
Young seedlings need careful monitoring until they settle in and establish a good strong root system. Mulch well at planting time with a good quality organic mulch and this will help protect the tender roots from strong sunshine and conserve moisture. We use Neutrog’s Whoflungdung, which also adds nutrients to the soil as it breaks down. Watering early each morning is best and if time permits, water in with diluted seaweed once a week – you will really notice a difference. As plants grow, feed with an organic pelletised fertiliser to enhance growth. Gyganic or Dynamic Lifter is ideal for all fruit and vegies.
Keep an eye out for pests and diseases and spray with a suitable spray, as required. Sap sucking pests like aphids love fresh new growth – blast them off with a jet of water, but if they keep returning, spray with eco-oil. If you see holes in fruits and leaves, there are very hungry caterpillars about. Treat with an organic spray, like Dipel.
If you’re short on space, try the Vegepod. This raised garden bed comes in kit in three sizes, small, medium and large. It’s ideal for patio gardeners and the pod sits on a stand at waist level, so there is no bending needed. The stand is fitted with wheels so that you can move it with the sun. Wheels can be locked once in position. A net cover is fitted to keep out insect pests.
A reservoir is fitted as a wicking system to self-water your vegetables once they are established. Capillary action moves the water upward and it’s taken up by plant roots as necessary – clever, isn’t it? Find out more at www.vegepod.com.au
If space permits, a series of tripods made with cane bound with string, can support one tomato, one bean and one cucumber.
Plant the first tripod now. Wait until late spring to plant the second. A third can be planted mid-December to extend summer’s bounty well into March/April.
The three vegetables grow well together and support each other. Pests are confused, so it’s a win/win situation.