July in the Vegie Patch

20 July 2013
Written by Kath Irvine | Images by Kath Irvine
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With not much happening in the garden and Spring on the way, Kath encourages us to venture outside, get your hands dirty and gather a mix of organic compost

All is quiet in the garden, just the bare bones remain. I love bearing witness to the changing of the guard, the rise and the fall. It’s nice and quiet on my eyes - no riot of colour, shape and size. The trees stand naked and solid, a dramatic backdrop to the stars of winter - the winter flowers. If trees give a garden form, the flowers give it a heart. 

In the Vegie Patch

If you haven’t as yet got your garlic or onions in, then rug up and off you go. 

  • You’ll be feeling pretty pleased with yourself for all those winter saladings you sowed late autumn. Aren’t they good? So crisp and fresh. Cornsalad, mesclun, miners lettuce, winter lettuce all provide the best kind of service - pick and come again. So very generous don’t you think? Plant more if you have some cover. (Its not very hard to make something, so no excuses)  

  • Globe artichokes (not to be confused with jerusalem) can be planted out now. These are one of the delights of our springtime kitchen table. I plan to make all sorts of exciting meals with them, but always end up simply steaming them, then dipping the leaves in butter or oil as we make our way to the heart. Not only are globes yummy, healthy and perennial - they’re incredibly handsome too. Plant them along the edge of a perennial area so you can easily harvest the buds, and enjoy the dramatic foliage. They love somewhere free draining but otherwise aren’t too fussy. It goes without saying that you will of course mulch them.

  • Another spring star - can be planted now. Find a grower to source your crowns from as $5 per plant at the garden centres is shameful.  Put a bit of effort into your asparagus bed if you want the rewards. Drainage is key (a good moment for a raised bed if you are on heavy soils). Use lots and lots of organic matter and compost to create a dark, wormy home for your new plants. Spread the roots of the crowns out over a hump of soil and press firmly. Cover with deep mulch and rotten poo. Sadly you are not allowed to eat the spears this spring or the next for that matter. Take the long view because for the next 15 years you’ll be tucking in.

On the way to college this morning I watched the PD guys sweeping all the leaves out of the gutters and fantasized about asking them to drop them off at my place. A truck load of leaves would be heavenly come spring time. Dreams aside, it’s time to get collecting people. Just get whatever is at your back door - leaves, seaweed, seawrack, pineneedles, manure etc. With nothing doing in the garden this is the perfect opportunity to build your OM (organic matter) stash. Don’t be afraid to leave the fireside (it’ll be there for you when you return). Besides Spring is just around the corner and you’re going to need lots of OM. 


I have made a couple of changes to my workshop schedule:
- The Abundant Vegie Patch is now on the 9th November,
- and the Spring Open Day is no longer.
All workshop details are up on my beautiful new website - same old address www.ediblebackyard.co.nz but wow what a makeover!

Yours in the earth,

In the Orchard
In the Kitchen




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