Tino Carnevale:

In his first col­umn for the Sun­day Tasmanian’s Tassie Liv­ing magazine, TINO CARNEVALE picks up where his men­tor Peter Cun­dall left off.

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - DELICIOUS ON SUNDAY - with Tino Carnevale

Cel­e­brates win­ter’s pass­ing pa­rade

Peter Cun­dall has been dish­ing out knowl­edge in spades for longer than I can re­mem­ber and he has in­spired and ed­u­cated gen­er­a­tions of gar­den­ers, in­clud­ing this one, so it is with great priv­i­lege and not a small amount of sad­ness that I fol­low in his gum­boot tracks.

I might be in the mi­nor­ity, but I find a cold Tasmanian win­ter to be ev­ery bit as beau­ti­ful and vi­brant as any of the other sea­sons. There are loads of plants, es­pe­cially many na­tives, that seem to shine over the cold months and also those plants that slow down and tuck them­selves in to sleep for the win­ter.

It is nice to see the bones of your gar­den laid bare as the win­ter de­scends. It gives you a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive of your gar­den and many of the jobs you do now should see you through til the start of spring.

Whereas weed­ing in the warmer months can some­times feel like an ex­er­cise in fu­til­ity, win­ter al­lows you to get on top of and stay on top of this as­pect of your gar­den. Clear­ing out your weeds over the win­ter is not just for its aes­thetic value, many in­sect and fun­gal pests will per­sist in weed species like mal­low and plan­tain if they are left in the ground. Pulling your weeds out now de­nies them this har­bour and helps to keep pest num­bers down when spring comes along.

The great thing about the veg­etable patch over the win­ter pe­riod is most of the crops are ei­ther cut and come again or set and for­get.

Al­though there is a gen­er­ally pos­i­tive con­sen­sus in my fam­ily when it comes to the Fava or Broad­bean, I know it can be quite a di­vi­sive crop in some house­holds, how­ever, I think it’s pretty safe to say that ev­ery­one loves a pea.

Both will grow steadily over the win­ter and al­though the peas will pro­duce sooner, you will be har­vest­ing bucket loads of both crops when the weather warms in the spring. These legumes are also good as a cover or green ma­nure crop to im­prove soil struc­ture and fer­til­ity and if you sow them now you can have them up, dug back through your soil and bro­ken down in time for your spring plant­ings.

If you think you have missed the boat when it comes to those won­der­fully stinky bulbs that are al­li­ums then never fear, there is still time. Granted the size of your gar­lic,

I might be in the mi­nor­ity, but I find a cold Tasmanian win­ter to be ev­ery bit as beau­ti­ful and vi­brant as any of the other sea­sons

onions or shal­lots may be lesser than if planted ear­lier in the sea­son, but it would seem a shame if you missed out on these com­pletely for the sake of a few weeks.

Leaves are the one thing I can re­ally rely on in my gar­den over win­ter. Many leafy crops like spinach and let­tuce can go in now from seed but re­mem­ber growth is slow when it’s cold so I al­ways put in way more than I think I need.

When it comes to choos­ing let­tuce va­ri­eties I go for the leafy type that won’t form a heart such as oak leaves and corals. I leave the grow­ing of the hearted va­ri­eties like ice­berg for the warmer months when they form up well.

You can also be throw­ing around seed of Bras­si­cas like mus­tard, tat­soi, kale and mizuna. The great thing about grow­ing any bras­si­cas over the win­ter is that many of their pests are dor­mant through the cold.

A great way of warm­ing up on a frosty morn is to dig and if you plan to put in a de­cid­u­ous tree this win­ter, now is a great time to pre­pare the hole in an­tic­i­pa­tion for when they are on sale next month. A gen­er­ous sized hole with a good amount of com­post and a hand­ful of lime added will get the blood mov­ing and the soil will set­tle down nicely in time for your tree to hit the ground run­ning.

On those ex­cep­tion­ally cold and wet days you can usu­ally find me in my shed clean­ing and sharp­en­ing tools and while some­times this may be an ex­cuse to have some qual­ity shed time, it is not time wasted. Cutting tools like lop­pers and se­ca­teurs will be get­ting a workout over the next few months. Prun­ing your de­cid­u­ous trees and shrubs in win­ter is a good op­por­tu­nity to see the shape and struc­ture of the plant with­out its kit on. Prune any dead, diseased or dam­aged branches and then prune for shape but be­ware of cutting dras­ti­cally as this will cause the plant to put lots of ef­fort into veg­e­ta­tion in spring, usu­ally at the ex­pense of flow­ers and fruit.

Frosty con­di­tions are on their way! Feed your ten­der plants with a dash of sul­fate of po­tash, this will help them be­come more re­sis­tant to frost’s dam­ag­ing ef­fects. Hav­ing a bunch of old sheets stowed close at hand to throw over plants on those cold clear nights when a frost seems likely can save you a re­turn trip to the nurs­ery.

I know it can be hard to drag your­self out into the gar­den when it’s cold but know that those Baltic con­di­tions mean that our de­li­cious cool cli­mate fruits will be all the bet­ter for it next sea­son. I hope that helps to warm your heart on those cold win­ter morn­ings.

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