[almost] Spring is sprung
Ripe for the Picking. Parsnips and carrots are at their sweetest now as frosts turn their starch into sugar. Harvest water chestnuts to use fresh in stir-fries and salads. Leeks are ready to eat. Harvest Florence fennel before the bulb becomes too big and tough. Cut the mature head off broccoli and let the plant sprout side shoots. Kale, turnip, celeriac, silver beet and spinach are ready to harvest. Rhubarb, the last mandarins, lemons, oranges, grapefruit and tangelos are now ripe. Time to make marmalade. Herbs Angelica is a tall-growing perennial herb. The leaves, stems and seeds can all be used in cooking. Young stems can be steamed and eaten like asparagus. Combine some stalks with rhubarb when stewing as it helps to alleviate tartness. Sow seeds in autumn and give the plant plenty of space to develop. Parsley, whether it is the flatleaf or curly type, is a great herb to grow year round. Sow fresh seeds on top of any bare patches of soil. Urban Orchard Now is the time to graft new varieties onto your fruit trees. Get crafty and have an early, mid and late season apple on one tree. A great way to save space and have six months worth of apples in one space. Trade grafting wood with your neighbours and friends. Plant fruit trees as long as your soil is not too soggy. Stake any newly planted trees securely to protect them from strong spring winds. Spray copper on all your trees. All citrus trees will benefit from a good feed around the drip zone. I use home made compost or used coffee grounds collected from my local cafe. Vege Patch Any bare patches of soil in your vege garden should be covered with a mulch layer. I use sheep-dag wool or old pieces of carpet. A mulch layer keeps the soil warm, prevents weeds growing and encourages worms up into the top layer of the soil. Start sowing seeds of broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, beetroot, silver beet and spinach in trays. Keep them warm by wrapping in plastic or placing a pane of glass over the trays. Spinach, beetroot and silver beet seeds will germinate faster if you soak them in water for a day before sowing.