In just a few days’ time, it’ll be spring. Time to plant.
Temperatures are slowly warming as the garden prepares itself for spring. Daylight hours are on the increase and you may see the rate of growth of your plants and weeds gradually increasing.
Ripe for the picking
Keep enjoying all those winter brassicas. Leeks, onions, shallots, Brussels sprouts, parsnips, rhubarb and yams and turnips are all plentiful.
Finish planting any newly prepared asparagus beds. Feed these new plants with lots of seaweed and compost. Early potatoes can be sown in frost free areas. I am growing Cliffs Kidney this year. It is an early season potatoes. I am hoping it will be ready to harvest before the height of summer when the devastating psyllid bug is doing its worst in the garden. This little bug is a new arrival to New Zealand and feasts off tomatoes, capsicums and potatoes. If you would like to grow kumara this summer you can start your own plants at home now. Cut a kumara in half and sit it in damp sand to encourage it to produce side shoots. Another way, which I discovered by accident, is to place the cut kumara in your worm farm. The moisture and warmth will encourage the shoots to develop. When the shoots are around 5 cm tall bring the tuber out into the light. In spring these new shoots can be gently removed from the tuber and planted in the garden.
You still have time to get the last of your garlic in but be quick. Keep planting seedlings of broccoli, leeks, beetroot and lettuce.
Lamb’s Lettuce, which is sometimes known as corn salad, relishes cold weather. It is best grown in late winter or spring as it tends to bolt in hot weather. It is a low growing plant with leaves growing in a rosette pattern. The leaves can be used as garnish or as a salad. Grow in any sunny, well-drained soil.
This is a lush aquatic plant with long creeping stems. It grows wild in ditches and streams. The leaves are rich in minerals and vitamins C and A. It is best to grow your own or buy it as there is a risk of contamination if collected from polluted streams. Use the leaves in stir-fries, in sandwiches, and salads Watercress also makes a lovely winter soup; apparently Liz Hurley lives on the stuff.