SOW BRASSICAS FOR WINTER GROW ONIONS IN POTS
Most brassicas – from cabbages to broccoli and Brussels sprouts – take 120 days from seed to harvest, so start sowing winter crops now. Sow the large seeds in deep trays (to insulate them from the drying sun), or if you have a seed bed you can cover, sow direct and transplant your seedlings when they’re the same size as those in garden centre punnets. Brassica seedlings sprout in seven to 10 days while it’s warm, although they won’t appreciate drying out in full sun, so keep trays moist by standing them in a shallow dish of water until the seeds germinate. Cover seed trays with very fine mesh netting or a polytunnel or cloche to stop them being eaten by white cabbage butterfly caterpillars. Once transplanted, continue to protect your seedlings with loosely draped mesh or Kiwicare’s Organic Caterpillar Bio Control, an eco-friendly alternative to chemical insecticides (it’s made from a naturally occurring soil bacteria and has no withholding period). Although it may not be practical to grow large onions in pots, there’s nothing to stop you sowing their smaller siblings. Fill a container (at least 20cm deep) with good quality potting mix. Firm down gently and scatter a few seeds on top; if you have the patience, space them 5cm apart to avoid having to thin them out later. Thinned seedlings can also be transplanted into the garden or another container. Seeds take a fortnight to germinate and need watering throughout their growing period. For best results, place your container in a spot that gets at least six hours of sun each day. Ensure the pot has clear drainage holes and keep plants weed-free. Smaller onions, such as Kings Seeds’ cocktail onion ’Pearl Drop’, mature around 70 days after sowing, although they’re perfectly edible at any point. Other fast-growing onions perfect for pots include mini red ‘Purplette’, spring onions and chives.
Bury the filleted remains of fish beneath tomato and eggplant bushes and watch the p la nts grow l i ke mad!
Now is this month’s most vital time and growth is prolific. Sow and transplant everything that produces its harvest above the ground; dwarf peas, spinach, parsley, lettuce and silverbeet can go in now. Gardening by the moon 03:18 PM New moon