New year, new gardening
Welcome back to a new calendar year of gardening. The gardening year itself is actually half way through, starting on June 1 last year.
The longest day may have passed, but there is still ample time to plant more vegetables, though new plantings of tender crops such as tomatoes will need a glasshouse.
Plant leeks and brassica seedlings now for autumn and winter harvest. Protect brassicas with Neem Tree Granules in the planting hole and on the soil surface and use crop cover to keep butterflies away.
Quick growing salad crops, mainly lettuce, radish and spring onions, can be planted for succession – a few plants every two weeks for a couple of months.
Winter flowering plants will be appearing in garden shops soon and once they do, plant out for those early displays. Check spring bulbs lifted last year to ensure they are sound. Throw away soft ones to prevent rots affecting healthy bulbs. Planting out will start about March if conditions are suitable.
Spring was not kind for many gardeners (including myself). Extremes of temperature with cold winds, meant
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that tender plants sulked.
As the weather settled in December, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, corn, peppers, strawberries and roses responded and have been growing well since then. Clearer skies this season have meant more direct sunlight hours which has made a difference to corn and flowering of pumpkins and cubits.
I amimpressed with my tomato plants and new tamarillos. I amtrialling silicon cell strengthening products in coordination with yellow sticky cards and so far, the only psyllids I have seen are on the sticky cards. If the tomatoes carry on without psyllid damage into late autumn, I can give the thumbs up to this new antipest programme.
Most of readers’ tomato problems turned out to be psyllids or herbicide damage from purchased compost.
Tips for getting the most out of your gardens for the new year include this bit of 3500 year-old wisdom: ‘‘Upon this handful of soil our survival depends. Husband it and it will grow our food, our fuel and our shelter and surround us with beauty. Abuse it and the soil will collapse and die, taking humanity with it." - Vedas Sanskrit Scripture 1500 BC
The soil is a mass of living microbes and fungi along with many other soil dwellers such as earth worms. Your gardens and containers will produce healthy rich produce if you simply husband the soil.
This means not destroying the soil life with chemical fertilisers, chemical sprays, or weedkillers including glyphosate.
Think about not watering your gardens with chlorinated tap water. Instead remove the chlorine with a 10-micron carbon bonded filter and housing.
Use animal manures. Chicken manure along with products Calcium & Health, Rok Solid and Magic Botanic Liquid, allow the soil life to grow and restore soil health. Mycorrcin also feeds soil life increasing populations and allowing plants to feed better and grow stronger.
Remove disease (pathogens) from your soil with Terracin, a new natural product.
If you persist though in having a chemical garden, using these products will not make an iota of difference.
There is still time to plant a succession of salad greens for harvesting through until autumn.