Tino Carnevale: Says summer is a great time to veg out
Long summer days mean you can get a lot of work done in the garden but TINO CARNEVALE reminds us that it’s also a good time to sit back, relax and reap the rewards of all the hard work you’ve done outdoors this year
Ilove the crops that ripen over summer and the way previously slothlike plants find their stride and push out rapid new growth. I love going to the beach and listening to the sound of the bush in the heat as it becomes almost orchestral. I love the warm evenings after a day in the garden, when every living thing lets out a collective sigh of relief as the orange sun sets over the horizon.
The seemingly endless germination of weed seed and the irrepressible growth of the lawn that happens over the spring should start to slow down now, so you can start to ease up on the constant maintenance and turn your attention to tending more interesting plants.
It seems like only yesterday that I had plenty of space and only broad beans to plant, now I am often searching for a spare patch of dirt to squeeze in an ever lengthening list of desirable crops.
I will be putting my corn in this week but over the next month
Water is the most important element for your garden during summer so be sure to give your plants regular deep drinks
I will need space for peppers and chilli, cucumbers and climbing beans, Brussel sprouts and eggplant, et cetera, et cetera. I think you get the idea!
The great thing is soon one of my beds of garlic will be harvested, cleaned, braided and hung giving me a fresh canvas to fill. The later varieties of garlic won’t be harvested until the new year but I will have plenty to enjoy until then.
If you have planted pink eyes for Christmas then they will probably need to be earthed up if you haven’t already. I also added a layer of straw to mine to make sure the little taters are kept safe in the dark. If you are a true spud devotee you will be happy to know that a cheeky late crop of potatoes can go in now. Throwing in a handful of carrot seed will mean that you’ll be getting a new batch ready while
harvesting the current one.
The vegie gardener should not be without salad greens of some description during the summer. Once the seeds are in the ground and watered you can go inside, put the kettle on to make tea and when you come back to the patch your crops are almost ready to harvest … There’s a chance I’m exaggerating but it can sometimes feel that quick.
It has been a really good beginning of the season for tomatoes with generally warm weather conditions. Although there were a couple of cold patches that slowed growth a bit they generally didn’t do much harm. You can start to train your leaders and tie them to their stakes or if you’re my Dad, to their singular stake.
All that energy that has been expended on spring growth will need to be replenished if it’s to continue. I mix up seaweed with fish fertiliser for my leafy plants like beets, brassicas and salad greens but something that is a bit slower to release for my new planting of corn and peppers like blood and bone or a complete organic fertiliser. Potassium rich fertilisers like sulphate of potash will work for my more tender fruiting plants like tomatoes and eggplant.
Water is the most important element for your garden during summer so be sure to give your plants regular deep drinks, the frequency will depend on the type of crop and its position. Always water in the cooler parts of the day, either in the morning or evening as it is more effective, efficient and pleasant. I grew up throwing old sheets over plants to protect them from the cold but now I find myself doing the same thing to protect them from them heat, especially those large leaved plants like my rhubarb and even zucchini.
Long days mean we can get a lot of work done but make sure if you are out in the garden that you keep yourself well hydrated and protected from the harsh ultra violet rays but just as importantly, take time to sit back and enjoy your garden this season.