Vege patch to-do list

NZ Gardener - - Contents -

This month’s moon calendar, and ed­i­ble crops to sow and tend now

Au­gust is busier than you think.

It’s still win­ter, but there’s plenty to plant, sow or get done out there. Sow suit­able salad crops in pots or trays to har­vest as baby salad greens, or even chance sow­ing a few di­rect in a shel­tered spot in your gar­den. You can pop in seedlings of suit­ably cold hardy leafy greens too. Bare­root fruit trees are still avail­able at the gar­den cen­tre and won’t be for much longer – and re­mem­ber bare­root trees are cheaper than bagged or con­tainer grown trees, not to men­tion eas­ier on your back to shift around! Pick up a few pot­ted and bare­root straw­berry plants while you are at the gar­den cen­tre too if you want more plants or to en­sure you have young straw­berry plants coming on – straw­berry plants crop well for about three years, so it’s a good idea to add a few new plants ev­ery year and take out any that are past their best.

Chit seed pota­toes now to plant soon.

Let­ting seed spuds start sprout­ing be­fore you plant isn’t es­sen­tial, but it gives your crop a head start when it’s too cold to plant out­side! Be­sides it’s easy as, just ar­range your spuds in a sin­gle layer in a shal­low box and pop them some­where warm, dry and out of di­rect sun in­side for a week or so – the sprouts should be about 1-2cm – then plant out­side.

Sow toma­toes, pep­per and chill­ies.

Au­gust is a great month to start these heat-lov­ing solana­ceous crops in­side or un­der­cover in trays. It is a bit of a faff, keep­ing them cos­seted on seed-rais­ing trays or the top of your fridge (heat from be­low will hugely im­prove your strike rate), but it does mean that come late Oc­to­ber when it’s warm enough to shift these heat-lov­ing crops into the gar­den your plants will be nice and big – and of course that means they’ll start bear­ing fruit more quickly. And with toma­toes at least, if you pick early you avoid the worst ef­fects of blight and psyl­lid.

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