As the days lengthen and the soil warms its time to dig out your garden gloves and get busy in the garden. Whether yours is a dedicated vegetable garden or a spot for a few crops in pots and tubs, the time is right to prepare soil, sprout seed potatoes, sow seeds and begin this year’s journey up the garden path.
1. Spud patch
Potatoes and yams - both these crops need to be sprouted before planting. Choose Tui Certified Seed Potatoes, these are in all good garden outlets, along with seed yams. Lie in trays somewhere cool, dry and dark for 3-4 weeks to sprout. Plant sprouted crops into well worked soils, blended with Tui Potato Food prior to planting; it’s full of all the right nutrients for a bumper crop.
2. Salad patch
Speedy leafy greens and salad crops – there is no excuse for not being able to grow your own salad greens and lettuces. A container as small as a kitchen bucket is big enough to grow your own salad ingredients. Fill containers with Tui Vegetable Mix and plant. For quick results sow seeds of mesclun salad blends, these are cheap and they can be harvested as micro greens too. For added variety, plant spring onions, celery and scatter a few radish seeds around the bed. Within a month or so, the first leaves will be ready to use.
3. Root patch
Carrot, parsnip, beetroot and radish seeds can all be sown now. All root crops require a well dug, friable crumbly soil to bury their roots into. As seedlings germinate, thin out the rows to allow room for the crop to develop. For something a little different, mix a packet of carrot and beetroot seeds together (choose a cylindrical beetroot variety) and sow in a row, the contrasting roots and tops make an attractive talking point.
4. Brassica patch
Leave some room for Brassicas. Cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and cavolo nero are hardy campaigners and can be planted outdoors now, taking about 3 months to mature. Dwarf broccoli “mini green” is ideal for pots as is the cabbage “little cutie”.
5. Tomato patch
Slow and steady wins the race with tomatoes. Don’t be in a hurry to start planting yet, sow seeds now in trays of Tui Seed Raising Mix inside, or hold off and buy and plant seedlings until later in October or even November in the coldest parts of the country. Although if you have a heated glasshouse or live in an area where frosts don’t feature, planting can take place now.
- Share or swap excess seedlings with friends and family
- Give plants a boost – drench new seedlings with Seasol Plant Tonic at planting time, it bolsters the plant’s immune system, stimulates growth and promotes strong fibrous roots
- Slugs and snails – rather than wandering around in the dark hunting for these slime balls, let Tui Quash do the work for you, these pellets repel and eradicate slugs and snails, whilst being safe to use around household pets.
- Old egg cartons make excellent bio-degradable seed sowing trays; fill with Tui Seed Raising Mix and sow seed directly into them. The egg carton breaks down over time, so this means the seedling and tray can both be planted into the soil.
- Plant flowers to encourage bees and other pollinators into the garden.
Finally, be mindful - we may not have seen the last of the frosts though, so a little bit of patience and restraint as far as planting goes may be required in cooler areas, and it may pay to have a frost cloth on hand just in case!
By Rachel Vogan