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Using lockdown to lock in your spring garden prep

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It may not be the perfect scenario to be locked down on beautiful spring days, but it does give us extra time to get our edible gardens really going. Spring generally comes around pretty quickly most years, and we can find ourselves scrambling to prepare our vegetable beds to be planted. Things are a little more chilled though this year – for obvious reasons. And for those of us who enjoy getting out in the garden, this is blissful. Hopefully this more homely time has given you the opportunity to tick more gardening boxes than usual, and that you are super-prepared for planting your warm-season crops over the next month or so.

You may have also had time this year to give your fruit trees the timely prune and feed they deserve. Too often these generous producers are left to fend for themselves and become overgrown, diseased and generally neglected. If it’s only once a year or every second year, your trees will overwhelmingly return the favour. We can grow a wide range of fruit trees successfully here on the Peninsula; stone-fruit, apples and pears, avocados, berries and figs can all thrive given the right care. Some thrive with minimal attention. However, the more time you put into your garden, the more you will get out both in quantity and quality.

Now that the soil is warming after a pretty chilled winter, all that preparation you have been doing during COVID will have you ready to begin planting your vegetable seedlings. If you’ve been otherwise occupied during this fantastic gardening holiday and haven’t yet got to your garden prep, it’s not too late. Get your beds ready, though, as you’ll want to begin planting out in the next four to six weeks.

If you haven’t already raised seedlings during the past month, there’s still time to do this also. Again, it’s probably worth getting on to it soon, otherwise it’ll require a trip to the local nursery to purchase seedlings. 

Tomato, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, pumpkin and melons can all be sown in seed-raising trays now, along with corn, beans, leafy greens and salad veg. If you’d prefer, you can sow your bigger seeded veg directly into your beds. Be sure to mark them clearly and make a note of what date you sowed your seed.

Now, you may be forgiven for thinking with all this lovely rain that your vegetable gardens and fruit trees are going to be fine without supplementary water. Well, probably not. In particular in our ‘open’ coastal soils, the amount of growth, vibrancy and nutrition that irrigated crops exhibit well exceeds those that are not irrigated during the warm season. Even during winter, if it hasn’t rained and your vegetables don’t get a drink for a week, there is a marked diminishing of growth compared to their well-watered neighbours. So if you do not have an irrigation system for your edible crops, it is highly recommended that you consider providing your gardens with the security of automated watering when required.


Drew Cooper, Edible Gardens

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