Plant Garlic : it’s traditional to plant garlic on the shortest day of the year and harvest on the longest but you can plant garlic as early as April. Don’t be tempted to sow supermarket garlic as these have all been fumigated. Buy lovely plump seed garlic from your local Garden Centre or Farmer’s Market where you’re guaranteed a good healthy bulb and one that grows well in your area. Garlic is so easy to grow and so much tastier; just remember these simple rules:
- Only plant the fat cloves on the outside of the bulb; eat the little skinny inner ones.
- Plant in a sunny spot just 5 – 7cm below soil and about 10 – 15cm apart in well drained, good soil. Add some sheep pellets or compost. If you plant them too close together they won’t have room to grow.
- Don’t grow garlic in the same bed that’s just been home to onions, shallots or leeks; they are all from the Allium Family and may spread disease. Do grow it with or near carrots; garlic repels the pesky carrot fly and other naughty insects hell bent on creating havoc with your crops.
- Keep them weed free – they don’t like competition.
Don’t hold back on the garlic; you can plait the stems and hang in a cool, airy position and enjoy your very own garlic all year long!
Plant Strawberries : Summer seems a long way away but now is the time to get the strawberries started. This year I’m planning on making a Pimm’s No 2 bed from James Wong’s HomeGrown Revolution Book and some of my strawberries will grow here.
Its such a cute idea to grow tiny little cucamelons over the subtly cucumber flavoured Borage herb. Unfortunately I can’t find cucamelons so I’ll have to adapt. I’m going to grow the variety Cucumber Mini White up and over a wigwam in the middle of the Pimm’s bed and plant some of the borage that has self seeded in the herb bed around the base. I’ll then underplant with strawberries and mint. If you’re going to try this too and worry that mint is too invasive then simply plant the mint in a little pot and bury the whole thing to contain the roots.
I have already planted little seedlings of cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, pak choi, New Zealand spinach (you can never grow enough spinach) and a variety of winter lettuce. I wasn’t going to plant cauliflower as they are usually infested by little caterpillars which puts me off but my Husband snuck them into the basket so in they went! Make time to plant coriander and dill. They love the cold of winter and will reward you with pungent smelling herbs for winter cooking.
I’m also going to try and sow peas and snow peas too. Some people may think peas are too fiddly to grow and have a low yield but I can’t resist that fresh pea flavour; no pea has ever made it into my kitchen! We just eat straight from the pod in the vege garden. Doesn’t get much better than that.
I like a bit of height in the vege garden to create scale and a bit of drama. I do this by growing some veges vertically (cucumbers and squash, runner beans) and by growing dahlias and sweetpeas. June is a good time to sow sweetpeas. I sow them direct into the soil and I choose the most fragrant variety possible. Picking the first bunch of sweetpeas is a great pleasure for me.
Spread comfrey leaves around the base of your fruit trees. Make sure you leave them out in the sun to wilt for a couple of days otherwise you’ll have loads of extra comfrey plants!
Stuff as many autumn leaves into a black bin bag as you can and throw in a handful of lime. Tie up and leave to turn into lovely seed potting mix.
Hmmmm I’ll be quite busy then!