Gardening Jobs in September

Gardening Jobs in September

Summer is coming to an end, but that does not mean the end of the gardening season. Quite the opposite! It is time to harvest the fruits of your labour! Zucchinis, pumpkins, tomatoes, beans, potatoes and chillies – there is a glut of veggies to harvest now. Often, far more than anyone can eat. To make the most of the harvest, preserve it now for the lean times ahead.
Check out how to preserve the harvest 

Extending the season

If you want to extend the season to still harvest some fresh veggies until at least the early part of the winter, you should now sow some winter crops.

Salad ingredients

It’s such a wonderful thing to be able to harvest fresh greens even as nature is winding down and retreating for her winter sleep. You can now sow Miner’s lettuce, Lamb’s Lettuce, Asia salad mix, and cress, and radishes.

Veggies for overwintering

Some veggies also appreciate the early start and can continue to grow through the winter.
Spinach, winter peas, broad beans, winter carrots, and if you live in a mild climate, Swiss chard, can all be sown now. But check the varieties – there are always early and late ones and ones that are winter hardy. That is what you want to sow now. You can also plant onion sets now. They will be ready to harvest in July.

In situ or under glass

If you don’t yet have enough space in your plots, you can start the winter crops indoors or in the cold frame.

Propagating

Now is also the time to take cuttings, so you can propagate your perennials and bushes. Take cuttings from this year’s growth that have not become woody yet. They work best if dipped in rooting hormones before planting them into pots. Mix the soil with perlite or similar to improve the drainage.


Happy gardening!



Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay

What Gardening Jobs are there to do in August?

What Gardening Jobs are there to do in August?

August is a fabulous time for all gardeners! The explosion of colour, scent and texture is a fiesta for the senses. But above all, allotment gardeners love this time of the year. Harvest is finally here. Finally, all the hard work from the spring is paying off.

 

Harvesting

Just what you will harvest now depends on what you sowed earlier. I tried to grow carrots this year (again). Alas, to no avail. I don’t know what it is about me and carrots, but I have never managed to grow them – except a stray one that is volunteering among the Basil, in one of my balcony planters. If you had better luck, you are probably feasting on them right now.

Fortunately, my other crops are doing fine. There are runner beans and courgettes to pick, almost daily. Peas are over, but the tomatoes are now kicking in.

Perhaps you are picking cucumbers and early potatoes, as well as onions and shallots. The beetroots are swelling here, but yours might be ready to pick. Spinach is now past its best, but Swiss chard picks up the slack. I love the colourful varieties best, although they all make excellent and versatile summer greens.

 

Sowing winter vegetables

You might find that picking and processing all those fantastic summer veggies is enough of a job, and nothing could be further from your mind than winter’s approach. But, beware, it’s August, and before long, summer will be over. So, now is the time to start thinking about late crops and veggies you would like to overwinter.

In milder climates, it is well possible to extend the season to the end of October. The cabbages are particularly hardy. If you started some earlier, you can now plant them out into their permanent positions. You can even still sow some: kohlrabi or turnip and some spring cabbages (check your seed package). Cabbages are particularly popular with bugs and caterpillars, so you might want to protect young seedlings with a fine-meshed cloth. Plant the seedlings out once they have developed 5-6 true leaves. Remember that they will grow big, so give them plenty of space. They also need a sunny spot and do best in a bed that had a different crop in it the previous year (no brassicas!)

I have not had much luck with cabbages. The caterpillars and whiteflies always get the better of them. I prefer growing Asian salad greens, which are easy, prolific and not as vulnerable to bugs. They are hardy, too. Alternatively, spinach and corn salad will also provide welcome winter greens when little else is available.

 

Salad ingredients

Some fast-maturing crops can also now be sown again, such as Rocket, Mustard greens, and Radishes. Spring onions can also be sown in late August, but won’t be ready to pick until the following spring.

 

Watering

Make sure you water regularly and deeply. A little sprinkle does not reach the deeper roots. Instead, it encourages superficial root growth close to the surface. Mulch well to keep the moisture in the soil. Feed with compost or diluted liquid manure.

 

Wildlife

Don’t deadhead all the flowers just yet. The birds are looking for food! They also appreciate a source of clean water for a drink or a bath. The hedgehogs will make use of it, too. Bushes with berries, such as Cotoneaster or Hawthorn, are popular bird food. Starlings and blackbirds just love them!

For ideas as to how to preserve your harvest, check out:  Preserving the harvest 1

or if you prefer a more spirited way to make the most of excess fruits and such:  Preserving the harvest 2

 

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies!

 

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Gardening Jobs in July

Gardening Jobs in July

What gardening jobs are there to do in July?

This is the time of the year that every gardener is waiting for! The garden is in its prime. Everything is growing, flowering and fruiting. It is a sheer joy to be out there, enjoying nature’s bounty.

July is a time of plenty. Early crops are beginning to ripen, and you can enjoy the fruits of your labour. But it is also a time to think ahead to the dark season and the crops you’d like to harvest then – they need to be sown and started now. There are plenty of gardening jobs to be done in July!

 

HARVEST:

Continue to harvest lettuce and radishes as well as beets, peas and courgettes. If you have long-season or perpetual raspberries and strawberries, they are still fruiting now. As are cherries!

Onions and garlic are beginning to topple over, which is the sign that they are getting ready, but wait until the onion tops turn yellow before lifting them. Then, either leave them on the ground or, better, spread them in a well-aerated box or basket to dry them well.

Early runner beans and potatoes are also getting ready.

 

Harvesting herbs

Now is the prime time to harvest herbs. For culinary purposes, it is best to pick herbs before they begin to flower. Choose a dry, sunny day. Spread them out in a well-aerated place. Hanging them up in bunches actually encourages mould. Herbs often have a high content of volatile oil, which quickly ‘fly off’ in hot temperatures. Thus, it is best to dry them in the shade.

 

SOWING (for late season/winter harvest):

Now is the time to sow winter cabbages, kohlrabi and kale, mustards, and pak choi. If you have carrot seeds of late varieties, sow them now.

If you have a shady spot, you can continue to sow lettuce, chard, endive, chicory, chervil, radishes, coriander, as well as rocket and spinach. Keep them well watered and not in full sun to prevent them from bolting too quickly.

 

TOMATO CARE

Tomatoes need a lot of water. Keep the moisture in the soil by spreading a thick layer of mulch around the base of the plants. If they don’t get enough water, the skins turn harder and will crack as the fruit develops. The best time to water is in the evening or early morning. Avoid splashing water directly on the leaves.

You can give your plants a little boost by putting some compost around the base. Or, use liquid manure, such as nettle manure, or some other organic tomato feed that you might find at the garden centre.

Watch out for blight and end rot. Remove yellowing leaves. Pinch out any shoots that develop in the leaf axils.

 

WATERING

Water your plants as needed, neither too much nor too little. Container plants are particularly vulnerable to drying out and need the most attention. Mulch well to keep the moisture in the soil.

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies!

 

Happy Gardening!

 

Image by Cornell Frühauf from Pixabay

Gardening Jobs in June

Gardening Jobs in June

There are plenty of gardening jobs to do in June!

If you thought that now the growing season is in full swing you can kick back and relax, you are mistaken. June is a rather busy month in the garden, especially if you want to continue harvesting veggies in the fall and winter.

 

But first things first:

Slugs and snails are very hungry at this time of the year. You will have to beat them to it if you want some of those veggies for yourself. Regular slug hunts at dusk and dawn are the most effective way to keep them at bay.

To keep the soil cool and prevent it from drying out, mulch all around your plants, especially around thirsty ones such as tomatoes and zucchinis. Mulching also helps to control the slugs.

Water regularly, but not excessively.

By now, your tomatoes should be in the ground. Gently tie them to their support and pinch out the side shoots.

On hot days, make sure you don’t forget to ventilate the tunnel or greenhouse.

Harvest herbs, such as savoury, oregano and lemon balm before they begin to flower.

 

Sowing:

Hurray, it is finally warm enough to sow Basil and Coriander!

You are probably already harvesting lettuce, rocket and radishes, and maybe even snow peas. For successive crops, continue sowing them until the end of July.

You can sow beans now, but protect them well against slugs – they love the young shoots!

If your season is long enough and the climate reasonably mild, you still have a chance to sow courgettes and pumpkins -but hurry up, it is getting late! Young plants can be planted into their permanent position now.

Autumn/winter veggies like autumn leeks and brassicas like kales and cabbage can be sown until the middle of June.

The middle of June is the end of rhubarb and asparagus harvesting time.

 

Wildlife

Don’t forget the animals at this time of the year – they really appreciate a source of clean cool water and some seeds or fruit.

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies.

 

Happy Gardening!

 

Image by Krzysztof Niewolny from Pixabay

Gardening Jobs in May

Gardening Jobs in May

Gardening Jobs in May

What gardening jobs are there to do in May? In my neck of the woods, April has been unusually cool and wet. I didn’t manage to get all my April jobs done, and my ‘gardening jobs agenda’ for May is rather full. The wheel of the year is turning, and the garden does not wait.

Potatoes

If you managed to get all your potatoes planted in April, they are probably developing their first leaves by now. That is the time when you can start to earth them up for the first time. Cover the leaves with soil so only the tops are peeking out. Repeat this process regularly as the plants grow and develop.

Sweet Corn

If you are planting sweet corn, you can sow them in deep pots indoors now. That way they will get a head-start. Transplant them to a sunny spot in June.

Beans

Once there is no more risk of late frosts you can begin to sow all kinds of beans outside (runner, broad, dwarf). They like a sunny spot, but not too hot. Protect them from the slugs and snails – young bean shoots seems to be their favourite snack. If slugs are a big problem, it is best to start the plants in seed trays and transplant them only once they are strong enough to withstand a slug attack.

Warmth-loving plants: Tomatoes, Peppers, Courgettes, Aubergines

Your tomato, aubergine and pepper plants are probably growing fast now. There comes a point when they seem to be yelling, ‘get me out of here and plant me into the garden!’ Resist the temptation unless there is no more danger of late frosts in your growing zone. But, to appease them, you can start to harden them off. Take them outside during the day, but bring them back in at night.

You can also still sow cucumbers and melons – but keep them warm and protected for now.

Salad Veg and Greens

Sow batches of salad vegetables like radishes and lettuce, as well as Swiss chard and rocket to ensure a continuous supply.

Root crops

You can still sow root crops such as carrots, beetroots, leeks and turnips.

Winter Veg

Sow Leeks and brassicas for overwintering. It is best to start them off indoors to protect them from slug- and insect attacks.

Kitchen Herbs

It is also the perfect time to sow warmth-loving herbs such as basil and coriander. These also need to be protected from ravenous slugs.

Weeds

May is lush! Everything sprouts and grows – including the weeds. But no need to curse them – if you can’t beat them – eat them! Check to see what wild edibles are among the garden weeds that could be turned into a ‘foraged’ dinner. Bishop’s Weed, Stinging Nettles, Ground Ivy, Wild Garlic and Dandelion are all excellent in the ‘wild food cuisines’.

Flowers

If you have open spots in the borders you can sow annuals like Californian poppies, or nasturtiums for extra colour in the summer. The bees and insects love them, too.

Maintenance Jobs

There are always maintenance jobs that need to be taken care of:

  • If you have a pond, check for pondweed and algae and clean it out if necessary.
  • Build supports for climbing plants.
  • Keep bird feeders and birdbaths clean.

Happy Gardening!

 

 

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies.

 

Gardening Jobs in April

Gardening Jobs in April

The main jobs in April are planting, sowing (both indoors and directly into the beds), and weeding.  April is a busy month for gardeners. Hopefully, you have been able to prep your veggie plots in March and they are now ready for action.

 

Seed Potatoes

Your seed potatoes should be chitted (=sprouted) by now and ready to plant. Now it is time to plant them. If you have a limited amount of space, try growing them vertically in potato grow bags, or towers.

Tomatoes, Chillies & co

Tomatoes, Chillies, Aubergines and Zucchinis are ‘long-season plants’, and they like it warm. That is why we need to start them early, indoors. The best time to sow them is during the latter part of March, from about Equinox, but April is just about okay, too. Start them as soon as possible, under glass.

Alternatively, you can buy young plants at the farmer’s market or garden centre next month. Or, perhaps one of your gardening friends has far more plants than they have room for in their garden and are happy to share.

If you started your tomatoes very early, they may begin to look straggly by now, but don’t be tempted to plant them out until there is no more danger of night frosts. Instead, pot them up and cover the stem with soil up to just below the first leaf node. This will encourage them to develop more roots and prevent the stem from getting too dangly.

Gardening Jobs in April: up-potting Tomato Seedlings

Onion Sets and Shallots

Continue to plant onion sets to extend your harvesting season.

 

Direct sowing

Beetroots

Sow beetroots directly into the prepared plots or containers. Sow about 10 cm apart, or thin seedlings out once they are about 3 cm tall.

Carrots

Carrots can also be sown directly into the well-prepared ground. They prefer loose, sandy, well-draining soil. If the ground is too heavy or full of stones, the roots will fork. Carrots are very fragile as seedlings and don’t take so well to being transplanted. Starting carrots in a gutter pipe is a nifty gardening hack. The contents of the drain pipe can be transferred directly to the prepared plot without the need to handle individual seedlings.

Leeks

You can still sow leeks under glass now. Once they’ve grown to about 15-20 cm, transplant well-prepared soil. Plant them deeply (20 cm deep holes) to get a long blanched shaft. Plant approx. 15 cm apart. Space rows about 30 cm apart.
If you stagger the sowing and transplanting, you can significantly extend the harvesting season, which can start as early as August and continue through the winter. It’s best to harvest them fresh as needed.

Radishes

Sow radishes at regular intervals right through August to ensure a continued supply. The seeds are tiny, so thin seedlings out to about 2.5 cm per plant once they are about 3 cm tall. They are an ideal ‘gap’ crop or row marker – they grow fast and can be harvested long before a slower-growing main crop develops. Filling gaps with radishes also helps to keep the weeds at bay. Water regularly and keep an eye out for predatory slugs and snails.

Gardening Jobs in April: Sowing Radishes

Swiss Chard

Coloured varieties of Swiss Chard are beautiful ‘edimentals’, whether you like the taste or not. They can be sown directly into a well-prepared bed. The nice thing is, they are tolerant of partial shade, so they don’t have to take the prime spot in the garden.

Turnips

Like radishes, turnips are a fast and easy crop to grow. If you harvest them young, they can be eaten raw or cooked, and the leaves can be used as well.

Peas

Sow peas at intervals to ensure a continued supply. Unlike most plants, peas don’t mind growing closely together. There is no need to thin them out: growing them in thick bunches keeps the weeds down and increases yields. Keep them moist at the beginning. Later, water deeply once a week, especially during the summer when they start to flower. Mulch to keep the moisture in the soil.

Weeding

Controlling weeds is a tiresome task, but if you get on top of it early, you will save yourself a lot of time and effort later in the season, when it gets much harder to pull them out without damaging your crops. Mulching greatly helps to keep weeds down and moisture in the ground.

 Happy Gardening!

 

Check out SeedsNow for your organic gardening supplies!

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