Spring is around the corner!
With Spring fast approaching and the days getting longer, now is the time for the all-important planning for your summer garden.
The key questions I ask myself are:
- What do I want to eat
- What flowers do I want to grow
- What companions do I need
- What does my soil need in order to grow good food and hold maximum water
- Where are the sunniest and shadiest places in my garden in summer
- What do I need to make my preserves
When I decide on what fruit and veggies I want to eat this season, I put them into groups to sow and plant by the moon. On the waxing moon, it is time to plant leafy crops (above ground) and flowers and on the waning moon, it is the root crops and transplanting herbs etc.
Flowers play such an important role in the veggie garden – they attract bees, beneficial insects and create a blooming smile. I plant mainly edible or cutting flowers.
For best results, I always plant my vegetables with their companions as these enhance their growth and also help deter pests and disease. For example Cabbage planted near thyme helps repel the white cabbage butterfly. My ethos is that it is always more about working with nature and not against it.
Different plants require various nutrients and levels of food available in the soil. Preparing your soil the right way for your plants requirements not only saves time but, in the long run, can save on disappointment with poor crops.
It is a myth that all food plants like full summer sun. Here in New Zealand, the temperatures can soar, so be sure to plant the heat-loving plants in the all-day sun. Plants like tomatoes, chillis, eggplants, basil and beans. Plants that love being in the shade are mint, rocket and coriander.
If, like me, you absolutely love making chutneys and preserves, I advise you to consider this when planning your summer garden. I also love making my own pizza sauce or my tomato and basil paste for winter casseroles from my fresh summer crop. I choose tomatoes to grow specifically for this purpose and always make sure I have loads of basil, so that there’s always enough to have fresh and preserve as well.
If you’re finding it hard to make time to plan your garden or you’re stuck on what to plant and where, please get in touch!