I was planning on doing one of these posts every month, preferrably at the start of each month. So far I’m not doing so well with this, I did January, missed February altogether and now it’s already half way through March and I’m just getting to it now. I’ll try to do better next month.
So according to my Vegie Patch book here is what I should be doing this month in the garden:
Harvest: remaining summer vegetables (beans, tomatoes, peppers, sweetcorn and eggplant) and your first of your autumn crop (pumpkin, leeks, sweet potato). Well I’m doing most of this for the crops that I have. I picked the last of my sweetcorn a month ago, and my peppers are yet to start fruiting. Currently I’m picking beans, tomatoes, eggplant and a few cucumbers every now and again. My pumpkin (one lonely pumpkin) isn’t ready yet, but I think I planted them a little late.
Pick: Late plums, mid-season apples and pears, quinces, figs and autumn fruiting raspberries. The only one of these I have access to are the figs which I am picking and making into jam. Will post about that later in the week.
Sow: last of the Oriental and salad leaves for the year. I’ve just put in some more lettuce seeds ready to plant out in a few weeks, but it seems like I should plant some more pak choy as well. What other oriental greens should I consider?
Plant: cabbages and Japanese onions for the winter and spring harvest. Sadly I still haven’t got my cabbage seeds organised, so I think I’ll get some seedlings instead, as well as some cauliflower seedlings. I planted onion seeds a couple of weeks ago along with quite a few other things. Now also seems to be time to plant passionfruit. Mr Good has been promising to build me a trellis against the fence for a passionfruit vine, but it is yet to happen. Not sure whether to plant one anyway and get him to build the trellis around it (he thinks he’ll wreck the plant) or wait yet another year. Considering these take a while to bare fruit and this house will not last us forever, it’s quite small, I really want it in as soon as possible if we’re to enjoy the fruit while we still live here.
Clear away: dead foliage and other plant remains as soon as crops have finished. I still have a lot of this kind of work to do over the next few weeks.
Add: everything you can to you compost heap – provided the plant material has no signs of disease. Good reminder, I’m still in the habit of putting it all in the green bin.
Check: apples, pears and plums for brown rot and discard any infected fruit – well I’d have to have fruit to do that. I have noticed thought that my plum tree is being attacked by some kind of tiny black slug which I think is pear slugs. The information I’ve read suggests that these are wimpy little beasts that can be treated by just throwing sand, ash or dry fine dirt over the leaves, or by using pyrethrum spray. It also appears that they’re not a big issue if autumn is close as all the leaves will fall off any way. Then it’s just a matter of attacking by hand the few slugs that survive the winter and emerge next summer.
Jobs for March:
1. Compost – add the dead and dying plant material and turn regularly to aerate. My compost heap is a very sad excuse for one, so I really should get onto this one. My book has a couple of suggested home-made structures which I might get Mr Good on to. It seems he might have a few building tasks ahead of him – including two toy boxes for the girls for their birthdays.
2. Sow green manure if you didn’t get to it in February. Now this is something I should consider for some of my over-used beds. I must get onto this soon by the sounds of it. Anyone else sowing green manure or have in the past?
3. Ripen pumpkins and winter squash. Remove some of the leaves so that the sun can get to the fruits. Continue watering and feeding then let them dry when the vines die down and you’re ready to harvest.
4. Collect and save seeds – I’ve saved a few bean seeds already and will let a few more pods dry on the plants for seeds. I will also collect some pak choy seeds and lettuce seeds from plants that are going to seed. The tomatoes I’m not sure I was happy enough with to save seeds from this year’s crop so perhaps I’ll do this next year if I’m more successful.
Well all that should keep me busy in the garden for the remaining few weeks of March.