ORGANIC GARDENING

May in the Organic Food Garden

By Kath Irvine www.ediblebackyard.co.nz

Excerpt taken from “Organic Garden Calendar” by Kath Irvine

If all your jobs are up to date you can begin to enjoy the quiet stillness of May. I love heading into Winter with a full pantry and a stacked woodshed. I’ m looking forward to some cosy inside time.

In the Veggie Patch

Planting now

Are you ready for garlic planting? (Here’s my 2010 garlic harvest drying out before storing)

Make sure your beds are:

  • well drained
  • limed
  • sunny
  • rich with plenty of rotten organic matter – (seaweed is great for garlic). The website sandandstonelandscapes.com.au also suggests the same when it comes to landscaping or planting more trees.

Source: GardenSeeker.com

Separate your garlic bulbs out just before planting (Kay Baxter soaks hers in a weak solution of liquid cow manure overnight)

When you plant your bulbs – make a hole first – don’t push them into the soil or in the next rain they will pop back out! Bury the bulbs till the tips are just showing. Firm down well.

Garlic, like onions and carrots, require a weed free bed for best crops. Mulching is the best way to achieve this. Mulch minimises the amount of weeds that come through, and makes those that do come through easier to pull (better for your back and less disturbance for the garlic). Aim to manage weeds before they get big, otherwise your garlic crop will suffer. Weedy beds will produce smaller bulbs, and in a wet spring – will create rot.

I find the best way to mulch garlic is little and often. Garlic is prone to rot and fungus so it makes sense to keep good airflow around them. I prefer a gentle layer of mulch, topped up a couple of times during the long garlic season. Instead of pulling weeds you can smother small ones with mulch – saves your back! My favourite mulches are either old hay, rotten sawdust that’s been through the chook yard, or well rotted leaf mould.

Lettuces can go in now if you have cloches (essential equipment for serious food gardeners in our part of the country)

Other tasks

  • Cut off asparagus canes as they loose their green colour – apply manure and mulch leaving the crowns clear until the first spears arrive in August
  • Collect all your stakes in, untie all the ties on them and store away.
  • Mulch carrots, yams, parsnips and beetroot to protect from frost damage and to stop them bolting in Spring.
  • If you didn’t finish covering your Winter beds last month, make sure they are all covered over now (either with mulch or a green crop).

By Kath Irvine www.ediblebackyard.co.nz

excerpt taken from “Organic Garden Calendar” by Kath Irvine

If all your jobs are up to date you can begin to enjoy the quiet stillness of May. I love heading into Winter with a full pantry and a stacked woodshed. I’m looking forward to some cosy inside time.

In the Veggie Patch

Planting now

Are you ready for garlic planting? (Here’s my 2010 garlic harvest drying out before storing)

Make sure your beds are:

  • well drained
  • limed
  • sunny
  • rich with plenty of rotten organic matter – (seaweed is great for garlic).

Separate your garlic bulbs out just before planting (Kay Baxter soaks hers in a weak solution of liquid cow manure overnight)

When you plant your bulbs – make a hole first – don’t push them into the soil or in the next rain they will pop back out! Bury the bulbs till the tips are just showing. Firm down well.

Garlic, like onions and carrots, require a weed free bed for best crops. Mulching is the best way to achieve this. Mulch minimises the amount of weeds that come through, and makes those that do come through easier to pull (better for your back and less disturbance for the garlic). Aim to manage weeds before they get big, otherwise your garlic crop will suffer. Weedy beds will produce smaller bulbs, and in a wet spring – will create rot.

I find the best way to mulch garlic is little and often. Garlic is prone to rot and fungus so it makes sense to keep good airflow around them. I prefer a gentle layer of mulch, topped up a couple of times during the long garlic season. Instead of pulling weeds you can smother small ones with mulch – saves your back! My favourite mulches are either old hay, rotten sawdust that’s been through the chook yard, or well rotted leaf mould.

Lettuces can go in now if you have cloches (essential equipment for serious food gardeners in our part of the country)

Other tasks

  • Cut off asparagus canes as they loose their green colour – apply manure and mulch leaving the crowns clear until the first spears arrive in August
  • Collect all your stakes in, untie all the ties on them and store away.
  • Mulch carrots, yams, parsnips and beetroots to protect from frost damage and to stop them bolting in Spring.
  • If you didn’t finish covering your Winter beds last month, make sure they are all covered over now (either with mulch or a green crop).
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