Organic Gardening Calendar

January in the Organic Food Garden

by Kath Irvine

excerpt taken from “Organic Garden Calendar” by Kath Irvine

To reap produce year round from your garden you always need to be thinking of the season ahead. January is time to be planning your winter garden – particulary brassicas. Brassica beds need preparing and seed needs sowing now so that your winter garden is productive.

Brassicas ripen at different rates. >From seed to maturity – cauliflowers take up to 20 weeks, broccoli 8 – 12 weeks and cabbages 8 – 14 weeks (times depend on variety and the weather). Plant a variety to ensure you have some ripening at different times through the season. A steady supply is more useful than a glut all at once.

Venture out into heritage varieties – my favourite broccolis are Purple Sprouting, De Cico and Romanesco. Consider too, the ever useful kale, collard greens and chinese cabbages

In the Vegie Patch:

Seed to sow

salad greens – cress, mustard, spinach, lettuce

vegies – silverbeet, peas, radish, dwarf beans, brassicas – broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale.

companion flowers – alyssum, hollyhock, stock, calendula, chamomile

direct sow – carrot, radish, beetroot, parsnip

Plant out

·         last of the zucchini, corn and beans

·         another lot of red onion and salad greens

Other tasks

·         keep beans well mulched to keep their roots cool

·         stop pumpkins growing any more by keeping runners pruned back. This way they will put all their energies into maturing their fruits

·         as peas and beans finish dig them in or cut them off at the soil leaving their roots behind. Use the tops for carbon to add to mulch or compost. Make use of the nitrogen they have added while they have been growing and plant out a heavy feeder crop to follow.

·         continue to collect and dry seeds

·         as garlic and onions are ready, harvest, dry and store in a cool, dry spot.

In the Home Orchard:

·         remove old leaves and fruiting stalks off strawberries

·         summer-prune early stonefruit as they finish – this will encourage heavier fruiting next year and avoid silverleaf from Winter pruning cuts.

·         remove old raspberry canes after harvest to encourage a late crop

·         trim grapes and kiwifruit to allow sun to get to the fruit

·         keep new growth on vines tied up

·         inspect apples for codling moth damage. Remove damaged fruit.

·         keep up codling moth lures

Pictures supplied by Kath Irvine