Sow seeds for luscious, tender leafy greens this next week – Thursday pm 24th August 2017 to Monday 28th 2017 [here in New Zealand]
After the dark of the moon on Tuesday 22nd August 2017.
Spring is springing! A new energy of the cycle of growth is appearing for us down-under. Buds are form on deciduous plants and bursting into blossom or leaf. Joy oh joy.
The days are getting longer.
Yet the ground is still cold and wet, wet, wet here in Auckland. Seeds sown outside take a long time to sprout and grow.
To have a successful planting for a good harvest we need to give delicate, tender seedlings protection from:
- the heaps of slugs and snails which miraculously appear now. Keeping them away from delicious, tender new sprouting seedlings requires some effort.
- strong cold winds
- birds – especially black-birds which are nesting at present and determinedly scratch for worms scattering seeds and seedlings out of the soil in their efforts
- any pets which can dig [or neighborhood cats]
- possums and rats which can cause havoc if you have them around
What sort of protection?
These are my favorites: Full plastic cover over hoops on raised beds.
- a protective surround. Cut down plastic bottles, one per seedling can work. I put a bird net over the lot as we have determined black-birds which up-root most such attempts.
- a plastic bag cover over a frame with the plastic buried into the ground so there is no access [+ snail bait/deterrent for the determined ones].
- a plastic tunnel cover [with covered ends too] +snail bait/deterrent
- any other inventive physical barrier
This is a time when last year’s leafy greens suddenly bolt to seed, sending up tall spires of flowers. The leaves become bitter and less appealing.
What shall we sow?
- Lettuce – I’ll sow a number of varieties under a plastic tunnel so hopefully some will do well no matter what the weather does this year – hot/dry/cold/wet.
- Silver-beet [including rainbow chard/ bright light beets – the ones with vibrant colored stems – so stunning to see in a garden] In fact, they are popping up all over as I left last year’s seeding plants to share their seeds in the garden
- Rocket [Arugula]
- Mustard greens, or the giant red mustard is pretty nice early in the season before the heat of summer adds too much pepper bite and it goes to seed rather than make tender leaves. It’s an eye-catcher in the garden.
- Asian greens [assorted] – here they grow well in the cooler months – they grow so fast! Mizuna is a favorite for us.
- Endive We grow 2 types – a broader leaf variety and a lovely fine, frilly variety. They are lovely and tender in cooler months so we enjoy them now. Both grow more slowly than lettuce.
This is a great time to have leafy greens They love cooler, wetter times and can grow well.
Later, when the weather warms up they bolt to seed fast and produce fewer leaves which easily go bitter.
Enjoy delightful salads with a range of leaf types in these cooler, wetter months.