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Early summer in the garden

Keep planting summer vegetables like tomatoes, beans, cucumber, zucchini and pumpkins. Things are still growing fast.

Mulch as you plant, to keep weeds away and stop plant roots from drying out.

Lay soak hoses and watering bottles through beds at planting time too – it gets harder later.

Fruit trees will drop their young fruit if the roots dry out. This is the crucial time of year to water them for a good crop (If they dry out later in summer, fruits will be smaller and have a more concentrated flavour - but if they dry out now it will reduce the crop.) Water well then mulch deeply around fruit tree roots, keeping mulch away from the trunk itself.

If you can’t get around all the weeds, slash down those that are going to seed. Slashed annual weeds can be smothered with newspaper/ cardboard and mulch.

Make liquid feed by soaking comfrey or seaweed in a bucket of water. Water it on every week or so; you’ll notice a big difference in the health of your plants.

Keep making compost – even if you never get around to turning it, it will be ready for autumn plantings.

Enjoy the garden! Long evenings and early dawns are made for being outside. A few minutes of planting or watering make great stress relief over the silly season.

Plant out: Tomatoes, cucumber, beans, peas, potatoes, corn, lettuce, silver beet, pumpkin, squash, red onions, leeks (for winter), basil and other herbs.

Sow seeds: Salad greens, carrots, beetroot, radish, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber, corn, beans, peas, silver beet, sunflowers.

Plant of the month: magenta spreen, supergreen!

 (aka Tree spinach, Lambs quarters, Goosefoot, Chenopodium giganteum)

Magenta spreen
  • Grows to 2m tall, 1m wide
  • Ridiculously easy, doesn’t need watering once established
  • Good looking (also makes facepaint)
  • One plant feeds the family all summer. From pretty microgreens to full mega-sized leaves for serious food-producing, magenta spreen is adaptable and delicious.
  • Young leaves and tops bedazzle in salads, can be steamed or sautéed. Larger leaves, produced in huge amounts, are great for curry, lasagne or spanakopita
  • Rich in vitamins A and C, calcium and iron
  • Pest-free and self-seeding.

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