January 2016

Welcome to a new year of gardening. If December has been anything to go by, the rest of the summer will prove a challenge for gardens and humans alike. Whilst most warm season crops thrive with days in the low 30s and enough rainfall or irrigation, when faced with heatwave conditions for days on end and … Continue reading January 2016

February 2016

Don’t let the last day of January (cool, wet) fool you into thinking that summer could be waning, (even though I’m writing this with my down-filled jacket on!). We still have the – traditionally – hottest month of the year to get through. So, don’t put away that shade cloth yet, and if your fruit … Continue reading February 2016

March 2016

Autumn (usually) sees the last of the fruit producers like figs and quinces and olives and grapes, though this year they’ve been quite early, even summer-ready. It’s a very busy time to renew and make anew in the garden – grafting, propagating, seeding. I think this is actually the busiest time of the year. You are trying to do lots … Continue reading March 2016

April 2016 Notes

Autumn is my favorite time in the garden. A time to enjoy the slowing down, the stasis, the last active gasp before winter approaches. A quiet time, to bask in the sun’s warmth and to appreciate the last of the slow harvesting and flowering crops. The now slanting sun and its ‘alternative spring’ – where soils are still warm and the perennials … Continue reading April 2016 Notes

May 2016

May is greens, and hopefully, green. As in ‘autumn break’ and the growth thereafter. We finally got the ‘break’, or a current version of it – late, but very welcome. Over the last couple of days, up to an inch (25mm) in places. Because there’s been no frost, little rain, and the temperatures seasonally high, the summer … Continue reading May 2016

June 2016

This week has been a cold awakening; our first frosts for the year! Late, in late May, so it has meant that summer veggies like zuchinni and capsicum, eggplants, have kept producing through the past month. Growth has slowed, but with some warm, sunny days bookended by the cold nights and mornings, leafy greens are revelling in the … Continue reading June 2016

July 2016

Rain = growth. And weeds. Weeding will be a task for this month, even though growth is slowed, especially if you are growing garlic and other crops which don’t compete well with other plants. Especially garlic, because over winter garlic bulbs set their cloves – growing conditions (moisture, competition, etc) will determine the number. In spring, plants will use … Continue reading July 2016

August 2016

After a good (or at least average) winter, the soil should be holding some moisture, so it’ll be easy weeding and also perfect conditions for a BD500 spray this month (probably the last one you’ll get in before the warm weather). It’s also the time to get ready for the heat, believe it or not. Check your … Continue reading August 2016

September 2016

Time is of the essence this September. We are still likely to have more frosts this month, but it’s also important to get your seedlings underway now, to have enough growing season for them to bear fully and productively. Given that soil temperature needs to be at least 20 degrees Celcius for summer crops to germinate … Continue reading September 2016

October 2016

Make hay, etc. There’s less likelihood of frosts from now on in because our soils are quite moist, even wet. Sodden soil will mitigate the effect of freezing cold temperatures overnight and early morning (water is the best thermal mass there is). The weeding is easy, almost enjoyable. Admire the growth. This is a season out … Continue reading October 2016

November 2016

What a Spring! The community garden is leafy and lush, with enough broadbeans coming on to feed a small island nation, let alone Newstead, the renovated strawberry runners are starting to fruit (they like that bed!) and the espalier pears showing every sign of a first, very good (may need thinning) crop, fingers crossed. Only downer is the leaf … Continue reading November 2016

December 2016

November – and spring generally – has been quite mild, but we’ll soon forget that gentle lead into summer! The cool start for our Newstead garden means that seedlings have been slow to get away, even raised under cover or glass because the soil is still warming. Tomatoes in particular seem slow to grow this … Continue reading December 2016