Artisan Files



On your marks ... get set ... sow!

There are definite signs that spring is here – the birds are chirping and the weeds are really growing! A stroll through The Diggers Club nursery garden at Dromana reveals a definite growth spurt in seedlings that have been sitting dormant all winter. So we take this as a sign from mother nature that its time to get planting… but what best to plant now when it’s still cold out but warming up?

Having sought advice from friends of Artisan House, co-author of The Produce Companion, Meredith Kirton, and horticulture expert at Diggers Club, Evette Jungwirth, we have some tips to share with you.

peas

It’s the very start of spring and it’s still a little cold. What’s best to sow now, in September?

Fast greens like lettuce, rocket, lambs lettuce and parsley are ideally suited for current conditions.

What is the best way to treat a kitchen garden veggie patch between winter and spring seasons?

Spring is prime time for weeding so get out on a sunny day and remove the weeds before planting your veggie seeds.

Then, it loves some lime and compost and manure, all dug liberally through the soil.

If you are an organised gardener (or an experienced one) then you would have sown a green manure crop back in autumn, and it is now time to dig it in so it has time to break down before sowing veggie seeds in 4-6 weeks. But if you didn’t do this, don’t despair because there is still time to add some compost and manure to your garden bed. Just make sure you use well-rotted manure or leave time for it to break down before planting.

Which veggies & herbs must we (and must we not) plant now in the lead up to the full-bloom of spring?

You should hold off any cold sensitive vegetables like corn, beans, eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes. At this stage, you are probably best planting your salad greens and fast root veggies like beets and radish.

It’s a wonderful time to start planting cold hardy veggies like peas, parsnip, lettuce, spinach, and turnips. If you are in a frost-free area you can also plant carrots, leeks, beetroot and silverbeet. However, keep in mind that the soil is still quite cool so seeds may take a bit longer to germinate.

It’s also a great time to get seed potatoes in the ground so you can harvest delicious home grown spuds for Christmas.

Diggers Parsley

A few final pearls of wisdom …

Start small. Feed often. Pick plenty. Be sure to plant flowers in your veggie patch. Flowers are an integral part of any healthy garden. They provide forage for bees and attract other pollinators and beneficial insects into your garden. All of this increases the productivity and health of your veggies. Plus flowers bring colour and joy into our lives!

Many seeds can be sown directly into the ground but others need to be started indoors in punnets and then transplanted into the garden once the soil warms up. Consult with specialists!

Be patient and observe nature … and once the soil warms up in mid to late spring, that’s when it is time to get all those delicious summer veggie seeds in to start growing.

Diggers Roquette

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COMPETITION TIME! To celebrate the current Spring planting season and the upcoming release of The Produce Companion on Cooked, we’ve teamed up with some friends of Artisan House to give you the chance to win the ultimate gourmet pack valued at up to $240.

There are five packs to give away, filled with awesome things from Mount Zero pink lake salt & olive oil, Bambu Makers denim apron, Olsson’s Sea Salt, Cutting Edge Cultures and more. Plus, we’ll throw in a copy of The Produce Companion and The Diggers Club‘s The Australian Food & Vegetable Garden cookbooks, as well as a one-year membership to Cooked so you can start searching for delicious new things to cook with your goodie pack.

ENTER COMPETITION HERE

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