The Garden in August – Gardening Tips and What to Plant- by Max Lindegger
Max Lindegger of Ecological Solutions has kindly agreed for Permaculture Noosa to post his newsletters on our site:
We will be offering another Beekeeping Workshops on the 26. August. Let me know if you are interested.
The seedlings we expect to have Thursday 17th August at lot 59 Crystal Waters between 2 and 4 pm and at the Witta Markets on Saturday 19th August are:-
Beans- bush (green)
Peas- Snow and Sugarsnap
Kale- Tuscan, Red Russian, Green Curly
Onion- Spring, Red, Chives
Parsley- Curly and Italian
We will also have a variety of potted herbs, flowers and strawberries.
Look forward to seeing you soon.
I have mixed feelings about winter. I don’t like the cold much ( it was lovely to warm-up in Cambodia!!) and yet there is less to mow, the plants are in a slow mode, there is time to think and plan. As a Beekeeper I have to be thinking about Spring already. We haven’t had much of a winter here with minimum temperatures on average and not even a frost to kill of the bugs and Lantana. It may still come but the days have felt more like Spring then Winter here.
July broke records as the warmest July in many parts of Australia. The max was 1.5 C above average for July. Crazy. And much too dry after a Summer which did not fill all dams. The forecast for the next few months predicts warmer and dry weather. Not what we gardeners and beekeepers like to hear.
Cool winter evenings are a good time to look at the seed catalogues and order seeds for the season ahead.
August is a slow month for planting in the garden here at Crystal Waters – too late to plant winter vegetables like Cauliflower and Broccoli without extra care as we can get some pretty warm days before these vegetables would be ready to harvest, and yet it is too early for the warm weather loving plants. OK for the frost free areas not far from here. There is a load to harvest, August really is a month of plenty here and there is very little weeding and watering – circumstances we all love.
Adjust your watering if we miss out on rain and if the humidity is low. The days after fog free mornings are the ones to watch as fog is like a gentle watering to our plants. Windy days too need to be watched and the watering adjusted. Some vegetables – I’m thinking of the Asian Greens and Celery should never dry out or they will be tough ( and in the case of Asian Greens – will bolt) But watch also for over watering. It is best to water in the morning and to water deep but not too often. Too much water can result in plants dying quickly as evaporation maybe low.
The Strawberries should be fruiting. The dry weather is ideal for them.. Should we get some rain this would change. It is a fungus issue. As we don’t want to spray fungicides we can only minimise the problem by using a loose mulch like Pine Needles, Casuarina Leaves, wood wool or straw which allows air-movement around the fruit.
On frosty mornings make sure that frost tender plants are protected. Lettuce can’t handle more than a very light frost. Watering overhead during critical hours of frost formation can help to limit damage. If you watch the temperature on these early, cold mornings you will find that just on sunrise is the critical time. As the sun warms the higher layers of air, the warmth from below will rise allowing the cold air to replace it – voila – frost!
In our valley cold air is formed on the plateau above us late in the evening and will roll ( like porridge rather than like water) down the slopes and also replace warmer air.
This is high time to cut back your Asparagus right to the ground, fertilize fairly heavy, mulch and water. A well established Asparagus patch will start to send up shoots in early September ( with the warm nights we had some will have started to grow in August) and it is safe to harvest for up to about 6 weeks. Recent plantings ( say previous year from crowns) are best allowed to grow without a harvest. Remember that sound establishment of the plants means a harvest every year for up to 40 years!! Plan your Asparagus patch carefully. It is indeed an investment for the future. Part of Asparagus management does mean weeding them during summer. If some groundcover invades your Asparagus you may have to lift the roots and re-establish them again. It will set the plants back.
Most of the first heads of your Broccoli would be harvested by now. Broccoli is highly rewarding and will send up second and even third shoots which are still delicious eating – and then the top of the plant can be feed to poultry and the roots ( never leave them in the ground) can be put into the liquid manure for added Sulphur.
Feed Broccoli and Cauliflower with Potash and hold the Nitrogen back. It is the flowers we are eating and too much Nitrogen results in too much leave growth. Don’t worry if a few flower buds have opened, they too are edible.
We had very few bugs on our Brassica’s this winter so far.
The Broccoli Leaves are eaten in places like Cambodia and Thailand.
Eat Kohlrabi while young, old ones belong on the firewood pile – not worth eating. They are absolutely tops this year. We even use the young leaves in a salad and stir fry mix.
Plant Radishes regularly. They make a great snack and look just fantastic .Radishes can be grown just about all year here.
We have been harvesting Beans all winter so far. They are slower growing but excellent and perfect for winter meals. The cultivar we grow in winter is ” Provider” from Green harvest and is a good choice. We also grow a climber and they are doing well.
Rhubarb seems to do best if the crowns are planted in fairly large pots ( 250 mm or larger) Only the crowns we planted in pots survived last summers heavy rain. They definitely don’t like wet feet. We are trying again as a dry Spring is expected.
With a bit of luck Cobblers Pegs will be seedless for a while and it is the best time to get on top of them. Young plants ( and there are plenty of them) can be easily pulled if the ground is moist and added to the compost or feed to chooks. Actually they are edible but are not on the top of the vegetable list.
Prepare some garden beds NOW for spring plantings and keep the compost active. In a matter of weeks it will be one of the peak planting times of the year and you will be happy for every extra bucket of Compost you have available. It is one of the most positive things you can do.
This is a good time to plan for your spring plantings. Fix up your trellises ( you will need them for Climbing Beans and Cucumbers), sort out your stakes ( for Tomatoes, Egg Plant, Capsicum…)
This is also a good time to check your garden tools. Spring will be so busy you will have no time to waste with crappy tools.
Check out the wonderful seed catalogues too. See Green Harvest at http://www.greenharvest.com.au/ for a large selection of organic seeds ( and a lot more!)
What to plant in August:
Radish, Lettuce, Onions, Leek, Peas*, Carrots, Silver Beet, Chicory, Pak Choy, Tatsoi, Parsley, Mizuna, Mibuna, Celery – Flowers!
* best for cool areas
We will be at the Witta market 19. August. We have run out of honey but will have Cambodian Pepper and Lemon Grass Oil back in stock and of course candles and bees wax.
Enjoy your harvest!!
Pat and John
Max and Trudi
59/65 Kilcoy Lane
Conondale QLD 4552
Tel: 07 54944741