The Garden in May- 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:   The Garden in May   The weather in April was warmer than usual and we had some great rain. The ground water table should be replenished here and the tanks and dams are full.   A chilly morning as I write this. Winter is not far off.     The forecast for the next few months is for ” average weather “. It would be great to have a “ normal” winter. We shall see.   We got a lot of seeds and seedlings into the soil. May is a very busy time in the garden looking after all this growing bounty.. We had a Permaculture course here and we spent ½ a day in our garden with the students. Great to have so many helpers.   The Garlic should be up and away and looking good. The Lettuce is doing just fine. Some of the Asian greens seem to grow by the day. The Peas don’t seem to care and the Beans are slow but producing. The Spring Onions never look back and it looks like there will be a good crop of Asian Greens and Broccoli. What Abundance to look forward to..     Make sure you keep Potatoes and Garlic and Asparagus weeded. Keep an eye on any pests. While plants are small a few snails or bugs can do a lot of damage quickly.     In 2009 we had a light frost late in April. It is not unusual to get very low temperatures here in May. Be prepared! Mind you, with all this moisture in the ground I would be surprised  to see a frost early.   Those of you gardening in low laying areas need to look at the list of cold tolerant vegetables I listed in the past and take extra care with Lettuce. In warmer, well protected  parts of the Hinterland Beans are still a possibility. They will grow slower but they will grow. You may like to choose a variety suitable for cooler climates ( eg Hawkesbury Wonder or Provider – a quick maturing type)   Locality is also important in respect to Potatoes: May is a little late for me to plant more but still OK in warmer micro climates.   May is one of the peak months for English Spinach. It will grow fast and should be pretty free of any serious pests. English Spinach can be picked at any size. Make sure that you cut or pull the leaves near the base. This will encourage rapid regrowth ( and more leaves to harvest over a longer period) and less likely result in fungal diseases. Fertilize regularly – every few weeks is not too often for such a productive plant – with a little Blood and Bone or a pinch of Worm Castings and/or a liquid fertilizer English Spinach can be a very prolific producer.   If your Broccoli and Cauliflower are about 200 mm high it is time to ease off with high Nitrogen fertilizer and apply some Sulphate of Potash and a little wood ash. Remember that we eat the undeveloped flowers of these vegetables rather than the leaves. You can plant more of these vegetables now and all the other Brassica’s like Kale, and many of the Asian Vegetables. Don’t worry about damaged leaves. As it is getting cooler and drier ( it will!) there will be fewer snails and Grasshoppers and the plants will generally recover.   With the milder winters some people report good success with Tomatoes. Try Roma Tom’s. There should be few fruit fly around now. Maybe get a bumper crop..   This is the season for all kinds of Lettuce ( have a look at the Green Harvest website for  a choice to boggle your mind) but protect them from any frost. Don’t over or under water. Too much water may turn them into a slimy mess but without enough water they will be tough and bitter. I don’t know why anybody would want to plant Iceberg Lettuce ( God’s way of making water solid) with so many lettuces which are easier to grow and nutritionally superior. Lettuces will grow into a harvestable plant in about a month from a seedling but you will be able to start harvesting leaf by leaf from about 3 weeks on.   A good time for Broad Beans, Turnip and Kohlrabi too. I hear that Broad Beans are “In” this year. They are best planted from seed, direct into the soil. It is a large seed.     What to plant in May: Carrots, Radish, Corn Salad, Turnips and Parsnip  ( best from seed) plus: Peas, Beetroot, Broccoli, Cabbage ( Savoy, Red and Drumhead do well here) , Cauliflower, Celery, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Endive, Rocket, Onions ( all types) , Silver Beet, English Spinach, Tatsoi, Pak Choy, Bok Choy, Mibuna, Mizuna, Leeks, Parsley, Chicory, Radicchio, Kale, Cress.   We will have honey at  the Witta Market ( on the 19. May)  Pat and John will have a good selection of Seedlings .   We are likely to run out of honey within a few weeks. Yes, we plan to have some comb honey too and more candles and 100% beeswax. And Rosella Tea as well as Pecan Nuts.   There will also be  bags of Worm Castings available.   Note that Pat opens shop for seedlings on the Thursday BEFORE the Witta market  ( Thursday 17. May) at lot 59 here at CW between 2 and 4 pm.   good gardening   max and Trudi   And pat and John     EcoLogical Solutions – Consultancy & Education Services 59 Crystal Waters, 65 Kilcoy Lane, Conondale Qld 4552, Australia Tel: +61 (0)7 5494 4741, Fax: +61 (0)7 5494 4578 Email: office@ecologicalsolutions.com.au Internet: www.ecologicalsolutions.com.au   I get often asked what the ideal pH was for various vegetables. I have included a list below. In my experience I have found that if you have a soil high in organic matter the pH is less of an issue. Still, for best results it is worthwhile to aim for a level close to the remanded. Green Harvest sell pH kits and tools suitable for the home gardener. See here http://www.greenharvest.com.au/tools/soil_testing_and_monitoring_prod.html  
VegetableOptimal pH
Artichoke(globe)5.6-6.6
Asparagus6.0-7.0
Avocado6.0-7.0
Beans6.0-7.0
Beetroot5.6-6.6
Broccoli6.0-7.0
Brussels sprouts6.0-7.0
Cabbage5.6-6.6
Cantaloupe – Rock melon6.0-7.0
Carrot5.0-6.0
Catnip5.0-6.0
Cauliflower6.0-7.0
Celery6.0-7.0
Chard6.0-7.0
Chilli pepper5.0-6.0
Chives5.0-6.0
Cucumber5.0-6.0
Dill5.0-6.0
Eggplant5.0-6.0
Garlic5.0-6.0
Gourds5.0-6.0
Kiwi5.0-7.0
Leek5.0-6.0
Lettuce6.0-7.0
Mint6.0-7.0
Mushroom7.0-8.0
VegetableOptimal pH
Okra6.0-8.0
Onions6.2-6.8
Parsley6.0-8.0
Parsnip5.0-7.0
Peas5.6-6.6
Peanuts5.0-6.0
Peppers – Capsicum6.0-8.0
Potato5.8-6.5
Pumpkins5.0-7.0
Radish6.0-7.0
Raspberry6.0-6.5
Rhubarb5.0-7.0
Rutabaga5.0-7.0
Shallots5.0-7.0
Spinach5.0-7.0
Squash6.0-7.0
Strawberries6.0-7.0
Sunflowers6.0-7.0
Sweet corn6.0-7.0
Sweet potatoes5.0-7.0
Swiss chard – Silver beet6.0-7.0
Tobacco5.0-7.0
Tomato5.0-7.0
Turnip5.0-7.0
Yam6.0-8.0
Zucchini6.0-7.0
[          ]     Witta market on the 16. September Lots of seedlings available and there will be an early rush!   Next Beekeeping Workshop: 23. September.   Good gardening!   max and Trudi   Pat and John   From: Max Lindegger [mailto:max@ecologicalsolutions.com.au] Max Lindegger 59/65 Kilcoy Lane Conondale QLD 4552 Tel: 07 54944741 email: max@ecologicalsolutions.com.au

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