Harvesting time!!

June nights were a little cooler than normal but day time temperatures warmer than average.

We had good rain at Crystal Waters and the soil moisture is better than in previous years but actual rainfall is still just under the average for this time of the year and well below for the year so far.

No serious frost here at Crystal Waters and definitely no frost at our garden. Amazing how much food is available at this time of the year. Even the Beans are doing well while the Peas are also ready to harvest – abundance indeed.

You should be harvesting a load of vegetables from Broccoli to Cauliflower and Spring Onions to Cabbages from now on. It is getting towards the end of the winter planting season but there are still a few vegetables you can plant as seedlings if you get in early. The August planting calendar will look quite different as many of the winter vegetables would mature into the warmer spring months and require a lot more attention and protection from bugs. It is for the very dedicated Gardener only.

If you would plant Cauliflower as a seedling now you would expect to harvest them towards the end of November which generally is peak bug time.

Maybe there has been a little too much rain and too many foggy days for some of the vegetables in our valley. You may have noticed some brown florets in the middle of your first-pick Broccoli. This is the result of water pooling in the middle of the forming flower. There is nothing much you can do except maybe a paper bag over the head (the Broccoli head!) in the evening and remove it in the morning. The eating quality seems not to be affected.

Very few pests to report but there are a few mice and the odd Possum having a nibble. The White Cabbage Moth of course is still around and is doing some damage – mostly cosmetic. A frost would knock them.

You may have lost some Brassicas (mainly young seedlings) to White Cabbage Moth (the caterpillar). I keep an eye on all vegetables and if I see young larvae or the caterpillar I will spray with a Pyrethrum product about every week. Use as recommended. I find that a weekly spray will break their cycle. I spray with a hand sprayer in the late afternoon. Within a short time you will see the dead larvae. I only use Pyrethrum on annuals as this is a non – selective spray and will also kill beneficial insects. While this is an ” organic” spray only use it when required to save your seedlings. The spray will break down in the sun and is then harmless. Don’t spray edible parts of vegetables you plan to eat within the next week (eg: leaves of kale or the heads of Broccoli).

Most of Crystal Waters only receives light frosts and the choice of cold tolerant vegetables is long and includes: Broccoli, Cabbage, Horseradish, Radish, *Lettuce, Onions, Leek, *Peas, Broad Beans, Spinach, *Silver Beet, Turnip, Cauliflower, Mustard, Kale, Bok Choy, Tatsoi, Parsley, Mizuna, Mibuna and Wong Bok.

* These can handle light frost only and should be protected during the night.

All the Brassicas are wonderful eating and have been plentiful. Many varieties of Radishes can be grown in this area and they are not only great eating but wonderful to look at. I grow them in between Carrots (some books suggest to mix them with Carrots but I have not found this very successful) and my experience has been that red Radish are better than the White one as they are much less vigorous and are ready to harvest after about 4 weeks or even less. It is quite tricky to grow really good Radishes. They should never be woody or too hot. Take it easy with fertilizer and indeed too much compost or the tops will be too big and the Radishes too spicy/hot.

I’m a fan of Japanese Daikon Radishes. They are really easy to germinate but are slow growing this time of the year. Thin the rows – the small radish size roots are terrific eating. They are best grown on their own as they need some space. Daikons will store in the soil for a while if the soil is not too wet. In wet weather they may develop a black core. I still eat them but they don’t look very attractive.

Let an odd Broccoli, Mizuna or Tatsoi go to flower. The beneficial insects will love you for it. It is a good idea to have some flowering, wild areas near the garden for birds, frogs and insects to mingle. Be careful when harvesting Brassicas. We regularly find frogs hiding in Cauliflower heads and Tatsoi. And Mizuna when flowering, is one of their favourite habitats.

When we have a series of wet days the lettuces which spread seem to create a very humid environment which is attractive to snails. We had no problems when we planted two Cos Lettuces together or a Cos Lettuce with another Lettuce. Also, planting two of the Asian Greens; two Spring Onions or even Leek together seem to do okay.

If you struggle with too much shade in your garden during the winter months you may still grow vegetables like: Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Silver Beet, Endive, Radishes, Spinach and Turnips. They do prefer some sun but will perform reasonably with a considerable amount of shade.

Have a look at the New Green Harvest catalogue for some really exciting cultivars for many vegetables. Winter here definitely need not be dull. The colours can be amazing. And Green Harvest is open now on the Saturday morning of the Witta market.

What to plant in July:

Broccoli (cool places only), Cabbage, Radish, Lettuce, Onions, Leek, Peas, Carrots, Broad Beans (cool places) ,  Silver Beet, Turnip,  Kale, Lettuce, Endive, Chicory, Bok Choy, Tatsoi, Parsley, Mizuna, Mibuna, Wong Bok, Celery.

This month it is important to adjust planting to your local climate (eg: too late for Broccoli in warmer areas)

We still have honey available and will also have candles at the Witta market (20th July). The tea lights and the rolled candles are 100% beeswax. We make them here at Crystal Waters. The tea lights need to be lit with a lighter rather than matches so that they burn well.

Have a look here… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJoAg8CvmS4

Pat and John will have a good selection of seedlings – sun hardened and strong to make it  through all conditions.

Happy gardening!!

Max and Trudi,

Pat and John

Max Lindegger

59/65 Kilcoy Lane

Conondale QLD 4552

Tel: 07 54944741 swales1911@gmail.com