The temperature in April was close to average with minimums a little higher than average and the maximums a little lower and we had some great rain. The ground water table should be replenished here and the tanks should be full. We miss out on some of the coastal rain and our dams are not yet full. More rain is predicted. We need it as summer was relatively dry and hot.
Rainfall for 2019 so far has been 443mm. The average to May is 813 mm – we are well below the average.
The mornings are quite cool now. 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 during April and we spent ½ a day in our garden with the students. It was 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 an early frost.
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 okay 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. It is delicious – not only slightly steamed but can be eaten raw.
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. 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. We never had much luck here with Broad Beans – they start to flower as the temperature warms and they don’t seem to like such conditions.
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.
Trudi and I will not be at the Witta market but Pat and John will be there with as many seedlings as they can carry.
There will also be bags of Worm Castings available.
Note that Pat opens shop for seedlings on the Thursday BEFORE the Witta market (Thursday 16th May) here at Lot 59/65Kilcoy Lane, Crystal Waters between 2 and 4 pm.
Max and Trudi
Pat and John
59/65 Kilcoy Lane
Conondale QLD 4552