Spring Has Sprung

For those of us living in cool temperate areas spring is well and truly here, especially if you’ve had lots of rain like we have.

And that means that everything in the garden (and outside the garden!) is growing.

So it’s now time to plant seeds and seedlings for the main summer crops.

It also means that weeds are growing.

In fact there is so much to do it is really hard keeping up with things!

But there is a way of harnessing the weed growth and using it to help boost the growth of your summer crops.

Weeds as a resource

If you don’t already have chooks or other animals to help keep down the weeds, you can pull out or mow the weeds and use them as the basis of new beds, or bed improvement, to feed your plants.

What I do is I take a pile of weeds – it doesn’t matter if they’re dry or not – spread them out, cover them with newspaper or cardboard then sprinkle them with blood and bone and add a layer of compost and plant directly to that.

You can also use the weeds in the bottom of a wicking box.  Scarecrow and Milkwood both give more details about wicking boxes.

Summer crops

Now is the time to be planting things like all summer crops like tomato, capsicum eggplant, beans and staple crops like carrots, lettuce, bok choy and the last of the early spring crops like spinach and cabbage.

Growing your own food dramatically reduces the distance your food needs to travel (‘food miles’) and so reduces the environmental impact of your food…especially if you avoid using chemicals.  And home-grown food offers increased flavour and freshness and a fraction of the cost of store-bought…while giving you some free exercise and relaxation during it’s production!

And remember…grow what you and your family eat!  (Otherwise you’ll be wasting valuable space, time, energy and materials growing something you won’t use.) 😉

Then all you need to do is keep them watered, fed and protected from pests…and in a few weeks you will be enjoying the bounty of your labours!

Advice

There’s plenty of good gardening advice around the web, in books and from garden clubs and other people – and plenty of advice that is not quite so helpful.

As well as general advice, it’s important to ensure that you get advice that’s relevant to where you live.

I find the free monthly planting reminders e-mailed from Gardenate useful.  The reminders are tailored to your climate zone, and from there you can get some general but helpful tips on growing each food plant, again tailored to your climate.  As this advice is only broadly tailored, your results may differ slightly.

And here are some books that I have found very useful:

                        

What are you growing this summer?  If it’s autumn (fall) where you live, what will you be growing over winter?  Share your plans, questions and experiences in the Reply box below.

Till next time…be gentle to yourself and our world!

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