In our temperate climate, it is now time to plant vegetables of the Brassica and Allium families.
Common members of the Brassica genus is Kale, Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, and Kohlrabi. These are only a few cultivars. You may also be surprised that mustard is also a member of this family. So is Swede/Rutabaga.
Common members of the Allium genus is Onions, Leeks, Garlic, Chives, Shallots, Wild Ramp, etc. There are just so many Allium cultivars that it would take a few pages to name them all.
Anyway, where is this botany lesson leading? To my front yard veggie patch of course!
After I harvested all of the beautiful Queensland Blue pumpkins, I prepared the two garden beds for the next crop of home-grown veg.
At the start of each season, I improve the soil fertility. To each of these beds I added a bag of well-rotted cow manure, a bag of sheep manure, a couple of small flower pots of blood and bone, and then a couple of handfuls of dolomite lime per bed. Both Brassica and Allium like a little bit of lime, and are heavy feeders, especially the Brassica. Then I dig the beds over with a garden fork down to the depth of the prongs.
Once both beds are dug over, with all dirt clods broken down and raked to a smooth tilth, I usually add a thin layer of mulch in the form of sugar cane mulch. I only apply a thin layer during winter for two reasons. It allows the light rain we get here in winter to penetrate into the soil, and it provides less cover for insects like earwigs that may eat the seedlings.
Then I water the bed well to ensure it is moist before I plant anything.
So on to the planting. Here are some garlic bulbs that I saved from last years crop. Garlic is easy to plant and grow in the home garden, and you can see how I grow it in this post titled How To Grow Garlic.
Leeks are just as easy to grow. Just separate each seedling and then get a broom handle and push a hole into the soil, as deep as the seedling is tall. Then just dropped the seedling into the depression, water the hole and the dirt fills in around the seedling. If you would like to see a successful crop that I planted a while back, check out this post titled Taking A Leek! I haven’t planted any for the last couple of years, so they are back by popular request from the good lady wife.
The reason I plant leeks like this is to maximise the white part of the leek. Some growers wrap newspaper around the stem of the leek to blanch the stem, but I find that that technique attracts too many wood lice and earwigs that feast on the leek. Initially planting the leek deeply does the same job and protects them at the same time.
Finally, the Brassica bed. I planted red and white cabbages, mini cauliflower, sprouting broccoli, and kale in the Allium bed (ran out of space).
I am keeping an eye out for cabbage moths to make sure that they don’t decimate the seedlings with their caterpillars. As it is cooling down now, there shouldn’t be too many of them around, but I will check none the less.
So dear reader, that is what has replaced the pumpkins in the front yard veggie patch. Over the coming weekend, I will take photos of what I have planted in the main veggie patch. I have been a busy boy.
What have you been planting lately in your neck of the woods, even if it is as small as a balcony garden, or as large as an acre? I am always interested to read what others are planting around this time of year.