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Fruiting Planting Days in Early Spring – The Summer Crops Go Out

Plants know.  Well, mostly they know. They do get it wrong, but a lot of years of evolution have gone into picking the change of season.  Despite the cold snap we’ve been going through, this morning my garden reckons Spring has truly sprung here.

First of the season’s strawberries and asparagus are telling me so.  (The first of the season broad beans and brussels sprouts are just in there because I am so happy to see them.  Here on a high, nearly frost free site in northern NSW, I am right at the limit of their climate range.  Some years, spring springs too early to get a crop at all).

So, it’s a bit risky.  Last night was cold enough to really upset a baby zucchini or eggplant.  But I’m trusting my asparagus and planting out the advanced seedlings of summer crops that I’ve been raising in my shadehouse.

I’m planting out Blue Lake, Purple King, Madagascar, and Brown Seeded Snake beans, Roma and Principe Borghese tomatoes, eggplants,  Corno de Toro, perennial, and Baby Flat capsicums, golden squash, blackjack zucchini, Trombocino,  mini white and continental cucumbers – all planted as seed last month.  My rockmelon and watermelon seeds didn’t come up – just too cold for them even protected.  I’ll try again this month.

And I’m putting another round of seed of all of these in so as to have continuity of supply.  The trick at this stage is not to get too excited – only plant a few of each and leave room for sequential planting,  so as to avoid the boom bust cycle of gluts and shortages later.

So two, just two zucchinis are going out.  The other two I’ll keep in the shadehouse for a week or two, just in case the asparagus got it wrong.  But then I’ll recycle the potting mix.  Hold me to it!

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Canberra Greenie September 12, 2011, 4:06 pm

    Hi Linda
    I have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger award cos I love reading your blog with all its wit, wisdom and practical information. Come to my blog (canberragreenie.blogspot.com) to retrieve your award
    Greenie x

  • Alison September 13, 2011, 9:34 pm

    That asparagus is really very cute – is it destined for the dinner plate or for the plant? I would love to grow brussels sprouts and will have a go again next year, although I am not holding out much hope. My parents live in the Gold Coast hinterland though, and I might pinch a bit of their space and see if I can grow it. I have never had freshly picked brussels sprouts. Are they fabulous?

    My rockmelons and watermelons didn’t germinate either, I am glad you said it might be too cold, I was thinking I had dodgy seeds. Blaming my tools there 😀

  • kim September 14, 2011, 7:36 am

    It’s funny, sometimes you can fluke it…. I planted corn and rockmelons early here in the Hunter Valley as we are experiencing an incredible spring…and they are all up and growing madly. But it is so easy to get carried away when that first hint of warmth comes out isn’t it!
    Do you have any hints on getting capsicums to grow in a cooler area, Linda? I can get them to grow if I buy the seedlings , but if I plant the seed, nothing EVER comes up.

  • Linda September 14, 2011, 8:58 am

    Capsicums do like warm soil to germinate – consistently above 20C according to most sources. So that means warm nights as well as days. A very simple little hot box to get daytime temperatures up is a polystyrene box , half filled with potting mix, with a glass window over the top. But that doesn’t keep them warm at night. A warm indoor window sill or a closed up car – really the trick is just to put them in the same kind of spot you’d use for bread proving. They don’t need light to germinate, just warmth.

  • Linda September 14, 2011, 9:05 am

    Brussels sprouts are one of my favourite vegetables, which is the only reason I persevere – they like a longer cooler winter than I get here. I have to plant the seed around Christmas, to get plants mature enough to bear by now, and then I only get a few weeks of picking before the warm weather brings on the cabbage moths and aphids. Very lightly sauteed in olive oil or butter, with black pepper. Yum. That asparagus spear, with a few of its mates, was breakfast. These plants are mature enough to cut every spear that appears for a couple of months now, before letting them grow out. I also have some young ones that I won’t harvest at all this year. Best not to harvest for the first couple of springs, then only for a month or so for the next spring, then for a few months every year for twenty years or more.

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