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Leafy Planting Days in Mid Summer

leafy planting in January

After the shockers of days this last week, yesterday and today are cool and wet.  It has dropped 12 degrees and we got half an inch of rain last night and I could hear my garden sighing with relief.  We aren’t predicted to go back into the heat wave conditions this week, and there’s rain likely next week, so I could cross fingers and toes that we’re through the worst of it at least for this year, at least here.

My garden came through it pretty well, considering.  I don’t have many leafy greens in this time of year normally – they’re just too vulnerable to this kind of weather, and the grasshoppers are around, and they have a tendency to bolt.  But gardening is for ants who live in imagination not grasshoppers who live in the present.  The seasons creep up on you. We’re already past the summer solstice and the days are shortening again, nearly imperceptibly so far but in another fortnight we’ll pass Lammas, the point at which the shortening days start the steep downhill run through Autumn.

It’s still a bit early for brassicas.  The cabbage moths will still be active for another four months or so here.  Except for brussels sprouts.  Shall I bother with brussels sprouts this year?  I am in a very marginal climate for them at the best of times and it’s not the best of times.  If I’m going to plant them at all, I have to plant now and nurse them through the cabbage moth season, but even so we probably won’t get enough cold weather for them to sprout nicely.  They’ll just bolt to seed without yielding a crop, like this one did.

I’ve planted lettuces of four kinds – Rouge d’Hiver, Brown Romaine, 2-Star, and Liz’s.  I’ve planted another round of flat leaf parsley and I would have planted curly leaf this time except I’ve run out of seed. I’ve planted coriander and dill and chives,  and lime and Thai and sweet basil.  I’ve planted silver beet of two kinds (Fordhook and Lucullus), and radicchio.  I’ve planted Nigella (though really it’s the seed I’m after, not the leaf).  I’ve planted leeks, and I’ve planted some celery though really it’s a bit early for it.  I would have planted amaranth and aragula except I have both self seeded in the garden.

All in polystyrene boxes of home made seed raising mix that is a mixture of creek sand (fine gravel) and old cow pats shredded by mowing them, with just a little old compost.  As they come up, I’ll transplant into individual pots with a much richer mixture of creek sand, compost and worm castings, so the germination mix can be used over and over and lasts for ages.  The polystyrene boxes work well all year, but especially this time of year when seedlings in punnets can overheat and dry out in a matter of a couple of hours.

I hope you are getting some good garden weather at last too.  The heat wave will have wrecked havoc with commercial crops as well, so a productive garden may well be a lifesaver in the months to come.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Fiona January 15, 2013, 2:23 pm

    Oh please send some rain north. It is really dry here and although the weather is cooler you can still tell it is just waiting to get hot again. I am planting more summer veg now that the worst of the heat is gone. Thinks like cucumber and beans and more tomatoes. It will still be warm enough to get another crop and more capsicums and egg plants too which I have my fingers crossed for.

  • Frances January 18, 2013, 1:13 pm

    This weekend is forecast to be 35 C, so will be too hot for seed sowing or transplanting. I have perilla, leaf amaranth, sacred basil and kangkong that I have been waiting for a window cool enough to plant in for weeks. These provide a few extra leafy greens at a time of year when the lettuce is bolting and the silverbeet has given up the ghost. I also need to propagate more Brazilian Spinach as clumps can drop dead once the wet season finally arrives http://earthwisegardening.com/?p=601

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