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On a Roll – Planting in Midwinter

planting in July

Inspired by my own last post, I’ve got it together to go out in the rain and plant out a new bed.  I’m wet and muddy, but I did have such fun. And the wood stove is going so there is hot water to get clean and warm again, and visions of broccoli and caulis and onions and carrots and beets and peas and celery and spinach and lettuces and kale to be harvested in a few months.

Advanced seedlings are such a wonderful instant garden technique.  The chooks came off this bed a week ago and it was mulched but empty (apart from some stinging nettle they declined to clear for me).  The seedlings have been growing happily in the shadehouse for the last few months in pots of compost mixed with creek sand, with some worm castings and seaweed brew to keep them very healthy.  Within a couple of hours, I have fully planted garden, and within a couple of months, harvestable crops.

Today I’ve planted a new set of seeds in the shadehouse to keep the roll happening.  It’s a little early but here in northern NSW our winters are short.  The days are already perceptibly longer and in another week we will reach the point in the day length bell curve when the days start lengthening faster and faster.  All of a sudden the season will shift. Spring, though it is still unnoticeable, is already in the air.  It’s a point in the calendar that has been recognised forever, celebrated in Europe as Imbolc, or St Brigid’s Day, in north America as Groundhog Day, in Japan as Setsubun, in India as Vasanta, and probably by Australian Aborigines too, though we white Australians have been shamefully ignorant in learning from them.

So I’m taking a risk on planting the first of the summer fruiting annuals, hoping it will be warm enough for seeds to germinate.  I’ve laid some old windows over the boxes to make mini-glasshouses to urge them along a little.  I’ve planted capsicums,  eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans – several varieties of each.  If nothing else, it brings me visions of warm weather to come.

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{ 6 comments… add one }
  • Kirsty@Bowerbird Blue July 22, 2013, 11:43 am

    I cant wait until spring, planting early seeds is such a small gamble, well worth a go. I wont be tempted though, we had snow around here over the weekend, it seems a long way off for summer vegies.

  • Vanessa July 22, 2013, 3:18 pm

    I love the instant garden. I’m too lazy to do the whole seedling thing so I tend to plant seed in its final position. You can pack so much more into your garden by using seedlings though. Good on you for getting motivated too. It’s a drizzly gloomy day here which makes the couch a little too inviting.

  • Jude July 23, 2013, 6:35 am

    It must be in the air; I usually wait until after Imbolc to plant tomatoes, but I just planted some seed in pots. The tide has definitely turned towards spring.

  • Jason Dingley July 23, 2013, 3:36 pm

    I too was thinking of getting some summer seedlings started. I have never tried it this early before but was hoping my home made mini green house would do the trick. And you are not kidding about spring is already in the air. My nectarine tree is starting to bud and it feels like only yesterday that it lost it’s leaves. I think it is very import for gardeners to get planning for spring now. It’s a golden time in the garden that can so easily be missed.

    Back on the topic of growing summer plants early – is the heat only needed for germination, and protection from frost? Or does consistent heat produce greater growth?

  • Linda July 24, 2013, 10:44 am

    There are definitely some things that really respond to warmth in their growth rate. Snake beans, for example, I won’t bother planting until late August or September. The later ones just catch up with the early ones anyway.

  • Jeni at Northern Rivers Dreaming July 24, 2013, 12:49 pm

    Spring is closer than we think – we saw a tree in blossom in Nimbin 🙂

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