Get all the early spring garden tips with Karen Sutherland.
- Have you missed planting your Beans and Peas, it’s not too late – read more below
- Make your citrus last longer, have a look at our tips for getting a longer harvest
- Planning your Spring Garden and still have some winter plants around, have a read about moving plants to allow for optimal planting and space
- Introducing new chickens to your flock? Read more about when Betty met Sage and Ginger …
Late Planting your Beans and Peas?
Hmm I think these are ready to plant today. Late planting for Melbourne as these will do much better if planted in autumn so they kick off first thing in spring. Using this pre-sprouting technique like this means a short harvest time before the erratic Melbourne climate decides to throw a hot summer’s day at us in spring, ending things for cool climate vegetables like snow peas and broad beans. To speed things up in this situation I’ve pre-sprouted on paper towel in recycled food containers. The paper is kept damp, re-wet every few days as long as the lid seals well, keeping conditions inside like a mini greenhouse. So in less than 2 weeks I’ve created a seasons worth of growth and I’m going to plant them today, protect from hungry snails, slugs, birds and rats!
Baby snow peas out on the rooftop in a Vegepod. These were the ones happily living in a mini indoor greenhouse being pre-sprouted. Hoping the Vegepod cover will keep them safe from the voracious rats we have at the moment.
Making your Citrus last.
Working from home means I get to spend time in my garden and I get to see the bounty around me as it grows and ripens. Here are a crop of ‘Lane’s Late Navel’ winter oranges hanging on the tree – the best way to keep them until you need them or they fall off. Finally have a decent crop on this little tree now that I’ve committed to hand watering it in summer. My garden is so packed in that I’ve found I have to hand water high water use plants like citrus to get any fruit.
Winter/Early Spring Garden Treasures
There’s often treasure overlooked at this time of year, I love to forage for all my garden has to offer throughout the year. Alpine Strawberries have such large flavour for such little fruits; citrus fruits if you choose your varieties well will last all through winter and spring like this ‘Lane’s Late Navel’ Orange and the gorgeous native Red Centre Lime. My little clutch of quails have laid all through winter although this hen pictured has just laid her first egg after some time due to being rescued from a stressful situation elsewhere.
Garden dinner – Even in winter you can grow your own greens. Here are freshly picked 5-colored chard, celery, parsley, some of my garlic, Thyme and some autumn tomato sauce made with my wonderful neighbour and collaborator Deb.
Moving Plants for Spring Planning
Don’t be afraid to move things around in early spring. As you can see can see I’m doing a lot of celery juice at the moment. I just transplanted these celery from the Vegepod to these recycled containers for more air flow to help reduce bacterial leaf spot and also because I need the Vegepod to protect the peas – more tasty to rats than celery.
Another major work in the garden has been a rebuild of the chicken area. Betty got quite involved in her new house build as you can see here. The bigger house allowed us to introduce 2 new young girls to the flock, so Betty finally has some playmates with the arrival of Ginger and Sage. Thanks to Deb my beautiful neighbour for raising them with her girls to an age that they can mix with an older chicken like Betty. The transition has gone well so far with Betty not as keen to gang up on 2 new girls, and the new ones being too young to take on the older hen in her home environment. Lots of greens and choko fruits have also kept them all happy . Betty has been lonely since the death of Veronica and then Deena, so now she is part (or boss!) of a flock again big thanks to The Engineer for the amazing new Chicken Palace.