Now is the time to plant your seeds: Capsicums, chilli’s, tomatoes, leeks, cabbages, lettuces and salad greens, basil, coriander, spring onions are all goodies for October.
Seedling need sunshine so grow them in a sunny spot. When you plant your seeds into seed trays it can be a good idea to put damp newspaper over the top of them until the seed sprouts. (you need to check each day as you will stunt the plant if the newspaper is still over the top when it starts growing.) The important thing is to keep your seed trays damp, a small amount of water each day is ideal.
When the seedlings are large enough to plant out 4-6 weeks later, it is a good idea to soak them for 10-20 minutes in a seaweed tea or we sometimes use biofeed compost tea, this help them to get over their ‘transplant’ shock, and gives them some extra nutrients for strong growth.
Vegetables need a minimum of 6 hours of sun and 8- 10 is ideal so chose a sunny spot to plant them.
To prepare the bed for a spring planting it’s a good idea to dig it lightly to aerate it after winter and mulch it with fresh compost. If you don’t have a compost bin at home, now is the time to start one. The compost from all your food scraps is invaluable for your vegetables once it’s been composted down. This is a great way to recycle.
When you plant your seedlings it is important to ‘firm’ them in, that means making sure the soil you place back around the stem is tightly compacted down. This help the seedling to have a better foundation and enables it to grow strong roots quickly.
As the weather is always topsy turvey at this time of year, putting the cut off tops of large juice or milk bottles over them, works like a mini glasshouse and concentrates the sun that they receive. With milk bottles you can cut the top of the handle and put a stick down through it to stop the bottle blowing away. You need to lift these when you are watering to ensure that they still get water regularly.
If you only have space for some containers the vegetables that do best in containers are: Tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums, beans, salad greens and herbs.
To grow Capsicums, eggplants, and chillis successfully in Wellington these really need to be under a cloche throughout their growing life as they need a lot of heat to grow well. If you have a small tunnel house to grow these and lots of sunshine you can get some great crops from these. We have been making tunnel houses out of bamboo and recycled plastic from the Sustainability Trust – check out our facebook page for images.
Carrots, beetroot, radishes, pumpkins, zucchinis and potatoes can be directly sown into your garden in Spring, we have had more success with this in early November when it is a bit warmer.
Happy Gardening. With a little bit of attention it is amazing how much food you can grow in just a small amount of space. Have fun and enjoy eating all your fresh veges!