I’m still feeling positive so have just put in some sunflower seedlings. I’m hoping the dwarf plants will give a lingering, although small, crop of sunflowers. I love the petals for the sunflower pesto, and as a bonus they provide Vitamin A when eaten, to boost our intake.

Stocks, with their magnificent fragrance that wafts through a garden, are well worth planting now from seed or seedling. This year I have pink, white, red and lavender in tall and shorter varieties. They make a fragrant syrup used fresh on fruit salads or desserts.

Snap dragons are edible too and they really do love growing in the cooler weather. This year I planted some for late summer show, but the dwarf variety needed to be grown under shade. A small tunnel helped them along a bit. We have had buttercup yellow flowers, pinks and orangey reds from them. I cook them into cakes and use them as decoration, but remember before you use them, to open their little moths as there can sometimes be a caterpillar hiding in there.

Cornflowers have gone in as seed to, as have the hollyhocks. I’ve saved seed of hollyhock Summer Carnival for years now and they never fail to disappoint, holding tall spikes of flowers that wave above all our other plants.

Plant phlox, violas, violets, pansies, and nasturtiums (in warmer zones). And remember, you can eat the flowers of peas (not sweet peas) and broad beans, rocket, dill and fennel.

Vegies to plant now

Did you find the summer heat and humidity oppressive? Gardening is on hold over summer for many people for those very reasons. But do I sense a slight cooling in the subtropics? Maybe a couple of degrees cooler at night?

I was speaking to a lovely lady recently, who harkens from a cool inland area. She has had her open fire on already. It’s hard to imagine when we light our open fire once or twice a year and even then have to open the windows to let some of the heat out. (I’m chuckling to myself here as we used to live in a cold climate and had heaters going almost year-round.)

Higher hill areas, inland and southern climes may already be cooling off, so you’ll be getting right into planting seed or seedlings of the winter vegies like Brussels sprouts, cabbages, salsify, wasabi, parsnips, lettuce and carrots.

In warmer area where winters are mild, plant drum head or Asian cabbages, broccoli, carrots, radish, sweet corn, tomatoes, broad beans, capsicums, seeds of artichokes (so they flower before the summer humidity), snow peas and sugar snaps, garden peas (this year I’ve built up my seed stock of purple podded peas, so I’m looking forward to a garden of colour.

It’s not too late to plant beans either. Depending upon your climate, the beans may differ a little. Borlotti and broad beans love cool weather. Bush beans will still be happy in the warmer areas, so try yellow wax beans. The summer was cruel to zucchini, so you may get a few seeds and plants in before the chilly temperatures discourage them too much.

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