I just love the riotous productivity of a summer vegie garden, though I must admit it can be hard to keep up with the insane growth and productive harvests. We usually have more vegies coming out of the patch than we know what to do with, so I end up selling some and giving some to those I owe favours. Fresh organic produce is always welcomed. This post lets you into my secrets for Increasing summer productivity.
However, I do get lots of comments from people who say that they close their patch down in summer as it’s too hard to get anything to grow. If that’s you, don’t feel despondent as it doesn’t have to be the case.
In a summer garden, tomatoes, corn, beans and capsicum flourish along with the greens and lots more. Over summer I often pick a whole meal from the garden, the planting is so diverse. I’d love you to be inspired and able to do the same, so here are my top tips for beating the heat and insects, and for growing a sensational amount of food in your garden over summer.
- First, it must be said that I have NEVER had burnt plants from daytime watering. Don’t be afraid to water at any time of the day. If your plants and soil look dry, give them a drink. Vegies will be too stressed to perform well if they are dry all day, waiting until you water at night. Even one dry spell will send your coriander, rocket and lettuce to seed, so keep them moist. I water in the evenings with the irrigation system here and sometimes do hand watering in the mornings and in the afternoon on those sweltering days. Of course, a mulch is imperative to protect the soil moisture too. My mulch of choice is sugar cane.
- Plant a wide range of edibles in your patch. Plan to sequentially plant small amounts as seed each fortnight to keep the supplies fresh. Over summer and until March, I plant our favourites. Here are just a few of them…
|Linda’s favourite summer vegies for awesome productivity.
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|Cos and oakleaf lettuce under shadecloth tunnels||Asian greens especially tatsoi and pak choy which are really hardy in the heat. We also love kan kong|
|Plant sweet corn seeds in blocks of at least 12 seeds, into fertile soil and ensure the water and liquid feeds are maintained||Edamame soy beans We love eating them and as they are legumes, they make great soil conditioners|
|Tomatoes. Heirloom varieties like Baby truss, Amish paste, Pink Thai and Brown Betty. They grow under fruit fly netting for protection.||Kohl rabi are the sweetest purple food I know. The leaves when dehydrated are like kale chips and the swollen stems make great spiralised pasta.|
|Leeks. The books tell you they can’t be planted now, but I grow them all year with great success.||Radishes and Asian daikon radish. These are also excellent pickled and a Japanese friends tells me they are often dried|
|Snow peas and sugar snaps. Yes, I know another one the books say can’t be grown now either, but with some shade you will still get a harvest. (Throw a piece of shadecloth over the trellis)||Beans. Oh I love beans. Snake beans and purple king climbing beans, sword beans, yam beans and wing beans. Just give most of these a fence to climb on and reap the harvests. French beans are bushy so don’t need a trellis.|
|Spring onions and red salad onions are strong summer performers. Grow society garlic if you want a mild garlic flavoured plant||Capsicums. This year we have yellow Hungarian Wax capsicums under fruit fly net.|
|Cucumbers. Low acid cuces like Summer Mid East Prolific are easy to grow as are the long telephone cucumbers but you need a climbing frame for them||Watermelons are great if you have plenty of space. They need lots of water and food for sweet results|
|Grow zucchini of any sort. This year we have the pale green ones. The bushes are about 2 metres long and still going strong||Eggplants are sensational and we simply love eggplant kasoundi and Kylie Kwong’s spicy eggplant recipe.|
- Keep your plants growing fast, especially the greens, tomatoes and sweet corn which are all heavy feeders. A fortnightly liquid feed to the leaves with something like my marvellous Liggy Max will provide the extra oomph your plants need for flourishing growth (let me know if you’d like some. I have it in stock and it’s very economical). I have a click on hose attachment that I add concentrated fertiliser to, and manage to fertilise the whole huge vegie patch in just 5 minutes. You’ll notice lots more leaf and rich flower colour too. Liggy Max is a balanced fertiliser with beneficial microbes
- Stop the powdery mildew and other fungal infections before it takes over your zucchini, tomatoes and cucumbers. Apply foliar seaweed solution on alternate weeks to help prevent powdery mildew. At the first sign of it starting, (even before you see it on the leaves) you’ll see the fungus eating yellow and black ladybirds. Spray with Ecofungicide. If it’s too late and the leaves have gone white, rip the plants out and soak in hot water in a tub before composting in a hot system.
- A lady asked me today what I did for insect control. Well, I do this… I practice vigilance with insects. Observation is your best method of control. Hand collection, feeding to the chooks, and squashing will often control most insects. Remove heavily infested plants as they are sending out help signals. Plant companions around your vegies to confound the pests (come to a class this year for this), cover your susceptible plants so you don’t need to spray and use natural sprays as a last resort.
- Finally, if you’d like to know more, much more, and enjoy learning at the same time, enrol for a class. The Organic Gardening classes at Ecobotanica are a wonderful way to really get into successful productivity. Click Here For The Latest on Offer