After a couple of cold snaps in July, the weather has mostly settled down – and with the number of daylight hours visibly increasing, perhaps summer is on its way.
I had written off the garlic we planted about a week after winter solstice as a lost cause, but almost all of it has suddenly sprouted. Maybe it heard me saying we should dig the bed over and prepare it for something else, and finally got its hustle on…
We also have seed potatoes chitting in the linen cupboard. This year we’ve gone for ‘Heather’, a red variety that’s good for roasting or boiling, and we should be eating them at Christmas.
As it’s been my second (and last for now) week at home, we’ve put a bit of effort into tidying things up in the garden, and planning some next steps. Here are the 5 main things we’ve done:
- Pruned our fruit trees
It’s really a bit late for this, but pruning needs to be done on a dry day, so we took the chance we had. We pruned to remove any dead wood, and to open out the branches so we can get better air flow through the tree (which reduces the chance of fungal diseases). As a bonus, it also means there’s more room for fruit to form.
- Nipped flowers and fruit off our strawberries
This felt harsh – the promise of strawberries is alluring, even though out-of-season fruit isn’t good to eat. Trimming these back now, however, means the plants will put all their energy into growing. Ultimately, they’ll be ready to fruit well when the summer really hits, so a little imaginary loss now will be well worth it in December.
- Freed our citrus from their frost cloth
This is another reasonably big call – we can’t promise there won’t be any more frosty mornings, but it seems a decent bet we’re through the coldest part of winter. These new trees (we only bought them in early winter) were also outgrowing their wispy cloth shrouds, and we figured that improving their access to sunlight is probably more beneficial to them at this point.
- Pulled out (most of) our carrots
We’ve had carrots in the ground for quite a while, and would have harvested them at least a month or two ago, if we didn’t already have an abundant supply. Carrots store well in the ground for quite a while, but now they’re starting to grow too large for their own good, so out they came. As a bonus, for the next few days our pet rabbits get to enjoy a treat of fresh carrot leaves!
- Started planning the summer garden
Yes – it’s that time again! Our first challenge is figuring out where to plant in summer, since quite a few of the things in the ground now (garlic, kale, cavolo nero and even silverbeet) will still be growing well into the summer. We’ll need to find room for lettuces, tomatoes, corn and a few other summer goodies somewhere!