Spring has sprung! There’s no better time to get out in the backyard vegie plot and get you hands dirty.
Our seedling suppliers, Lyndel and Kieran Weston, of One Organic, have plenty of healthy, heirloom organic spring seedlings available, along with natural pest deterrents; soil improvers like compost, biochar and effective micro-organisms; and a truckload of helpful hints and advice on creating a healthy and productive vegie patch.
Here are a few tips from Lyndel that will help get you on your way:
• Soil is everything. Good soil is the key to strong, healthy plants. Before you plant your seedlings, add good quality compost and well-rotted manure to your garden bed. Lyndel also recommends their new liquid soil improver, EMs or Effective Microorganisms, which is like a probiotic for the soil, adding healthy bacteria to help your plants thrive. EMs can also be added to your compost pile to speed things up.
• Mulch, mulch, mulch. Once you have prepared you soil, protect all the goodness and keep it warm and moist by covering with a good layer of mulch. Organic sugar cane mulch and seed free straws are good.
• Try heirloom varieties. Heirloom vegies are perfect for the backyard plot and they usually taste much better than modern hybrids.
• Keep the pests away. Strong plants are the best defence against pests, but there are some other safeguards you can take to keep you garden pest free and organic. For the white cabbage butterfly, try companion plant Upland Cress (available at One Organic). It attracts the butterflies, which lay their eggs on it, but the eggs will not survive. Dipel and Neem are other organic pest repellents.
• Plant flowers. Flowers like sweet alyssum, marigolds and nasturtium, and edibles like coriander that are left to go to flower will help attract bees and other beneficial, pest-eating insects to your garden. They’ll also make you happy when you look at them.
What to plant? Corn, tomatoes, green beans, basil, cucumbers and melons are some of the warm weather crops you can start now.