5 minute gardening refresher: What vegetables to plant in March in New Zealand
It’s the start of autumn and time to get ready for winter, but still room for a touch of summer.
Words: Jane Wrigglesworth
SOW A CROP OF QUICK-MATURING RADISHES
The small red globes can be harvested as little as five weeks after sowing. Radishes grow better and develop their best flavour when the temperatures are cooler rather than warmer. Constant watering is important for quick growth, and makes for tastier roots.
PLANT CELERY AND KEEP WELL WATERED
Without moisture, stalks are often small and bitter. Lack of or irregular watering can also lead to a calcium deficiency, which in turn results in ‘blackheart’ where the heart of the plant turns black. Celery is slow on the uptake of nutrients in the first half of the growing cycle, but the rate of uptake begins to accelerate in the latter half. Before planting, dig compost and blood and bone into your soil. Start feeding with a fertiliser that’s high in nitrogen around 40 days after planting.
MOLLYCODDLE YOUR CAPSICUMS
Low temperatures during flowering can result in pointy ‘tails’, or three or even two-loculed fruit (as opposed to the usual four). Conversely, high temperatures (30°+) may result in blossom drop. Provide warmth or shade as needed. If blisters appear on the skin (sun scald), provide shade from the afternoon sun. Water plants regularly as capsicums, like tomatoes, are prone to blossom end rot (often caused by stress from dry conditions).
AS MAIN POTATOES ARE BEING DUG…
Replace them with cabbages, cauliflowers, broccoli, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts. Late summer-early autumn is the perfect time to sow and plant winter vegetables, as the still-warm soil encourages speedy germination.
DIVIDE PERENNIAL HERBS…
Such as sage, rosemary, thyme, marjoram and chives and replant. Alternatively, take cuttings (rosemary, thyme and marjoram), or layer sage.
SOW LETTUCE, SPINACH, SPRING ONIONS…
Sow lettuce, spinach, spring onions and peas directly into the ground. Carrots, parsnips, beetroot, swedes and turnips can also be sown directly, but avoid highly fertile soils or forking of roots may occur.
IN WARMER AREAS THERE’S STILL TIME TO SOW A QUICK CROP OF BASIL
Now is also time to sow coriander for autumn harvesting.
Jane Wrigglesworth is a gardening writer, blogger, and publisher of the digital magazine, Sweet Living. www.sweetlivingmagazine.co.nz