What to plant in a New Zealand vegetable garden in April


Lamb’s lettuce aka corn salad or mache

We’re on the road into winter, but there’s still plenty of food to grow in the garden in April.

Words: Jane Wrigglesworth

PLANT COLD HARDY GREENS

Sow mesclun, rocket, corn salad (lamb’s lettuce), spinach and Asian greens (mizuna, mibuna and giant red mustard). All are cold-hardy, but if frosts come early in your area, sow in pots that can be positioned in a warm, sheltered spot, or use a cloche.

kale

SOW KALE DIRECTLY
Give it an open site in fertile, well-drained, but moisture- retentive soil. Kale doesn’t like acidity, so add lime before planting if necessary. The more compost or aged manure you can incorporate into the soil, the better. The less fertile the soil, the more bitter the leaves.

capsicum plant

GIVE THE LAST OF THE SUMMER CROPS SOME EXTRA LOVE

The late summer harvest will continue in many areas, but it will have slowed down. Encourage your tomatoes and capsicums to ripen by applying a dark-coloured plastic mulch over warm soil.

beetroot

PLANT ROOT CROPS

Sow seeds of carrots, beetroot, radishes and spring onions.

home made plant spray

MAKE AN ALL-PURPOSE INSECTICIDE FROM HOMEGROWN PLANTS

Place equal quantities of chopped mint, onion, garlic and lavender (a natural insecticide) flowers and stems in a bucket of water. Leave for 24 hours, strain, then spray on plants.

potato plant

DIG UP THE LAST THE SPUDS

Dig up the last of your potatoes. If there’s any hint of disease in your patch, throw the foliage in the bin rather than the compost to prevent disease spreading. Bring the spuds to the surface and leave exposed for a few hours. Don’t leave them out overnight or slugs and snails will have a field day. Place in thick paper or hessian sacks and store in a cool spot. Be careful not to bruise potatoes when harvesting as this encourages rot to develop.

mustard crop

 

PLANT A GREEN MANURE CROP IN YOUR VACANT POTATO PATCH

Green manures are dug into the ground before flowering to return nutrients to the soil. Mustard is ideal following potatoes. It’s quick growing and can be turned into the soil in July or August, giving it time to decompose (5-6 weeks) and enrich the soil before spring planting begins. Mustard is a brassica so avoid following it with other brassicas.

READ MORE

Veggie growing tips: How to grow radish, carrots, cauliflowers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and spinach from seed

Mizuna: the grow anywhere green

Growing kale over winter

 

NZ Lifestyle Block This article first appeared in NZ Lifestyle Block Magazine.

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