SOW & GROW
It’s a busy month and there’s lots to sow and grow You can direct sow beetroot, radishes, carrots, turnips, spring onions, peas, broad beans, spinach, Asian greens and coriander, and start more lettuces, brassicas, tomatoes, chillies and peppers in trays (just keep the last three inside or in a heated glasshouse for a while yet). You can plant seedlings of lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, spinach, silverbeet and asparagus; and at the very end of the month you can plant seedlings of your summer crops like tomatoes, chillies and peppers – inspired by the story in last month’s issue where gardeners across New Zealand recommended great heirloom crops, I am growing the pepper ‘Alma’ which I plan to dry and grind into paprika. From Labour Weekend onwards, you can direct sow dwarf and climbing beans and sow or plant basil, cucumbers, courgettes and pumpkins. But (as I say every single year!) if it’s still cold at night where you are, just wait for a week or two – crops grown under ideal conditions will quickly catch up and overtake those that started life under less-than-optimal circumstances! I am trying a new way of growing zucchini this year I like zucchini but I find they tend to sprawl and take up a lot of the available space in my intensively planted vegetable beds. Last year I visited a garden where the owner had trained her zucchini vertically which made them much more space efficient, so this year I am trying that too. Put the stake in before you transplant your seedling, and position each plant at the base of its own stake. As the plant grows, continue to tie the stem up the wooden stake so it’s tied in every 5-10cm or so (like you tie in the main stem of your tomatoes). Keep removing all of the leaves below the lowest fruit regularly so you end up with a single long vertical stem with a rosette of foliage and fruit at the top. This is a nice technique for square foot gardeners, as you can plant zucchini much closer together, and I'll be interested to see if this technique prevents, or at least delays, the onset of powdery mildew since it will improve the airflow too. Free seed for National Gardening Week National Gardening Week is on between October 18 and 25, and this year the theme is “grow an extra row” to share with anyone who needs a helping hand. And to help you do that, Yates is offering you a free packet of vegetable seed! Go to yates.co.nz to register between October 1 and 25, and a packet of seed will be sent to you. I wanted to encourage school gardens, community gardens, garden clubs, retirement villages or indeed any group of people to work together to grow food to share. So if you plan to grow as part of a community group, just let us know what you are doing and with whom by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org before November 30, 2021. Feel free to share pictures of your group, or what you are growing and sharing too. Ten community groups will be selected to win an amazing Grow an Extra Row hamper from Yates… worth more than $300!