MAY VEGETABLE GARDEN
May is often a month of two halves. It often produces some wonderful late Autumn weather but, with reduced daylight and falling temperatures, growth starts to slow and that limits the varieties that can be sown or planted.
SEEDS TO SOW
If conditions are still reasonably mild the first week of May we can try a late sowing of carrots, peas and snow peas direct into the garden. Covering carrot seed with a light dressing of seed-raising potting mix instead of topsoil will aid germination.
With protection from the elements, onions, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, silver beet, spring onion, perpetual spinach and lettuce can also be sown in pots and punnets for later transplanting.
Broad beans are cool weather vegetables and the seed can be sown direct into the garden now to provide a useful fresh crop in Spring and early Summer. Be prepared for the fact that broad beans grow tall and will require support.
The world is divided into those who love broad beans and those who loathe them. If the only broad beans you have ever tasted were leather jackets swimming in a sea of tasteless white sauce why would you like them? In fact fresh, tender broad beans provide a gourmet delight that is rarely available in supermarkets. Grow your own and pick ‘em young. Delicious!
VEGETABLES TO PLANT
Seedlings of broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beetroot, silver beet, lettuce can still be planted in sunny, sheltered spots.
May, June and July are the best months for planting garlic and shallots. Both take six to seven months to mature so it’s a good idea to enrich the soil with plenty of compost and a general fertiliser prior to planting. Individual garlic cloves are planted just below the surface, pointy end upwards, approximately 10cm apart with 15cm to 30cm between rows. Shallots are spaced 10cm apart with 20cm between rows with the base of the bulbs pressed firmly into the soil but leaving the top half exposed.
Bare-rooted strawberry plants are usually available at the end of the month or early June so now’s the time to prepare the area by incorporating compost and fertiliser. Create raised beds if the drainage is poor and perhaps cover the area with weed mat to suppress weeds, conserve summer moisture and to keep the fruit clean.
Where space is limited, strawberries can be grown in patio pots, large hanging baskets, troughs or herb planters filled 50/50 with good quality compost and potting mix.
Contributed by Chris Green, SuperGrans Volunteer
:April is generally a great month to plant vegetables that can be harvested in winter and early spring. We’ve usually had some good rain to soak the ground after the summer drought but the soil is still warm enough to encourage new roots to develop. That means that plants establish themselves quickly and grow away strongly so long as they are protected from strong prevailing winds.
SEEDS TO SOW
Best results always come when using good quality seed-raising potting mix and sowing the freshest seeds. Kings Seeds, a great local supplier, stock a huge range of reliable flower, herb and vegetable seeds with varieties suitable for every season and situation.
If you don’t have the time or space for a vegetable garden you might like to try sowing the following varieties into pots and containers approximately the size of a 10L bucket filled with potting mix or a mixture of potting mix and good quality compost:
At the end of the month broad beans can be either sown direct into the garden or into pots for transplanting later.
VEGETABLES TO PLANT
Seedlings of cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, leek, spring onion, beetroot, silver beet, perpetual spinach, peas, kale, snow peas, lettuce and divisions of rhubarb can all be planted now.
Unfortunately our wonderful Autumn weather also suits the Cabbage White butterfly and this means that (because we don’t want to use poisonous sprays or powders on our food crops) seedlings of cabbage, broccoli, kale and cauliflower will need to be protected for at least the next few weeks to prevent caterpillar infestation.
I cover my crops with Quarantine Cloth over hoops made of alkathene pipe and securely anchored to the ground with planks and bricks to prevent any chance of the butterflies laying their eggs on the underside of the leaves .
First-early potatoes can be planted mid to late July so it’s a good idea to purchase seed potatoes towards the end of this month so that they can be prepared for planting by being chitted. This involves standing the potatoes upright in a seed tray, egg carton or similar and placing them in a light, warm, dry spot to allow the ‘Eyes’ to develop into shoots and so give our spuds a head start when we plant them out.
CONTRIBUTED BY CHRIS GREEN, SuperGran Volunteer
Kia ora. I will be resigning as the Chair of SuperGrans Western Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust on 1st April 2019.
Three years ago a small group of us formed the Trust, excited at the potential here in the Katikati community for the establishment of a service which could create opportunities for all ages to share wisdom, knowledge and life skills.
SuperGrans is now well-established in Katikati, with approximately 30 volunteers generously sharing their skills and experience with others. SuperGrans WBOP is thriving!
My thanks to all those who have contributed to the journey so far – the SuperGrans (and Granddads) themselves; the establishment staff and Trustees; families who have welcomed the involvement of SuperGrans into their lives; our financial supporters and the local schools, community groups and networks we work alongside. My thanks also to Barbara Martin who will be taking over as Chair of the Trust.
My best wishes to the current team of staff and Trustees for an exciting future together.
Naku iti noa na Pat.