October did what it usually does by providing us with spring, summer and winter weather, often all on the same day. Strong winds towards the end of the month were especially trying for gardeners impatient to plant out summer vegetables. At this time of the year shelter from the BOP winds is the most important factor in establishing a summer garden. Higher soil temperatures, good moisture levels and lengthening daylight usually make November a great month to sow and plant all your favourite summer varieties.
SEEDS TO SOW
Tomatoes, capsicum, chillies, zucchini, cucumber, dwarf beans, climbing beans, butternut squash, pumpkin, basil, egg plant, melon, sweet corn, spring onions, lettuce, silver beet and perpetual spinach can now be sown directly into the garden or, as I prefer, into containers to produce seedlings for transplanting later.
Carrots, peas, rocket, radishes, beetroot, onions and parsnips can be sown directly into the garden. Covering seeds with a layer of seed-raising potting mix helps to prevent soil from forming a hard crust that can hinder germination.
Summer varieties of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower can still be sown or planted but be prepared to protect them from the cabbage white caterpillars that will soon start to infest these crops.
Potatoes can still be planted in November but the later they go in the ground the more they are susceptible to attack from potato psyllid, sap sucking insects that spread a bacterial disease that can ruin crops.
VEGETABLES TO PLANT
Almost anything goes this month. All the varieties listed in ‘Seeds to Sow’ can be planted out into the garden. It is also the time to plant kumara as they thrive in warm conditions and need up to four months to mature. Plants should be available now in garden centres but be aware that kumara have a wide spreading habit of growth and so require lots of space.
November is a great time to plant plenty of basil in pots or gardens to provide lots of leaves for summer pesto. In fact all culinary herbs and lavenders can be planted now. Lovage is a strong growing, perennial herb that dies down in winter and pops up again in early spring. It has a distinctive celery-like taste that is useful in soups, stews and casseroles.
Contributed by Chris Green, SuperGrans Volunteer
Want to know more? Come along to our monthly (1st Wednesday of the month) Growing Food with SuperGrans on the 6th November, 10-11am at the SuperGrans Offices, 14 Jocelyn St, Katikati and meet our volunteer gardening gurus! Free event, just drop in.
Photo: Growing Food with SuperGrans at SuperGrans Western Bay of Plenty.