Tips

The vegetable patch in late summer

powdery-mildew-on-pumpkin

February is a busy month in the edible garden. It’s a matter of balancing the demands of the remaining summer crops and preparing for the cool season varieties to come.

What to sow

Sow seeds of root crops such as beetroot, radishes, parsnips, carrots and turnips. A handy tip to keep the seeds moist and cool is, after sowing, to lay a wooden plank or some damp newspaper over the row of seeds. Leave for a week or so and then begin checking regularly to check for germination. Remove immediately after the seedlings appear.

February’s a good month too for sowing leafy vegies such as lettuce, silverbeet and cabbages. Lettuce particularly hates heat so think about watering seeds with chilled water or popping the punnets into the fridge for a few days after sowing. With cooler weather approaching, it’s now a better time of year to grow Iceberg-type lettuce such as Yates Winter Triumph and Yates Greenway.

Start leeks, broccoli, cauliflowers and Chinese cabbages. In colder areas, it’s getting a bit late for Brussels sprouts so move quickly to get plants well established before winter. Brussels sprouts struggle in warmer areas and may not be worth the bother in coastal districts. But in warm climates there’s still time for a quick sowing of dwarf beans, baby squash, sweet corn and zucchinis.

Fertilising

Before planting, dig plenty of organic matter – compost or manure – into the soil before planting. Some Yates quality blood and bone or organic Dynamic Lifter pellets can be added at this time, too. Use Yates Uplift Root Booster at planting time. It will encourage the roots to grow rapidly into the surrounding soil. Once the plants are growing well they can be liquid fed with Thrive All Purpose, Aquasol or Uplift fertiliser (in the green bottle).

Feed green vegetables very regularly, especially during hot weather, with a high nitrogen liquid feed such as Yates Thrive Soluble All Purpose. This economical, Australian-made fertiliser feeds through the leaves as well as the roots. Aquasol, a similar soluble fertiliser, has been used by Australian gardeners for more than 60 years.

Pests and diseases

Late summer is a troublesome time for garden problems. Watch for cabbage whites attacking young cabbage relatives. Yates naturally-derived Success is an effective control for these and other caterpillars. White fly, mites and other sap suckers can be treated with Yates Natrasoap Insect & Mite Killer.

Powdery mildew (pictured) is a prevalent fungal problem in late summer. Apply Yates Lime Sulfur which, despite its ‘rotten-egg-gas’ pong, has no withholding period so allows harvest of vegies immediately after application. Many other fungal and disease problems can be prevented by regularly dusting with Yates Tomato and Vegetable Dust. This product combines the insecticide found in Success with copper and sulfur fungicides.

Harvest

The other most critical job in the late summer vegie patch is to keep on top of harvesting. If crops are allowed to go to seed, the plant will cease any further production. And overripe vegies become magnets for pests and problems.


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