Garden Corner – September 22

September: Spring is in the air despite the cold and wet. The ground is getting warmer and the trees are starting to wake up from their slumber. The advice columns say that you can start planting potatoes but beware. If I plant spuds now, they usually sulk for a couple of weeks, before emerging from the soil on those delightful clear warm days, that spell frost at night. And if I am too lazy to cover them, they will get hit and it really sets them back for the season. Chitted potatoes, on the other hand, do some of their growing inside, protected from the frost so when they get into the ground they take off like greyhounds. Chitted (sprouted) spuds usually have lots of side shoots that can be ready for harvest at least a couple of weeks before un-chtitted spuds, which is an important consideration for an impatient spud lover such as myself. Growing your own spuds means no sprout inhibiting chemicals, but fresh grown spuds are their own taste sensation you can’t replicate from the store. Steamed new spring spuds with some premium olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary – divine! Up here in Tolmie, they are so easy to grow so give it a go! Best to use virus-free seed potatoes, but you can also grow your own from the sprouts in your pantry.

Have a good look at your available garden space and make a plan based on what you like to eat and how much of it you can grow. Stick with the tougher plants at this time of year. Peas, silverbeet, spinach, lettuce, onions, leeks and parsnips can all be planted now. Check tools and watering systems as the UV up here can take a toll. It’s might seem odd to say after all this rain, but get that sorted before you need them. Take note of any drainage issues you have and make a plan to resolve when it dries out. Keep weeding because those unwanted plants will be feeling the impulse of spring too and germinating rapidly. You can start to see your fruit trees like peaches and apricots start to bud, if you haven’t sprayed trees and roses for leaf curl and black spot yet, it would be good to get in there on the next fine day because once those buds burst you’ve missed your window.