The last month of winter with spring around the corner. This might be the best time to start planning and planting those seeds or seedlings for a blooming healthy and colorful edible garden that will take away all the gloom happening in our world right now! Also, remember that it’s best to grow our own food at times like these. Let’s reconnect with nature and enjoy cooking our nurtured produce and cultivate a close relationship with what we eat!
Marking the transition period between the cold and warm months August is a great time to get out there and get your garden ready for spring. However, before you get started, you need to start cleaning up the garden space so that your greens can grow happy and comfortable. Yes everyone deserves some tender love and care! And if you don’t have much of garden space or none at all, no worries because there is always room for creativity! Planter pots, critter pots, boxes, or even old coffee mugs or shoes!! The options are endless. For more tips, you can check out the books How to Grow Food in Small Spaces or Grow Food Anywhere from Little Veggie Patch Co.
Cleaning up will include, pulling out the weeds, clearing those dead fronds on the ferns, edging garden beds, along with some pruning (although this must only be done towards the end of the month as pruning in winter allows entry of bacterial gummosis). The biggest thing you can do for your garden in August is to feed the soil. Start digging in any compost or manures and adding fertilizers so that they’re breaking down by the time you’re ready to plant. Top up some eco-friendly mulch on the patches to enrich the soil.
This said, although it is a good idea to prepare the outdoors it might be best to start planting in pots indoors, maybe under the windowsill or in a greenhouse if the weather is still cold and frosty. These can be easily transferred to the patch later. Spinach, peas, onions, broccoli, rocket, cauliflower, carrots and beetroots will all do well if planted in August in cooler areas like Melbourne. And most lettuces can be grown in winter if temperatures are not too cold, and the more you pick the more you grow!
It’s also a good time to start a herb garden that indoors or outdoors. A beautiful herb for growing outdoors is chives and August is a good month to plant either seeds or seedlings. Other frost hardy herbs like mint, thyme, or oregano can survive too!
Besides herbs, growing some native plants that produce nectar is a good choice as well. In this way, you can help our feathered friends who find less to eat during winter. Some options include bottlebrush, flowering cherry, or Camellia.
When it comes to choosing seeds, heirloom seeds are best for small-scale gardeners who do not use pesticides or other harmful chemicals. Moreover, they are easier to find and produce, making it cheaper and also easier to grow because they do not need strict growing conditions. Plus heirloom fruits and vegetables are known to have better taste and flavor!! Some of the favorite heirloom seeds that can be grown during this time are baby carrots, broccoli, and leeks.
Another great option that serves two purposes is seed cards! Paper Go Round’s seed cards greet as well as grow! All you need to do is plant these under 3mm of soil and water well. Lettuce Celebrate Your Birthday or You Rock my World, these are cards that bring a smile as well as motivate to sow!!
Plenty of veggies and herbs can go in the ground between now and the start of spring. So get outside in the late winter sunshine and start planting welcoming the season of new beginnings!!