Summer is an amazing time for delicious produce, but there’s no doubt that the hot Australian heat can be challenging for growing your own, so we’ve got some tips to help you!
Here at Gaia, we are busily preparing new sweet potato beds for Summer. As we lift the older beds and bring the tubers into the kitchen, we take vine cuttings and transplant them into the new beds. The bottom of each cutting (by a leaf) will form roots and become the next vine.
In our production gardens, we are trellising cucumbers and tomatoes right now, and they need a lot of care and attention. If you choose to grow organically like we do, early maintenance on the trellis is very important. Work hard initially to skirt, or remove all lower branches on tomatoes and remove side shoots from cucumbers, encouraging the plants to grow vertically. Tie on with soft tie to support the plants, and prune ruthlessly to keep the plant open and well ventilated, this will help reduce disease vectors and pest insect problems. Spray with Dipel (natural bacterial spray) to keep caterpillars out, and look out for aphids hiding under your cucumber leaves – you can spray these with a soap spray.
Keep your beds well mulched and if possible use drip line irrigation to keep the water close to the soil surface, to avoid evaporation, this also helps to reduce disease in plants. I’d recommend setting up a shade structure for your salad beds for summer as this will allow you to grow lettuces, coriander and parsley without the plants bolting to seed.
Enjoy this wonderful time of year, and enjoy the fruits of your labour!
Gaia’s Organic Farmer