Organic Vegetable Gardening for Summer
The Summer heat brings with it challenges as well as opportunities for your organic garden. As its now more than half way through spring, your vegetable garden should already by prepared with crops that like the hotter months. But if you are not prepared, its never too late to learn and adapt!
In our subtropical climate, the summer heat has already reached us with high temperatures combined with incredibly dry conditions. This is a time when you need to be extra generous watering your garden. A dripper system combined with a reasonable mulch cover goes a long way with holding moisture in your soil. Without enough water, your plants will get heat stress, become limp, stunted and fall prey to insects.
Be sure that you are planting crops that like the warm and dry time.
Some good examples are: cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkin, eggplant, capsicum, tomatoes, water melon and rock melon. You can still plant spring onions and if you have created shade with your climbing plants, then leafy crops such as Asian greens and lettuce will grow well. I normally work with the Cos lettuce variety as they are more heat resistant.
As we move to summer in our climate, it is warm and wet, often very wet. At this time, mould can easily get a grip on crops if you don’t manage them well. Lighten mulch cover, create good airflow, minimise watering on their leaves and water in the early morning, instead of the evening. Be watchful in the week approaching the full moon, as mould often accelerates in this week.
Some other tips to work with are:
- Creating shade for leafy crops that can be heat stressed by using shade cloth or planting under frames you loaded with your climbing fruiting crops
- Ensuring that your soil condition is high so that it retains moisture. Such condition is mostly a consequence of your soil fertility regime during the year, but as a short term measure to give the soil a pick up, add compost, liquid manures and crushed basalt
- Work more with more sub tropical to tropical veg plants that love the heat. Climate change is creating opportunities to work with these crops that thrive in hot conditions
Enjoy the warmth!
Peter Kearney and the City Food Growers team
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