Summer Season Checklist

Check out these super tips for the food garden this season.

1. Super berries

They say that the blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) is one of the world’s most effective superfoods due to its high concentration of antioxidants. Good news is that a number of great blueberry varieties are now readily available locally. Plant them in full sun in a space that will allow for a mature height of 1.5m and a spread of up to 2m wide. You can also plant them in large pots. Blueberries like moist, acidic soil so mulch them with acidic compost or pine needles and feed them with a fertiliser formulated for blue hydrangeas.

2. Snails don’t like parsley

That is a good reason for planting parsley between or as a border for lettuce, green beans or Swiss chard, all of which snails love to eat.

3. Keeping cool

Did you think spring was hot? December to February are even hotter, and while veggies need plenty of sun, they can get heat stressed during these months. Plants need to be watered more often too. Relieve the stress with shade cloth. Whether you use 30%, 60% or 80% depends on your garden, but it will make a huge difference. In very hot gardens permanent shade cloth is a real option.

4. Location, location, location…

Plant runner beans on the southern side of the garden so that they won’t shade other veggies. However, summer lettuce will welcome the light shade from the beans.

5. Don’t forget!

Check for pests. Aphids, whitefly, boll-worm and leaf beetles (including CMR beetles) are the major problems. Spray selectively with an organic insecticide, when an infestation is noticed. By their nature, organic sprays have a very short residual period, so spraying has to be frequent, at least weekly.

The Gardener