As Sweethearts Cafe will be closed this month and reopening from 15 April, we will be meeting at a temporary alternative venue: Ted and Merryl's place at 33 Greenhaven Close, Burnside (Nambour).
This is an opportunity for a seasonal Autumn Crop, Plant and Produce Swap. So bring along:
- a fold up chair if you have one;
- any seeds you have to process;
- plants to sell/swap;
- planting material such as cuttings or tubers;
- surplus produce;
- newspaper/carry bag to take goodies home and/or
- morning tea to share.
- Beetroot - Green Harvest advises: "Beetroot 'seeds' are actually cork-like fruit containing 2 to 6 true seeds. Soak seed clusters in warm water for one to two hours then sow 12 mm deep, directly into fertile, well-worked, well-drained soil in a sunny position. Rows should be 30 cm apart; once the seedlings emerge, thin them to 10 cm apart. Avoid adding too much nitrogen as it promotes leaf growth at the expense of root development. Beetroot does well with a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5. An application of Backyard Blooms will give a potassium boost for more vigorous root growth. Supply trace elements by applying Natrakelp liquid seaweed; it will help with disease resistance too.
- Harvest the roots in 55 - 70 days, depending on the variety. For sweet and tender beetroot, start harvesting at golf ball size. Beetroot is happy to share a bed with onions, silverbeet, lettuce, cabbage, beans, dill, peas or strawberries."
- Alternatively, grow beetroot as microgreens. Bulls Blood is my favourite to sow for lovely young tender leaves as opposed to roots.
- Garlic - Refrigerate bulbs before planting and wait until the 8-9th April to sow the cloves. See this 5 step tutorial for preparing, planting and harvesting.
- Peas - Choose climbers if you have the space for a trellis or vertical structure. Dwarf or bush varieties are more compact and suit pots and small spaces. Either way, now's the perfect time to put them in before 3 April. There are many suitable varieties from snow peas to sweet sugar snaps - Green Harvest have seeds available or visit Yandina markets on a Saturday at Dave's stall where he raises heirloom and organic seedlings if you want a head start. Check out this Easy Guide to Growing Peas for tips.
- Rocket - This peppery salad herb is a cool season favourite. Sow seeds now and they'll be sprouting in 2-3 days. Check out this tutorial for tips.
- Beans - Climbers are generally more prolific over a longer period than bush bean varieties so make your choice depending on space and time you have to put up a trellis.
- Other suggestions include pick 'n' pluck lettuces, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, silverbeet/chard and carrots.
- April is one of the worst times of year for White Cabbage butterfly caterpillars. There are many strategies you can use. See Coping with Caterpillars for some suggestions. Land cress (also known as American Upland Cress) has been found to be toxic to the caterpillars so interplanting with your brassica crops may be a quick solution. You can source seeds from The Seed Collection.
- If scale or aphids are appearing on your citrus or fruit trees, use a hose to remove most of them for a few days or spray with Eco Oil.
- Take the opportunity to compost excess green waste around your garden. Remove fallen fruit and do a general clean up and mulch.
- Harvest your basil for pesto now before it starts to die back with cooler weather.
- Dead head marigolds and other flowers. Harvest the seeds.
Current Moon Cycle
To maximise your harvests, consider planting by the moon cycles. We are currently in a period of prolific growth for above ground plants until 3 April so get planting with all that soil moisture!
If you're planning on sowing seeds, seedlings, transplanting, taking cuttings, fertilising or dividing plants - now's the time to do it!
Learn more about the Benefits of Moon Gardening. Moon Calendars are available online any time for $12.50.