What a great turnout we had at yesterday’s Jamberoo Community Growers meeting!
Don Cairns, former resident of Kiama and Kangaroo Valley and now living in Nowra, gave an excellent talk about growing food through the season.
Don has been gardening for many years, and understands our climate and weather patterns very well. His tips and local knowledge were very interesting.
Some of his interesting recommendations included:
- growing tomatoes early in the season (for eating around Christmas), then planting a second round in the new year (for eating around May/June) to avoid the worst of the fruit fly during summer
- planting “green dragon” broccoli from seedlings, rather than seed, for truly impressive heads
- sow lettuces in between larger plants like broccoli – they can be harvested before the broccoli expands into the space
- treat your vegies like spoilt children – they have been bred to provide large amounts of food for their size, and need lots of pampering to do that effectively – don’t try to grow a “drought-proof” vegie garden or you’ll get poor yields
- sow sweet corn into warm ground – if you sow too early, you get poor germination and stunted growth, with lower overall yields
- stick to growing the vegies your family eats – it’s kind of obvious, but it’s a shame to leave good vegies in the ground until they spoil, and it’s a waste of time and money
- position your plot for best sun, and avoid planting near eucalyptus trees especially – they’ll suck all the moisture out of the vegie beds
- start new vegie beds in your lawn by simply cutting and lifting squares of turf (adding it to your compost pile), then digging the ground over and adding some lime and manure
- pay attention to soil moisture – peel back the mulch and see what’s happening underneath it
- if light rain is coming, it can be worthwhile to peel your mulch off the beds and onto the paths so the beds absorb the moisture, and then replace the mulch on the beds afterwards
- don’t crowd vegies together too much – you’ll stunt them and get a lower overall yield
- mulch, mulch, mulch