Saturday, 9 April 2011

winter veg

Growing vegetables in winter is, in many ways, so much more rewarding than in summer.  No scorching heat or humid mold, just slow-growing, rewarding greens.  But in the autumn, you still have to fight the dreaded cabbage white butterfly, whose babies would just love to feast on your seedlings.

This year I'm trying something new.  I've planted out my Tuscan kale seedling into the big tub and made a teepee of double-layered bird netting.  It looks messy, but it should be thick enough to keep off the butterflies (but light enough to let in the sun).  So far, so good!  By the time it outgrows this setup it should be cold enough that the butterflies have passed.
I've also got a few Chinese broccoli (gai lan) started, I just love them in stir-fries but they're not always in the shops.  I'll try successive-planting, and you need at least two or three plants per harvest for a proper portion.

I'm also planning on growing a few snowpeas this year.  I've learned a lot about growing them.  Thing one - you need a BIG pot!  It's not worth bothering if you're using small pots.  It's also not worth growing "climbing" peas in pots, they need heaps of room to spread out.  But even bush-type peas like a good support to help them grow.  You also need to know that rats will eat pea seeds and possums will eat young sprouts

So with all that in mind, I've planted a good bush variety (Oregon spring) in my largest pots with my pyramid frames.  I've also planted two bushes.  So I'm expecting a good crop this year.
I'll probably also try a few out the back where the melons usually grow, but I've not usually had luck back there between the possums and mildew.  Otherwise, that's about it this winter except maybe for some salad greens.  I've given up on the broccoli; they take too much space, time, and fertilizer for only a few heads.

I am, however, very impressed with my firecracker chillies, they're still going like crazy and I've had to give tons away.  So I've decided to try to "over winter" it - it'll die off quite a lot but with some luck and care, it'll recover in the spring and be well advanced for next summer.


Unknown said...

Love your netting to stop the butterflies - is sooo disappointing to come back after a few days and your seedlings have been devastated by caterpillars. My trouble is with butterfly eggs on my tahitian lime - and it is so quickly eaten if I don't pay attention for a few weeks.