Our first day back at the Stadium Market went really well. Our fellow stallholders were welcoming as always and we had many new and returning customers to talk to on the day! A great start to what will hopefully be a season of good growth.
We still have a good supply of basic landscaping plants, and each week we see more of the vegetable seedlings and herbs ready to come to the table.
September is a great time to get your vegetable garden in to ensure you get the longest growing season possible. Do be aware that we can still get a lot of erratic weather in Dunedin over the next month or two - so the use of frost cloth, cloches, windbreak and clear plastic shelters are all good options to protect your fragile plants.
When using frost cloth or other protective material, it is ideal to have it suspended over the plants so as not to flatten the tender stems. Also do make sure to lift it away when the sun is out so the plants can get all the sunshine they need. If the plants are struggling to find adequate light, they will become stretched and sappy and unable to support their own weight. This will also invite other detrimental issues such as disease and infestation.
After planting out the young seedlings, water them in gently and from around the base as best you can. Even gentle watering can sometimes flatten a baby plant so breath deep, and take your time - it is worth it to spend an extra few minutes to do this properly. Check your plants each day for any sign of nibbling - you may want to protect them from slugs and snails at this stage. A hungry critter can demolish these young tasty morsels in pretty short time.
Possibly the most important piece of advice I have for newbie vegetable growers is - plant what you will eat! While it is very exciting to try all the many wonderful varieties of vegetables, on your first go I recommend planting vegetables that you are familiar with as this will help you to identify when they may be ready to harvest. Once you are comfortable with the growing process then is the time to fire ahead and experiment with more. And lastly - if you have kids - get them involved! It is a great way for families to grow and learn, and it is good for a child's health to get their hands in the soil. Even better for them to know a little something about where their food comes from.
So - to practice what I preach - I'd best grab my kids and head outside. We have two trays of seedlings to get in the ground. Come see us on Sunday and get some for yourself!
I'm Kimberley, and I live in the beautiful South Island of New Zealand. I am very passionate about growing strong healthy plants that enrich us and our environment. Welcome to my place - feel free to look around!