Managing winter vege yields...and other stuff

Discussion in 'Planting, growing, nurturing Plants' started by davenz, Jun 4, 2008.

  1. davenz

    davenz Junior Member

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    It's my first year growing veges (bought my first house in late Feb) so its interesting to watch how things progress through the seasons. However, I'm not getting much to eat from the garden even though I started planting in early March. Some questions, some of which may sound stupid but I'm just beginning...

    - I planted broccoli, kohlrabi, silverbeet and pea carouby (like snowpea) back in my first batch on March 6 but so far I am only harvesting silverbeet (a few weeks now). Is it normal to wait this long for the others? They seem to be growing well but taking their time.
    - I just noticed a very small broccoli head (about the size of the end of my thumb), the plant itself is quite big and the flower about 40cm+ off the ground, at this height won't the flower keel the plant over if it's normal (err, supermarket) size?
    - I planted Pak Choi seeds next to the kohlrabi the next month, April 16, but they are barely past dicots now, maybe an inch off the ground, what's the matter here? Too cold now? Nutrients taken by the existing plants? Anyway, I'm supposed to be harvesting these now according to the seed packet but they'd just make a VERY small salad!
    - Likewise I planted radish (minowase) at the same time along the bed by my silverbeet (and another patch of kohlrabi) but it seems to be gone, or maybe a couple of dicots hanging around
    - Lastly, I planted another bunch of spinach, brassica's and pea's in a new bed (well, a refurbished old one that was full of weeds) over two weeks ago but don't see much happening. This bed is pretty dark (rich soil), we've had plenty of sun and they should have enough water. Maybe it's too early for this lot, but this leads me to...

    Does anything grow much in winter? When preparing for winter harvests is it pretty much set things up to start harvesting in autumn and continue to harvest the same crops over winter? It seems so because I imagine things will slow right down now but nothing's ready except my star silverbeet :) Good thing I love silverbeet...

    Could problems be due to not enough nutrients, too much, or overcrowded (i.e. lack of sun/space - I also filled the beds up with dill, borage, nasturtium, calendula, marigolds) and how would I tell the difference?

    On a positive note, I have four extra beds at the moment, two growing clover and mustard, one growing buckwheat and alfalfa/lucerne and the last growing alfalfa alone. So, plenty of space if I need it although some don't get quite as much sun. At what point should I cut down the clover/alfalfa/buckwheat/mustard in preparation for a new crop, and do I need to leave it cut down a while before putting anything in there?

    Alot of questions I know, sorry. I'll try and give back when I can.
     
  2. seussrules

    seussrules Junior Member

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    Re: Managing winter vege yields...and other stuff

    Hi Davenz

    I don't know much about your climate. Where I live (Melbourne) most leafy greens (spinach, silverbeet, various asian greens) do well in winter, as do a few herbs (particularly coriander) and lettuces (provided they don't get hit by frost, which turns them to mush :cry: ), and most brassicas (although, without a lot else growing around them, I do sometimes get problems with pest infestation). I don't usually put peas in until late winter/early spring, but they tend to grow pretty quickly once the soil temperature suits them. As you suggest, the speed at which everything will grow depends on your soil quality and temperature, sunlight and spacing. My garden has a western orientation, which makes for good winter light (but is savage in summer). A lot of the vegies you're describing love nitrogen (although the legumes are nitrogen fixers), so maybe look at providing them with some manure (being aware that different types of manure stimulate growing vs flowering).

    Hope it all goes well. The first crop in a new property is always fun!
     
  3. lionfish

    lionfish Junior Member

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    Re: Managing winter vege yields...and other stuff

    I'm in Melbourne and I find that my winter veg take a lot longer to crop than any of the times I read in books. I often read this blah veg wil be ready in 60 days, yet in my garden it is closer to 90 (or longer) days.

    I've got many of the veg you have planted and similarly, I am only starting to pick silverbeet. I've also got fennel, turnips, beetroot, garlic, onions, bulb shallots..

    My broad beans are just starting to flower, and my broccholi are the size of matchboxes. Depending on the type you are growing, they should get close to supermarket size. I've got the sprouting type which means I'll pluck each head earlier than that to encourage more heads.

    Good luck with your crop. I actually find the winter crop more satisfying than summer.

    Lionfish
     
  4. IntensiveGardener

    IntensiveGardener Junior Member

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    Re: Managing winter vege yields...and other stuff

    Hi Davenz,
    I'v got a very cold winter climate which i'm told is very similar to south island NZ. I still grow stuff in winter but its very slow. Mostly your right about the need to get things established before the severe cold comes. I plant spinach, beetroots, pakchoys , broccoli, caulis and cabbages in early to mid autaum (april - may) and am able to harvest broccoli, pay choy and spinach over the winter and the caulis and cabbages in early spring. With the spinach it does continue to grow over winter provided it is not over picked.
    Broad beans, rhy and oats are the only things which provided good growth right throughout the winter.
    I find that giving the plants a boost with diluted seaweed fertilizer in luke warm water helps a lot.
    cheers,
    IG
     
  5. SueinWA

    SueinWA Junior Member

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    Re: Managing winter vege yields...and other stuff

    Some vegtables are more sensitive to day length than others. Pay attention to what happens with the plants after your winter solstice (June 20). Increasing day length may trigger growth.

    Just a guess.

    Next year, try planting a few weeks earlier and see what happens.

    Sue
     

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