Your garden: November 26

Vegetables

Peas can still be sown and dwarf varieties, such as Novella, will produce plump pods in nine to 11 weeks from sowing. Greenfeast takes 11 to 13 weeks.

Peas do best in trenches filled with rich soil and compost topped with ordinary soil. Add 50g of superphosphate for every metre of the row and keep the top of the filled-in trench a little below ground level. This will help keep the peas roots moist longer after watering if conditions become dry.

Like peas, celery and leeks can be planted in heavily fertilised trenches topped with soil.

Brussels sprouts plants put in now will give an early crop for picking in late autumn. Another planting at New Year will mature over the winter to early spring.

Late-season potatoes such as Rua, Moonlight, Red Rascal, Heather and Agria should go in as soon as possible.

Choose a sunny, moist not wet spot with plenty of compost to feed the potato plants.

Main-crop carrot and beetroot seed can be sown. For something different in carrot colour, try White Belgian, Lubyana (yellow), Purple Dragon or Purple Haze.

Touchon, Nantes Scarlet, Egmont Gold, Manchester Table and Topweight are reliable, large-rooted orange carrots. Cylindra is a proven beetroot, useful for bottling. Water dry soil liberally the day before sowing carrot or beetroot.

Cucumbers and pumpkins can be planted now throughout the South. These demand extremely rich soils and warm situations.

Late November is usually the last chance to sow sweet corn, french and butter beans.

Lettuce, radishes, mustard streaks, mizuna, miners lettuce (Claytonia), mesclun mixes and other salad crops can be sown now, as well as Asian greens such as pak choi, tatsoi and hon tsai tai, turnips, kohlrabi and spinach. Swedes should be sown where they are to mature. Swedes, beetroot and kohlrabi can be transplanted fairly successfully to fill gaps in rows, but it is a waste of time trying this with carrots, turnips or parsnips, as they seldom survive.

Flowers

Violas and pansies will flower over a longer period and the quality of the blooms will be better if deadheaded regularly. This also prevents hundreds of seedlings later. When the flowers start losing their quality, cutting the plants back a few centimetres above ground level can prompt new growth and more flowers.

Wallflowers, forget-me-nots and other spring-blooming plants that have finished flowering can be pulled up.

Eschscholzia (Californian poppy) produces single or double blooms in shades of cream, crimson, yellow and orange and is a useful plant for poor soil that gets lots of sun.

Calendula, nasturtium, Cosmos and cornflower plants also do well in poor, dry soils as long as they get plenty of sun.

Fruit

Outdoor tomatoes should be making strong growth. Keep side shoots pinched out, stake as required and do not overwater if soil moisture is plentiful.

When the fruit begins to swell, mulch the ground under the tomato plants with straw to keep the soil warm overnight.

Apple trees sometimes have a fluffy white growth, American blight. It is actually an excrescence produced by a type of aphid to protect itself and can be spread by strong winds.

Methylated spirits or kerosene rubbed on the fluff kills the bugs. Because the aphids often drop to the ground, it is important to keep the soil clear for birds to do their work or, alternatively, rake in a soil fumigant to kill the insects.

 

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