Vegetables As winter draws closer, the opportunities for growing vegetables are reduced, but garlic and shallots should go in from now until early spring.
Vegetables Think ahead to spring and start improving heavy, clay-based soil by digging it roughly so different levels are exposed to winter frosts, winds, rain and sun.
Vegetables Cabbage, cauliflower and silverbeet can still be planted to stand the winter. Ground from which potatoes have been lifted recently is ideal for these crops.
Vegetables Cabbage, cauliflower and silverbeet stalks should be cleared from the ground once the plants have been harvested.
Vegetables By now, cooler areas may have had a touch of frost, but in all regions carrots, being cold-tolerant, can be left in the ground until August.
Vegetables Potato crops can be harvested before the tops have died right away from the plants.
VegetablesGarden maintenance is important at this time of the year. Hoe regularly between rows to control weeds and maintain a good texture (tilth) of the soil. Small weeds can be left on the ground but any with flower heads should be put in the compost bin as many will make a last-ditch attempt and produce seeds on severed stems.
Vegetables Onion seed sown this month will withstand the winter, then mature into good-sized bulbs for harvesting next summer. Prepare soil with wood ash (if you can get it), lime and some garden compost, or a general garden fertiliser. Space cleared of early potatoes or peas is ideal for growing onions.
Vegetables There is a good case for mixing vegetables with flowers to get the best production from gardens, especially those that lose the sun early. By now, planting of winter greens broccoli, cauliflower, silverbeet and celery should be complete. Celery needs regular and plentiful watering at this stage to stop it running to seed.
VegetablesIn all but the coolest areas, radishes sown now will not thrive, tending to bolt to seed, even when the soil is kept moist, and those that do mature being unacceptably sharp in flavour.
As blackcurrants are picked, the bushes can be pruned. Remove old branches that have borne fruit to let light in and air circulate. Next year's fruit grows on this season's growth, so do not be overenthusiastic about cutting back new growth. Photo from the ODT files. VegetablesKeeping the soil hoed at this time of year not only keeps down weed seedlings but also gives vegetables an effective mulch of broken soil that prevents loss of moisture lower down in the ground.
VegetablesAt this busy time of year, routine maintenance in the garden can be bottom of the list. Set aside a few minutes every fine day to hoe around all crops, except strawberries. Hoeing promotes air circulation, preventing the ground becoming hard and less able to take in water when it rains.
Vegetables Watering and weeding are the principal tasks in the garden over the next two months.
Vegetables Potatoes planted in August will be maturing and ready to eat for Christmas dinner. Dig them just before using, two days ahead at most, because the immature tubers do not store well. When left in the soil, they will continue growing and even a few extra weeks in the ground can produce a crop that is twice as heavy.
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.
Cucumber plants need regular watering at this time of year. Photo from vegetables.co.nz Vegetables Not a true spinach, New Zealand spinach (Tetragonia expansa) is invaluable for gardens that dry out in late summer. Allow 60cm between each plant and sow in groups of two or three seeds, thinning later. This plant prefers a hot dry sunny situation.
Vegetables At this time of year, potatoes can be earthed up easily when the soil has been softened by rain.
Hardy tomatoes can be planted outdoors, but they still will need shelter from strong winds. Photo by Gerard O'Brien. Vegetables French and butter beans can be sown in the open. Place seeds singly, about 15cm apart and 5cm deep. Runner beans for growing up trellises or on frames can be sown now in a sunny spot.
Vegetables From now until late next month is the best time for growing plants that will mature in autumn and be used in the following months. Savoy cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, silverbeet, parsnips, leeks, salsify and swedes can be sown for autumn and winter use.
Parsnips have a longer growing season than other root crops, so need to be sown now. Photo supplied. Vegetables Raising plants from seed is cost-effective and gives greater choices than buying plants from garden centres. Planting is usually done at twice the depth of the seed, but during dry weather it should be a little deeper.