Sunday, January 1, 2012

Summer Cut Back

Chillies love Summer!
I am constantly amazed at what will survive in an Australian garden in summer, and most especially here in Adelaide, due to our severe heatwaves.

The best performers in that have blessed my garden have been the herbs, chilli, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsnips, beetroot, strawberries and capsicums. Not to mention the stone fruit trees that hang over from my wonderful neighbours.

No doubt there will be many Aussie gardeners with a great crop of sweetcorn ripening now, but on the flip side there will be many cursing their corn crop wandering what has gone wrong. It's all to do with the level of watering.  Sweetcorns are a thirsty bunch. The basic rule is to water three times as much compared to any other plant in the garden, or to use drip irrigation to ensure a deep watering.

Sweetcorns have not featured in my garden this year, for the first time in years, so that I could try a few new crops and better the rotation cycle in my small garden area.

Right now, my garden is starting to look a little more bare as many crops have been harvested, gone to seed and/or died back.

So now is the time for the summer cut back.

Cut back Dill after going to seed for a new crop
Cutting back Broad Beans adds nitrogen to the soil

What can be cut back? (my garden)
  • Broad Bean stalks - allow roots to die down to put nitrogen back into the soil
  • Dill - will re-shoot for a new harvest
  • Lettuces - those which have gone to seed need to be either removed to the compost or seed harvested
  • Broccoli - stems can be left to die naturally to put nutrients back into the soil
 What should not be cut back?
  • Tomatoes - leave even the dry broken branches as they act as protection against sun burnt fruit
  • Cucumbers - their leaves are designed to hide their fruit from the harsh sun and balance the plants' moisture needs

If you have any questions about other vegetable and fruit types, leave me a comment and I will endevour to answer your gardening questions.

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