Summer in the Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden

Date posted: 19 January 2021

Hot weather tips 

During hot weather, it's important to think ahead to give your crops the best chance of success.

Start by watering your plants in the mornings as this helps reduce stress when the heat of the day arrives.

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Try to be innovative with shade - think about where you can put up a shade cloth and other barriers to the sun. Do you have old sheets, umbrellas or other items lying about the house that can be used? Pegs and bamboo canes are your friends here!

Taking care of our garden friends

Think about the creatures we share our gardens with and put out some water for the birds and the bees. They need water in a shallow container, best kept in the shade, with a gently sloping area that they can land on and walk to the water. Pop in some pebbles or stones for easy access too.

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While we're talking about bees, it's good to know that some of our native bees require soil (clay and sandy soils) to lay their eggs in. So leave some areas of the garden for them - leave spots without mulch and cleared of plants. They're a vital part of the ecosystem and will help pollinate your crops. 

Don't forget about your worm farm! If it's an above ground farm, make sure it doesn't get over 30 degrees Celsius or the worms may sadly die. Bring them inside to a cooler place and keep them hydrated - but remember to drain the 'worm tea' water too.

Summer pruning

If your fruit trees are getting a little large (we're looking at you, cherry trees!), you may consider pruning them in summer to slow down their speedy growth. The plant will have the energy to heal pruning wounds, and it's a good opportunity to remove new branches that are damaged or crossing over other branches.

But if you have branches with unripe fruit on them, consider leaving them until after the harvest. That way, the tree hasn't wasted its energy and you, your neighbours and friends get to enjoy the fruits of your labour!

Carrot sowing

So, your tomatoes and zucchini are in, lettuce is thriving but what's next? Why not let your children plant and grow some carrots over summer. They are easy to grow and a lot of fun to harvest.

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The trick is to sow in shallow troughs, and to first mix the tiny seed with sand - but don't use beach sand. This helps for easy, more even distribution which reduces the need to thin the seedlings later on. Cover over gently with soil and keep the soil moist.

Allow the children to put their name on the bed with their carrots using rocks painted with their name or old lollipop sticks. Consider growing heirloom varieties that come in a variety of colours and add to the excitement for the little ones (and let's be honest, adults too!).

Try growing some vegetables or fruit trees amongst your ornamentals and flowers. Fruit trees and vegetables can add different heights, different colours and reward you with fresh produce. Having flowers around your vegetables also encourages pollinators which can mean more crops for you too.

New house?

Have you moved into a new home with some established garden? Try to resist the temptation to pull it out and start again. Instead, be patient by observing your space for a year, looking for shady spots, where things grow best and generally the overall health of the garden. This will help you plan ahead and avoid putting plants in places where they won't thrive or survive.

When selecting what to grow in your garden, walk around the district and see what is growing well. You may even strike up a conversation with a fellow gardener and share information ...and plants!

Happy sprouting, gardening friends!