Early Summer

Berries are ripening, pea pods are filling out, broad beans are almost finished. Last season's parsley,

silver beet, mustards, celery, kale and lettuces have grown tall, with their flower stems keeping the

bees busy and well fed.

Cucumbers, zucchinis and beans are not far away and new potatoes can be 'bandicooted' from

beneath flowering potato plants.

Mulch, mulch, mulch! 

Hot days have already started to arrive, and this summer is predicted to be a hot and dry one.

A crucial garden job is to ensure that everything is well mulched.

A recent comparison of two adjacent garden beds, one mulched and the other with bare soil,

was a clear demonstration of the importance of mulching. Underneath its blanket of pea straw, the

mulched bed was moist; the other bed was dry. And that was in spring when the weather is gentle.

Fine mulches like sugar cane can form a dense mat that stops rain getting through to the

soil. Mix them with coarser things like straw of chipped prunings.

Sow these vegetables now:  beans, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumber, leeks,  

                                                 lettuce, mustards, parsnip, radish, silverbeet, sunflowers, zucchinis,


Plant as seedlings:  capsicum, chilli, eggplant, tomatoes

Sow these herbs now:  dill, fennel, coriander

Plant as seedlings:  basil

One hot day can kill off small seedlings and just germinating seeds,

so do keep them moist, and move to more shaded area if a hot day is forecast.

See: Success with seeds and seedlings


Enjoy those berries!

Berries are an excellent backyard (or front yard) crop to grow. Shop-bought berries are expensive and

have a very short shelf life. Raspberries and brambleberries (loganberries, youngberries, lawtonberries

etc) are easy to grow. 

Choose a position out of the extremes of summer heat - they will fruit in partial shade. Prepare a good,

friable patch of soil with plenty of compost, and keep the plants well watered for bumper crops. Feed

well with something like 'Sudden Impact' rose food (Yes, I know: it is for roses, but it works wonders on

fruiting plants like berries too.)

Berries do need to be netted - birds like them as much as you do.

The following is a delicious berry recipe that we use often throughout the year, with either fresh or

frozen berries:

250g brambleberries or raspberries or a mix

1-2 dessertspoons castor sugar

1 teaspn orange blossom water**

2 teaspns rosewater

1 tblspn brandy

Puree everything. Sieve if you don't want to pick

seeds out of your teeth.

Serve over icecream, yoghurt, fruit salad, frozen

bananas*, or any other fruit.

Use it as a dip for pieces of apple. Add to a

glass of home made lemon cordial.

Pour over a pavlova. Enjoy!

The original recipe (from Beverly Sutherland-Smith) used raspberries and was to go with canteloup.

*Frozen bananas are very cold, and this is a deliciously cooling dessert on those horribly hot days.

** Get good quality orange blossom and rosewater from Middle Eastern stores.