It’s easy to get enthusiastic about gardening in spring, but I think February is the best time to sow seeds. Get the help you need by coming next Saturday afternoon to the fresh food garden course or the following Wednesday evening to a seed sowing session. You can take away worms for your wormery, garlic to sow in May and herbs to grow in your garden. Bring a friend or two and get some social support too.
It’s still warm enough for them to germinate quickly but not so hot that they dry out. This is the time to sow winter greens and salad to keep you through the colder months. If you’re somewhere warm and your garden gets full sun all year you can leave it a bit longer, but many gardens in Wellington have limited winter sunshine so you’ve got to get things started early. You can sow lettuce, spinach, cabbage, kale, cauliflowers, broccoli, pak choi, leeks, silverbeet and florence fennel either in pots or straight in the soil. Carrots, turnips, radishes, beetroot and parsnips all need to go straight into the ground as they won’t like being transplanted. Herbs to sow now include parsley, coriander, dill and fennel. Salad greens such as chicory, miners’ lettuce, corn salad, mizuna, mibuna, komatsuna and rocket will grow better than lettuces in the winter.
Dig potatoes when the tops die down – same with garlic if you haven’t dug it already. Pinch out the shoots of pumpkins to keep them in check and so they concentrate their growing into the fruit. Keep making compost with all your garden waste, ready to spread for next season.