News & tips -


Having recently experienced the scorching European heat, I find myself a little relieved to return to a more temperate, albeit wet climate. And to see the first tips of daffodils that were planted before we left poke their noses through the ground, was a lovely reminder that spring is not too far off. So now is the time to make the most of the quietest time in the garden.

Right now, is a great time to start sowing some of your seeds indoors rather than waiting for warmer outdoor temperatures. Whilst also cutting down on your to do list in Spring, getting a good start now means you can produce stronger seedlings that tend to be more resilient to pest attacks because they are bigger when planted out compared to direct sowing.

Cauliflowers for example are great to start early indoors because they tend to bolt, particularly in hot summers. So try sowing some early varieties at the end of July, plant out mid-September and harvest by mid-November through to December. It’s not just quick to bolt vegetables that are a good idea to sow indoors now - anything that originates from a hot climate - capsicums, chilli and eggplants - things that need longer to ripen, even tomatoes are worth getting in some seed raising mix now.

Onions are also slow growers and need a head start, so if you get going now, you can get the seedlings in the ground for mid-September meaning you’ll get a bigger and healthier crop.

At this time of year, particularly in the south you will need a heat source (heat mats can be a good idea) and a good source of light but there are plenty of DIY options out there too (on top of a computer is a good idea, as is a desk lamp). However, the biggest risk to your seedlings is overwatering. Seedlings can wilt from both under and overwatering, but most people immediately think underwatering is the problem and water the seedlings even more. The key to overcoming this is making sure you have the right growing medium. Loam based composts and growing mixes hold water better and are less susceptible to drying out. There are lots out there for you to try - and you can even have a go at making your own.