Annual Garden Calendar
Here’s a simple ‘quick pickle’ recipe to enjoy. It's an easy one to throw together and store in the fridge for a quick snack or to include on a seasonal savory platter.
Cucumber and Fennel Quick Pickles
2 medium cucumbers sliced
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup cider vinegar
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ teaspoon coriander seed
½ teaspoon mustard seed
¼ cup sliced fennel and frond
Place cucumber slices in a colander set in the sink. Sprinkle with salt; stir to combine. Let stand for 20 minutes. Rinse, drain and transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Meanwhile, combine remaining ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the hot liquid over the cucumbers; stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes to bring to room temperature.
The festive season is almost upon us, and this rings true for the garden too. December ushers in vibrant seasonal berries and crisp summer vegetables.
December Planting & Sowing
With the warm temperatures it is still a good time to make successive plantings every few weeks of summer veges and herbs like beans, basil, beetroot, carrots, and lettuce to keep your harvest rolling right through into autumn. I like to plant second crops of capsicum too, if I’ve got enough room!
Seeds you can sow
Basil, beetroot, beans, carrots, kumara tubers, lettuce, mesclun, radish, silverbeet and spinach. (As a general rule, allow eight weeks to seedling stage).
Seedlings you can plant
Basil, beans, beetroot, capsicum, chilli, coriander, corn, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, kohlrabi, lettuce, mesclun, parsley, pumpkin, spring onions, squash, tomatoes, radish, and zucchini. (A good handful of blood and bone on planting will benefit your leafy seedlings).
December 'can do' Garden Tasks
December can be a busy month away from the garden with lots holding my attention elsewhere, so I find that more frequent, shorter stints in the garden achieve more overall.
As I'm checking for ripe and ready veges with my harvest basket to hand I've also got another basket which I add weeds and old withered leaves from the established plants growing. If I clear as I pick then I keep on top of weeds, and there's less places for sneaky insect pests to hide in dry and rotting material.
A liquid feed using worm wees and comfrey juice are a great boost to your plants with ripening crops, such as squash, tomatoes, cucumber and stone fruit.
Remove tomato laterals as soon as they appear so your plants can focus on developing their main leaf structure and fruit. If you can, do this on a dry day so water won’t cause disease in the small stem wound. – Don’t panic if you miss these, you can trim them later successfully.
Continue to stake your growing tomatoes to support them as their fruit grows larger and to protect them from wind.
All of a sudden there’s a lot to choose from in my garden, which I’m really enjoying.
My first cucumbers are ready, along with cabbage and a few zucchini. We're picking strawberries every day, and it's time to pull up the much anticipated potatoes!
We're also enjoying carrots, lettuce, rocket, radishes, and the last of the peas.
A good approach is to pick your fruit and veg as they ripen to stimulate continued flowering and fruiting through the season. Check crops often for ripe veges.