Annual Garden Calendar
Ripe Capsicum Jelly
Some years my capsicum are a runaway success with loads of colourful ripe fruit. Here’s a simple capsicum jelly recipe to enjoy for a bumper crop, and it's easily doubled:
2 red or yellow capsicum
½ cup cider or white vinegar
¾ cup sugar
1 pinch salt
Roughly chop capsicum, removing seeds. Put in a large heavy saucepan with vinegar. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Transfer to food processor and process until smooth. Return juice to washed saucepan, add sugar and salt and stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Gradually bring to the boil and simmer very gently for a further 15-20 minutes until lightly thickened. Ladle into warm, sterilised glass containers or jars and seal while hot.
With summer well and truly here, it's a great time to enjoy multiple crops in the garden, and continue planting and growing fresh vegetables.
January Planting & Sowing
As your crops of summer salad greens are lifted out of your garden, it can be a good time to think ahead about planting root veges such as carrots and parsnip for the autumn and winter. If you have good protection from white butterflies it’s a good time for brassicas too as seeds of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and kale planted now will be able to get growing so they are well set up to provide a plentiful harvest for you later on.
Seeds you can sow
Beans, beetroot, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, corriander, kale, lettuce, mesclun, parsnip, radish, silverbeet, rocket. (As a general rule, allow eight weeks to seedling stage).
Seedlings you can plant
Basil, beetroot, leeks, lettuce, spring onions, spinach, zuchinni.
January 'can do' Garden Tasks
The more settled warmer weather in summer sees more consistent growth of your plants. Consistent watering this time of year will see your crops develop consistently.
Keep an eye out for new side lateral shoots on your tomato plants and pinch to remove these. Also, removing old lower leaves on your tomato plants will reduce the risk of fungus diseases, and allow for good air circulation around your ripening tomatoes.
If you have root crops like beetroot, carrot and potato in the ground you can mound these up with soil at the base of the leaves to encourage more growth, and to keep the sun off the roots.
Salads are easy to throw together this time of year, with basil, cucumber, corn, capsicum, carrots, lettuce, silverbeet, spring onions and zucchini in ready supply. Tomatoes will have started to ripen also. It pays to check through your garden daily in summer to be sure the birds don’t beat you to your harvest. Also, it encourages continuous fruiting, and you have more chance of avoiding those overlooked giant crops of cucumbers and marrows. I'm sure we've all had those on our hands!