Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Cool Spring Brings Changes

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Cool Spring Brings Changes

Article excerpt

secret garden

with Justin Russell

IF you like your springs cool, wet and lush, then the season just passed was for you.

I've been in horticultural heaven for 12 beautiful weeks. Every day I look at the garden with disbelief, marvelling at just how well plants can grow when the soil's moist and temperatures hover in the low 20's for weeks on end.

In our part of the world, spring usually arrives rushed and flustered.

But this year, it's as if spring has been holidaying on a tropical island and is reluctant to get back to everyday life. It's been relaxed, and that suits me fine.

There are downsides to every season, however. Because this spring has been so cool, many plants have grown slowly.

In my garden, I reckon we're about a month to six weeks behind we're we usually are at the end of November a[pounds sterling] I'm starting to wonder whether summer might take the rest of the year off.

In the vegie garden plants that are usually in full production are just getting going.

The potatoes are on track for a Christmas harvest, but tomatoes planted after our mid-October frost are still only a couple of feet tall.

The corn hasn't flowered. Climbing beans are still reaching for the top of their trellis. Real heat lovers like capsicums and eggplants are piddling along.

On the flip side are peas. They usually stop flowering once temperatures are consistently above 24 degrees or so, but this year they're still pumping out white blooms and ripening juicy fat pods.

There'll be freshly shelled peas on the table for Christmas lunch.

If your patch is doing something similar to mine, my suggestion is to seize the day by viewing the cooler conditions as the perfect chance to practise succession planting.

For those who've never heard the term before, it describes the practice of sowing small amounts of the same vegetable in succession throughout the growing season.

The aim of succession planting is to provide a continual harvest over an extended period.

One of the mistakes many home growers make is to emulate commercial farmers. …

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