What I learnt this summer...

26 March, 2015

This post is inspired by E at Dig In, who recently posted about her summer learning experiences.

These are mine:

Sow tomato seeds later.
I sowed tomato seed in August. It wasn't worth it. Seeds re-sown in September grew just as well.

Don't plant tomato seedlings too close together.
Yes they are tiny now, but they will grow. Give them at least 60cms between plants. At least.

Do plant those extra bits of tomatoes, but do it early and plant them where they will get lots of late autumn sun.
The pinched out tomato stems that I planted did produce, but not much. But they were planted in a shady area and could have done better with more sun.

Plant out melons earlier. 
Melon seeds sown in September were ok, but these didn't get planted out in the garden until November and should have been planted out earlier.

Do overwinter eggplant and capsicums.
The eggplants I overwintered are the only ones producing anything. The one's grown from seed are tiny. But I might keep them for next year. The capsicums were well ahead of the seed grown ones. I'm going to see if these can go for a third year.

Do let some parsnips, carrots and beetroot go to seed.
Saves you needing to sow those at all.

Plant corn successionally.
Enough said.

Regularly water recently moved plants.
I transplanted some gooseberry plants in spring. They did just fine, until I got distracted in the business of summer and because it wasn't so hot, and I was distracted, I didn't keep an eye on them. They died.

Sow beans when you sow early brassicas.
The January sown beans (sown in the brassica patch) are just starting to produce now, just as the November sown plants are sucumbing to disease. I only sowed these as a cover crop while the brassicas grow. Worth repeating.

Protect apple blossoms from marauding earwigs.
I have all of about 12 apples on my 60+ apple trees. There were many blossoms, but these were eaten in spring time, I suspect by earwigs. Given I had 50+ apples on one tree alone last year, this crop is disappointing to say the least. Blossoms must be protected next year at all costs.

That's my list. What's on yours?


  1. Sow brassicas early (like at the summer solstice) and protect them from cabbage butterflies until they're ready to plant. Don't assume you'll have time to inspect them every day and remove the caterpillars.

    Garlic bulbs are always small..feed, feed, feed!

    Try overwintering capsicums...(like Bek says).

    Net apples as soon as the fruits form, no matter how tiny. Parrots actually like tiny, sour, green apples.

    Don't assume that because YOU wouldn't bite into an unripe quince that the parrots won't.

    Don't overplant....anything.

    Guard everything. Don't believe anyone who tells you rabbits don't like such-and-such. Rabbits have different tastes. Just like people (and parrots).

    1. Haha, don't overplant! Wise words. I have yet to actively follow such sage advice, but then again i kind of like having lots to give away.

  2. Like foodnstuff, protect those plants from the insects when I'm hardening the plants off. I had trouble with root maggots and they killed off one of my broccoli and injured another. Those insects are still out there even before they are planted.

    1. For sure! Insect damage (slugs and earwigs are my main problem) can decimate a crop. So frustrating!

  3. I had pages of "lessons learned" last year - my goal this year is to make my list shorter ;)

    Ugh - hate earwigs. I didn't realize they could be a problem for apple trees. What are you thinking of doing to protect them?

    1. Haha! Hopefully the list will be shorter this year :)
      I'm planning to put up sticky barriers, probably an inch or so wide cloth band around the tree trunks with petroleum jelly smeared on, so they get stuck and can't climb the trees to eat the tasty blossoms. Hopefully that will work.