In The Garden - Highlights at St Erth in September

By Tina Thanos, St Erth's kitchen gardener

St Erth - Kitchen Garden Produce

Seeds for our summer harvest

Ah, September. With you, you bring spring, the hope of better weather, warmth, longer days and the opportunity of planting a vaster range of organic veg. But not quite yet for Blackwood.

I look at Melbourne with weather envy for even though it is beginning to warm, our growing season is still roughly two months behind. Remember that little Purple Asparagus? Well just like an Olympian who got off to a false start it has subsequently been eliminated from partaking in the harvest to come. We begged and begged it to go back under ground but it just wouldn’t listen.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. There’s still plenty of work to be done. This month is the best time for us at St Erth to be sowing a lot of our seed for our summer harvest. We’ll be direct sowing some of these crops, such as Radish, Lettuce, Roquette, Mizuna Red and Lime Streaks, Heirloom Beetroot and a mix of Purple Dragon, Atomic Red and St Valery carrots.

We’ll be raising all other seed crops in trays using heat mats. These include our Tomatoes, Capsicums and Chillies. Last season we had a bumper crop of tomatoes, and this year it can only be better.

We’ll be growing Green Grape, Tommy Toe, and two of my personal favourites, Violet Jasper and Pink Bumble Bee. If you’re familiar with these varieties you’ll notice they’re all cherry tomatoes.

Because of our shorter growing season in Central Victoria, growing cherry tomato varieties is ideal as they require much less time to grow and last season we harvested bucketfuls right into May!

We will also be growing mini sweet capsicum for the same reason as growing cherry tomatoes. When roasted, these make a great addition to our garden vegetable platter.

There’s also still plenty of produce coming from the vegetable garden.

We’re still getting a bumper crop of Fennel, leafy greens such as roquette, mustards, kale and 5 colour silverbeet, and a great harvest of side shoots from the Waltham Broccoli.  And lets not forget the spinach.

Look out for traditional Greek Spanakopita on our spring menu. Hopefully it will be as good as my mum’s!

Tina Thanos (6 September 2016)

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