Q&As/Other or Soil Preparation/Compost for Winter Vegges

Question

I am fairly new to vegetable gardening and previously only kept potted flowers and hanging baskets. Which vegetable plants are most suitable to grow at this time of year and over winter for the Wairarapa region? I am also intending on starting a compost bin, are there any particular tips for making the best compost I can out of my kitchen scraps?

Answer

It’s an excellent time to plant out your winter veggie garden. Prepare the site by digging the soil over and adding compost. Ensure drainage is adequate to cope with the wet months ahead. Vegetables to plant now include: beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, onions, radish, silverbeet, spinach, swede and turnips. Stagger your plantings to prevent the vegetables all maturing at the same time.

The secret to producing high quality compost lies in what is added to the compost bin, and not having too much of a particular material at one time. Kitchen scraps alone will not produce good compost but are a very important ingredient. Many garden materials eg: lawn clippings, leaf litter, old veggie plants and hedge/shrub trimmings can all be added.

Layers 8-10cm deep are more than enough before adding a different material. This may involve bagging some materials when they are abundant and incorporating them into the compost bin throughout the year. If room allows, have two compost bins so the compost can be turned once the bin is full. This allows better mixing of the materials and significantly speeds up the breakdown process. Ensure the compost is moist in summer months and somewhat dryer in winter months. Add horse/cow manure or blood and bone every few months as these products work as activators in the compost, feeding the breakdown organisms that are key to successful composting.

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