What we’re planting and doing April through May

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Hey all from the team at OwnGrown HQ! With the weather changing a little in recent weeks and a clear shift into cooler temperatures, mushroom foraging websites and groups are abuzz with news of finds of all the forest loveliness that autumn brings. However, if you’re not versed in the art of fungi ID and would prefer to stick with things a little more familiar, here’s a few ideas of what to plant in your patches in the Western Cape around about now…

Something a Little New
So, if you’re feeling a little experimental and haven’t done it before, April is a great time to be planting garlic – we recently got our hands on some heirloom giant garlic which we’ve been planting in clients’ gardens and are looking forward to the seeing results.

For those who aren’t following the new banting craze, potatoes are good to go in through April and May. While you’re clearing the last of the summer veg crops, you might want to consider sowing some cover crops on beds you’re not intending to plant up for veg this winter. For this – alfalfa and peas are great, nasturtium is great to sow now too.

The Usual Suspects
Going into the cooler months, think of all those lovely soups and hearty winter roasts you’ll be eating, for this its everything from celery, spinach, kale and chard, through to the light feeders like carrots and parsnips, beetroot and leeks. Broccoli is a winner now as is bushing varieties of peas like bolero and let’s not forget the humble cabbage. For those brassicas that were planted earlier that are now starting to ripen, keep them well fed with foliar feeds to promote health and vibrancy.

Companions
As the warmer temps recede, so you’ll find summer companions like marigold will start to seed, don’t forget to save some for next season whilst planting out chamomile and calendula.

The Critters
Like all changes in season, Autumn brings with it an influx of leaf eating caterpillars, snails and slugs. Our advice? Get out in the patch in the cover of darkness (with a head torch) and remove them by hand… great food for the chickens or fish. Do this over 3 or 4 nights and you’ll be amazed and how many you’ll find – you’ll see your plants bounce back almost immediately…

Let us know how you get on and enjoy this dynamic time of the year!

P.S. Look out for our blog on rainwater harvesting coming very soon!