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Notes from the Kitchen Garden: in this wild spring weather, what veggies can I plant now?

vegetable seedlings

Pumpkin seedlings are ready to plant now. Photo: Helen Lynch.

Did you think spring was here? It is, but we could be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

While September, October and November are transition months and variable weather is expected, recent shifting temperatures have been rather dramatic, giving the vegetable garden a shake-up.

Hopefully we’ve seen the last of the frosts: November is predicted to be warmer than average across Australia.

In cooler areas there may still be a few more frosts though, so have a sheet or shade cloth handy to throw over summer plantings when frost threatens.

It’s also time to keep an eye on the garlic patch, as harvest is on the doorstep. If you’ve planted early season garlic (generally planted in April) then November is harvesting month. So how do you know when your garlic is ready to harvest?

First of all, check that bulb development is happening from around eight weeks before harvest. The only way to check bulb development is to move the dirt away from the base of the stem. If you do this gently you will not cause any damage to the plant.

garlic plants

Garlic is approaching harvest, but be careful with your timing. Photo: Helen Lynch.

Scape production, the appearance of the scape, indicates that harvest is about two to three weeks away. This is only relevant in garlic groups that produce a scape.

Turbans, the most commonly grown early season garlic type, are classified as weekly bolting. They may or may not produce a scape, therefore not the most reliable indicator for harvesting.

The best indicator is the number of green leaves on the plant. As the plant and the bulb continue to mature, the lower leaves start to die off.

You need to harvest when there is a minimum of five

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