May 9, 2017
As farming friends over the Mountains experienced their first frost of the season it has become clear this week that summer veg will soon be over. The Thai Pink Egg tomatoes are done with the large Rouge d’Marmande soon to follow. The red and yellow cherry tomatoes still look vigorous but the first frost, which could be any day now, will knock them down. We will also loose the eggplants, capsicums, beans and the few remaining basil plants.
However, all is not lost. The large brassica family (broccoli, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, cauliflower) loves the frost. Kale tastes sweeter. The arch-nemesis of brassicas everywhere, the cabbage moth and their chewing green offspring, dies off with the cold weather. Alliums also love the cold with garlic and leeks already in the ground and onions soon to follow. We will be planting both brown and red onions of a few different varieties. The red onions don’t store well but stand up to the spring/summer heat as they bulb up. The brown onions last better but prefer cooler weather. Onions can be grown year-round if you select the right varieties.
Another cool weather crop that is exciting is peas, which grow well during this time of year. However, frost can damage the pods so we will be experimenting with frost cloth to try and have some for the boxes. Worst case they will make an appearance on your Spring menu. Greens such as rocket, baby spinach and lettuce mix also don’t mind the cooler weather. Beetroot, carrots and turnips will still grow, and silverbeet and chard relish the break from summer heat.
So, enjoy your last few weeks of tomatoes, capsicum, beans and eggplant and look forward to cool weather treats to come.
Yours in veg,