Spring is here!

Pam MorrowThe Northern Rivers is blessed with a climate that allows many food plants to grow year-round, but spring is the still the time when local veggie patches really explode with life.

Plants that have been slow-growing over winter suddenly take off, and warmer days and nights mean sun-loving summer crops like basil, corn, zucchini and melons can go in to the ground.

Tyagarah organic farmer Pam Morrow, who sells her home-grown seeds, seedlings and fresh produce at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market, says that along with the veggies, spring is also the perfect time to plant some flowers in the garden, which will attract bees and other beneficial insects, helping to make your garden healthier and more productive.

She recommends flowers like alyssum, marigolds, and nasturtium.

“When they flower they attract so many bees,” she said.

“There’s not enough bees around now to help pollinate all the veggies and fruit trees, so you’re attracting more bees into your garden that will help with pollination.”

Pam says her summer seedlings are all starting to take off now, and she will have varieties like capsicum, eggplant, chillies and watermelon available at the market in the coming weeks, as well as a good mix of herbs.

All organic, Pam’s seedlings are raised in natural conditions, (rather than under lights), and are grown with all organic fertilisers, which makes them healthy and hardy. Many are grown from seeds Pam has saved from the previous year’s crop, so they are well adapted to local conditions.

For those who like to grow from seed, Pam has a good selection of seeds, including many heirloom varieties, which are all saved from her own vegetable garden.

For best results, Pam recommends to her customers that they transplant seedlings to their garden in the evening so that they have some time to adjust, and to keep them well watered for the first week. A good layer of mulch will help keep the soil warm and moist.

Pam is also harvesting plenty from her organic veggie patch at the moment  – look out for her home grown ginger, turmeric, silverbeet, kale and kabu – a sweet delicious Japanese turnip.

•  Find Pam Morrow’s stall, Iona Herbs, at the Mullumbimby Farmers Market every Friday.

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WHAT TO PLANT IN SPRING

Basil, green beans,  corn, cucumbers, lettuce, radish, tomatoes, rockmelon, watermelon, zucchini

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