COVID-19 restrictions an opportunity to plant, Gardening Australia’s Tino Carnevale says – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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That’s the advice of Gardening Australia’s Tino Carnevale, who says gardening is not only a way to secure food, but find peace as well.

“It’s not just the produce you’re going to get, it’s the calming effect,” he told Leon Compton on ABC Radio Hobart.

“It’s a great way to spend a day.”

He described gardening as a “meditative pursuit”.

“It has the ability to make everything feel better,” he said.

“If you’re worried about food, putting in a lot of seedlings now will get you a solid start.”

If your vegetable patch looks a bit abandoned and sad, the first step is pulling the weeds out.

“Dig over your soil,” Carnevale said.

While the soil could be left as-is, he said lime could be added, or compost and blood and bone.

“You don’t need any other inputs other than that except your seeds or seedlings,” he said.

“The most important thing is water.”

Carnevale said March was a good time to plant leafy greens and brassicas.

“There’s lots of leafy greens you can put in, spinach is perfect timing for that,” he said.

“That will be feeding within a couple of weeks if you keep it well-watered.

“Get all your seedlings in. There’s a lot that can go in now, like beetroot, spinach and lettuce.”

He said leafy lettuce rather than hearted lettuce at this time of the year would give a quick turnover.

Broccoli, cauliflower and Asian greens could be harvested as seedlings, and turnips were a good short-term and long-term crop.

“Sow the seeds haphazardly, and thin out the plants as they come up, leave the stronger ones in and you’ve got a long-term feed,” he said.

He also said it was a great time for the onion family.

“Garlic can go in very soon. Shallots, spring onions, chives,” he said.

Alfalfa sprouts could be grown in the kitchen, he said.

“If you have an apartment and you don’t have a garden it doesn’t mean you can’t be productive,” he said.

Herbs could also be grown inside and outside.

“If you’re growing them inside you can pretty much grow anything,” he said.

“Use those sunnier sides of your house to get production happening, as long as you’re supplementing with water and a bit of food.”

While basil was finishing up, well established seedlings could still provide a harvest.

For those with a bigger garden, Carnevale said fruit trees would be ready to buy in a couple a months — so it was a good time to prepare the ground.

“You’ll get a more established tree quicker,” he said.

And, don’t forget your flowers.

“Autumn is a great flowering time. Go out and harvest them and bring them inside to add some colour.”

Many Tasmanian gardeners have already started using the time at home to get into their patches, including Kel, who said she didn’t need an excuse to spend more time in the garden.

“I’ve got a new garden bed so have been sowing whatever seeds I have that should grow at this time of the year,” she said.

“I mix veggies, herbs and flowers because I like to see the the randomness of whatever comes up.”

Bruny Island gardener Jo Smith’s vegetable patch is thriving.

“Things are growing exceptionally well and it was thanks to that last big chunk of rain we got,” she said.

“It’s important you remember everyone’s climate is different and it’s a big trial and see.”

Penguin gardener Fran Owens, meanwhile, has emptied her large pots of agapanthus to make room for more vegetables.

This content was originally published here.

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