It may still be cold and miserable outside, but our columnist Lydia Harvey is already thinking of spring.
For so many, summer may still seem quite some time away, but for the gardeners among us the sniff of spring is so close and with that the preparation for a bountiful summer garden begins.
This is how we're preparing to get ready for our summer harvest.
A plentiful garden is all in the prep work
This is the time of year to be digging over and nurturing parts of the garden that have been left dormant by getting some air and water moving through the soil, which may have, until now, been sitting frozen over in ice. We mix through chicken coop waste, pea straw and with gardens that have stayed productive we simply dilute and soak in worm wee fertiliser and add another layer of pea straw.
Plan your garden layout
There are so many things to grow and if you have limited garden space you may benefit from having a garden plan. Write down what you eat the most of and the spaces you have to utilise. Look into companion planting to boost your crops.
Cheat your seeds
This is not so much for the amateur gardener, but it is possible (and we do it yearly) to trick your seeds into early indoor growth. Plants such as chillies, capsicums and tomatoes can do well started off indoors in a warm sunny space (laundry or windowsills or by the fire). This means that come September/October when the risk of frost has passed you will have healthy large plants and you can be harvesting their fruits as early as November.
Continue to plant for now
Beetroot, silverbeet, spinach and lettuce are just a few of the vegetables that continue to thrive through these cooler months. If planting by seed, these are best started in a warm indoor space and once they are looking large enough and healthy enough transfer them to the main garden.
From Lydia's Garden: Roast broccoli salad
In a large oven tray evenly distribute broccoli florets, lightly coat in sunflower oil and ground pink salt.
Bake at 120 for approximately 15 minutes or until broccoli is slightly roasted.
Once cooled mix through sliced avocado, baby spinach leaves and a mix of sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
The broccoli carries through enough flavour for this dish but otherwise top with a light coating of balsamic dressing or extra lemon juice.