Winter is now over and you’re itching to get back into the garden to plant this season’s crop of vegetables. So which veggies should you choose and how can you ensure they thrive? Here are our top tips.
It’s hard to imagine an Aussie veggie garden without carrots, and if your thumb isn’t as green as you’d like the good news is, they’re easy to grow from seed. Soft soil without hard lumps or stones is best to avoid weird-shaped carrots. Pick baby carrots at around 10 weeks and leave the rest in the ground to harvest as needed.
Lettuce is a cool season plant so stick to partially shaded spots, and most varieties need to be grown quickly for best flavour and appearance. Frequent watering, especially in very hot weather, is a must as lettuces have shallow roots. Mulch can also help to keep soil moist. As for how to keep snails away, coffee grounds and beer traps are surprisingly effective.
Okay, they’re technically a fruit but we’re willing to make an exception for this salad bowl favourite. Tomato plants like full sun and protection from strong winds, and staking helps to encourage fruiting. Most varieties can be planted in pots or directly into the ground and take about 12 weeks to mature.
Pumpkin needs sun, space and compost to thrive. And it doesn’t like mixing with other veggies so grow pumpkin plants at the edge of your veggie garden so they can spread out in peace. Pumpkins take a whopping 70 to 120 days to mature, but they can be stored in a cool, dark place for months.
Capsicum seeds prefer warm soil so it’s best to wait until about November before planting. Deep, well-draining soil with a little compost will help to yield a healthy crop. Leaving about 50cm between plants allows the sun to warm the soil and gives capsicums space to grow. Capsicums need patience – they make take three months or more to mature.
Radishes are super quick and easy to grow, and they don’t need much space, so they’re perfect for newbies. Sow seeds 6mm deep in rows, and thin out the plants if they get too crowded. You won’t have to wait long for a home-grown crunch in your salad as radishes are ready to pick in just four to eight weeks.
Most beans are climbing plants that need the support of a wire trellis, fence or frame to grow to about two metres high. One of the biggest issues with growing beans is over-watering so go easy and make sure soil drainage is adequate. Crisp beans are ready to harvest at around 12 weeks.
Take your zucchini slice to the next level by planting your very own crop. Zucchini seeds take six to 10 days to germinate but after that growth is fast and zucchinis are ready to pick in six to eight weeks. Even though it may be tempting to grow monster zucchinis, small is best when it comes to flavour.