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Posted on Apr 5, 2013 in Featured, Plant bios | 0 comments

Vegetables

Vegetables

A comprehensive guide to growing vegetables in a warm-temperate / subtropical zone e.g. Sydney, Australia. Spots sheltered from wind and utilising heat from brick walls provide a micro-climates suitable for growing subtropical plants. Discover favoured varieties, plant care and culture, potential problems and their solutions. You may also wish to check out the vegetable photo journal.

GLOBE ARTICHOKE

  • Variety: Unknown
  • Botanical: Cynara scolymus

Description

  • A perennial, thistle-like plant from southern Europe. Height 1 to 1.8m tall, with serrated leaves 5cm wide and up to 1.2m long.
  • Leaves: The leaves are smooth and grey-green on the upper surface, and covered with a whitish down on the under side. Wilts in strong sun.
  • Flowers: The edible portion of the globe artichoke is the immature flower bud. Only the tender bases of the thick, fleshy bracts (flower leaves) of the flower buds, and the solid ‘hearts’ of the buds, are soft enough to eat. The stems below the buds are also edible. Each plant produces 6-10 flowers.
  • Harvest: Pick artichoke when heads are tightly packed, twice a week from August/September until October/November. Select those which have reached full size but have not started to open, and cut the stems 15cm below each. Secondary buds emerge from the cut stems. Over-mature buds are tough and inedible. A well-grown plant will yield 20 to 30 buds.
  • Age (no longer in garden)

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Rich soil. Apply 25 g per square metre of a mixed fertiliser every month from January to October.
  • Position & light: Full to part sun (wilts in Sydney’s hot summer sun). They prefer moist, cool and frost-free climates.
  • Pruning: When the plants become dormant after harvest usually in October to December, cut them down to within 20cm of ground level.
  • Propagation: The usual way to propagate globe artichokes is to plant rooted off-shoots, Pull the off-shoots from established plants when the leaves are about 40to 60cm long (Feb-April), prune each off-shoot leaf back to about 15cm, then replant the off-shoots 75cm apart in rows 1.5 m apart. The original plants should continue to produce for four to seven years, if two to four of the strongest off-shoots are selected every April.

Pests & disease

  • The most damaging pests of globe artichokes are two-spotted mites, snails, slugs, nematodes and aphids. Powdery mildew can also be a problem. Avoid wetting leaves.
  • Pest & disease information

ASPARAGUS, Green

  • Variety: (unknown variety)
  • Botanical: Asparagus officinalis

Description

  • Perennial fern to 2metres.
  • Harvest: Only harvest in spring and then only on 3 year crowns. Leave all spears that grow before that in the ground. The third spring, harvest only for 4-6 weeks, then allow the latest spears to produce mature fern. Once producing wel,l the spears should be harvested daily. 30-40 spears produced per square metre.
  • Age Spring 2016: 4 yr

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Feed the asparagus plant in late winter before spears appear. In sandy soils fertiliser can be applied every month from early spring to mid summer. Apply compost and manure in autumn. http://www.weekendgardener.net/vegetables/asparagus.htm
  • Position & light: Full sun to part shade. Planted in driveway. Only receives morning sun 3-4hrs in summer.
  • Pruning: Cut back in winter when browning.
  • Propagation: 2 yr crowns between July and August.
  • First harvest: Spring 2015 (5 years)

Pests & disease

GREEN BEANS

  • Variety: Blue Lake
  • Botanical: Phaseolus vulgaris

Varieties

  • Blue Lake (TheLostSeed): Blue Lake produces early beans that are tender, rich and filled with white seeds that are of incomparable flavour. Dating from 1885, it is a prolific climbing bean with a long, steady cropping pattern (over 3 months). It does well even in adverse weather, they defy summer drought and remain sugar sweet and tender when cooked.  The dark green pods remain stringless and fibreless at all stages of growth.
  • More info: http://www.seedaholic.com/bean-french-bean-blue-lake.html

Description

  • Planting info: Sow direct from August to March | Germinates best at 18 to 25°C | Depth:  1.5-2cm | Plant spacing: 15-20cm | Row spacing: 60-80cm | pH: 6-7. Note: Seeds will rot in cold, wet soil. If sown too early and they do germinate, they will lack vigour and be overtaken by a later sowings into warmer soil.
  • Harvest: 65-80 days | 1.1kg/plant over 3 months. Note: Climbing beans produce over a longer period than bush beans.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Beans prefer to grow in moist, fertile soil.  Prepare the soil for planting by digging over and adding plenty of organic material. Beans capture nitrogen from the air, so make sure the soil contains the other essential ingredients, phosphorus and potassium. For the fertilizer use something like 10-20-10. They leave the soil nitrogen-enriched even after harvest
  • Position & light: Full sun. Sheltered from strong winds. Growing to around 210cm, they can be grown against a trellis, up netting or up canes set 100cm (3ft) apart. They can be inter-planted with peas or runner beans. They are an excellent variety to grow in cold greenhouse or polytunnel.
  • Support ideas: Create a support before planting, either make a wigwam with canes, lashed together with string at the top, or create a parallel row of canes, which have their tops tightly secured to a horizontal cane. Add to the ornamental appeal of wigwams by planting a few fragrant sweetpeas alongside them. These will twine together as they climb, attracting pollinating insects to the beans, and providing flowers to pick at the same time as the crop.

Companions

  • Likes: Beetroot, borage, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, marigold, squash, strawberry, corn, tomato, potato, cucumber
  • Dislikes: allium family

Pests & disease

BEETS

  • Varieties: Baby beets, Chioggia, Bulls Blood
  • Botanical: Beta Vulgaris

Varieties

  • Baby (Yates): Tender and sweet. Ideal for use in salads and as a cooked vegetable. Harvest when young and tender.
  • Chicogga (TheLostSeed): Beetroot Chioggia is the most beautiful of beetroots. It has concentric circles of dark pink & white flesh. The beetroot does fade to light pink when cooked though. It is a very sweet tasting variety. It does not ‘bleed’ like other varieties. Tolerates salty soil conditions.
  • Bulls Blood (TheLostSeed): This heirloom beet from 1840 is primarily grown for its tender, sweet, deep red-burgundy foliage, but the beets are tasty when harvested at the 5-7cm size. The glossy leaves reach 45cm high. Though it is edible, it is often grown as an ornamental, and its dark leaves contrast nicely with many garden plants.

Description

  • Leaves: Edible, including thinnings.
  • Planting info: Sow direct all year but usually from Autumn to Spring | Depth: 1-1.5cm | Space: 15-20cm | Row spacing: 40-60cm | pH: 5.6-7.6 | Soil temp: 8-30c. Each ‘seed’ is actually a cluster of 1-4 true seeds in a corky outer coating. The germination of beetroot can be poor so soak for two hours before sowing to ensure water penetrates to seeds. Does not like being transplanted.
  • Harvest: 6-7 weeks (baby). 10-12 weeks for full size beets.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Best in rich, light, moist soil. As with all root vegetables, avoid added nitrogen and fresh manure as this increases likelihood of roots forking.
  • Water: Keep well watered to reduce the likelihood of bolting and beets going woody.
  • Position & light: Full sun to part shade. Possibly part shade in summer.

Pests & disease

  • Beets are prone to fungal leaf spots, downy mildew, powdery mildew, damping off, root rots, while leaf miners, aphids, and caterpillars can also be problems.
  • Pest & disease information

Companions

  • Likes: Braccias, lettuce, onions, peas, silverbeet
  • Dislikes: Beans, tomatoes, dill

BROCCOLI

  • Variety:
  • Botanical:

Description

  • Leaves:
  • Flowers:
  • Planting info: Seedlings can be planted all year. | Harvest: 12-16 weeks. Yield: 250-750g per plant.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Grow quickly with regular high nitrogen liquid feeds.
  • Position & light: Full sun

Pests & disease

CABBAGE

  • Variety: Chinese cabbage – Orange Queen F1
  • Botanical: Brassica rapa, s. chinensis

Variety

  • Orange Queen F1 (Johnsons Seeds): Elongated cabbage with tightly packed leaves. Often used in Asian salads and stir-fries.

Description

  • Planting info: Can be planted all year but best planted Feb-Mar. Depth: 10mm | Plant space: 30cm | Row spacing: 30cm. Try part-sun in summer.
  • Harvest: 8-10 weeks.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Grow quickly with regular high nitrogen liquid feeds.
  • Position & light: Full sun

Pests & disease

  • Snails, white cabbage butterfly and other catapillars. Treat lavae (green caterpillars with Dipel). Netting successful if applied early.
  • Pest & disease information

CAPSICUM / SWEET PEPPERS

  • Variety: Californian Wonder, Mini Sweet
  • Botanical: Capsicum annuum

Varieties

Californian Wonder: Plants produce bell-like fruit up to 10cm. Can be picked green or matured red (Takes about 2 weeks for each capsicum to turn from green to red). Thick sweet flesh. Can be eaten raw or cooked. Heavy bearing. Plant height: 75cm.

Mini Sweet (TheLostSeed): Short, stocky plants covered in sweet, yellow, red and chocolate heirloom mini capsicums. Eat the fruit straight off the bush. Plant height: 50cm.

Description

  • Flowers: Small white flowers which drop when suffering heat and water stress.
  • Fruit: Delicious and sweet straight from the bush.
  • Planting info: Plant seeds or seedlings out in September – January| Soil temp for germination: 22c | Depth: 6mm | Plant spacing: 50cm | Row spacing: 1m | Protect from winds. Stake as for tomatoes.
  • Harvest: 65-90 days. Sow indoors and transplant out to produce an earlier crop. Pick regularly to encourage more fruit.
  • Yield: 2-4kg per plant.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Rich soil. As soon as flowers appear, start fertilising with a high potash fertiliser every two weeks. Late summer or as growth slows add some Nitrogen. Then another nitrogen dose to keep it producing as long as possible.
  • Position & light: Full sun. Protect from very hot days when young. Requires strong support.
  • Propagation: Seed collected from previous year.

Pests & disease

Companions

  • Likes: Tomatoes, parsley, basil, geraniums, marjoram, lovage, petunia and carrots
  • Dislikes: Fennel

CARROTS

  • Variety: Baby carrots, Danvers
  • Botanical: Daucus carota

Varieties

  • Baby carrots (Country Value): A delicious baby carrot with succulent, smooth cylindrical roots.
  • Danvers (TheLostSeed): Heirloom variety dating back to 1871 and originating from Danvers, Massachusetts. Produces deep orange, slightly tapered root, 15-18cm long. Tolerates a wide range of soils. Stores well. Excellent variety for juicing, cooking, freezing or salads.

Description

  • Planting info: Can be planted all year. In hottest months trial planting in part/full shade. Depth: 5mm | Plant space: 2-3cm (baby), 2-5cm (Danvers) | Row space: 30cm. Germination in 10-20 days. Once sown, keep seeds moist. Sow every two weeks for continual supply.
  • Harvest: When plant develops large bushy top, pull back top of soil to inspect size. 65-70 days.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: As with all root vegetables, to reduce forking, avoid fresh manure and added nitrogen and ensure soil lumps are broken up prior to sowing seed.
  • Position & light: Full sun to part shade

Pests & disease

Companions

  • Likes: Bean, leek, onion, pea, nasturtium, radish, corn, rosemary, sage, tomato, wormwood, chives, cucumber, lettuce
  • Dislikes: Potatoess, dill, being stored with apples.

CAULIFLOWER

  • Variety:
  • Botanical:

Description

  • Planting info: Sow seedlings January-June | Harvest: 16-20 weeks

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser:
  • Position & light:

Pests & disease

Pest & disease information

SWEET CORN

  • VarietySweet Corn Honey & Cream F1
  • Botanical: Zea Mays

Variety

  • Honey and Cream (Diggers): Honey and Cream is considered by many to be the most delicious vegetable grown in the home garden. This bicolor has 12 to 14 rows of sugar sweet kernels on 20cm ears. Stays sweeter than other corns after harvesting. Freezes well.

Description

  • Planting info: Sow seeds direct September-February. Soil temp for germination: <20C | Depth: 4cm | Plant space: 20-50cm | Row space: 90cm | Height: 150cm. Best when planted in 4 rows of at least 6 plants per row for pollination purposes. Germinates in 5 to 10 days. For a continuous harvest, make successive plantings every 2 to 3 weeks during the season.
  • Harvest: 11-14 weeks. Yield: 6-10 per plant. Pick when silks turn brown. Part the top of the leaves and test for ripeness by pressing a grain with your fingernail. If it is milky, it is ready. Corn, once harvested, loses sweetness and flavour quickly. If you can’t eat it all fresh, blanching then freezing it is a good second option. Also, don’t salt the cooking water, this will cause corn to loose some of its sweetness.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Must have rich soil with lots of organic matter. Does well after a cover crop. For highest yields fertilize twice during the season. Pile compost up around the base of the stem (like you would for leeks). Mounds of compost about 15–20cm high will increase the amount and flavour of your sweet corn, and will help the corn upright.
  • Position & light: Full sun – no exceptions. Protect from strong winds. Corn does best when planted in a block style formation. This encourages better cross-pollination, which means more corn. Once growing strongly, they are very happy to share space with other vegetables including climbers that will climb up them, saving the need for trellising.
  • Water: Moderate
  • Further corn growing information

Pests & disease

Companions

  • Likes: All beans, cucumber, melons, peas, pumpkin, squash, amaranth

CUCUMBER

  • Variety:Marketmore
  • Botanical:

Variety

Marketmore (Thelostseed): Heirloom. Burpless type. Cylindrical fruit with dark green skin and white, non bitter flesh. Resistant to disease. Further information @ seedaholic.

Description

  • Spreading vine. avoid overhead watering as it is prone to powdery mildew.
  • Planting info: Sow seedlings indoors mid-late August, Soil temp for germination: 16c-35c | Depth: 1-1.5cm | Plant space: 70cm-1m | Row spacing: 80cm-1m | pH: 5-7 | Quick to germinate. Plant out in September with temperatures are warmer and wilds have calmed. Direct plant seeds from September-January.
  • Flowers: Flower and therefore fruit development is sometimes a little erratic at the start of the season. Generally the first flush of flowers will be mainly female. Female flowers have a small swelling (embryonic fruit) behind the petals. Most pollination is done by insects, but if fruit is failing to set, them the female flowers can pollinated by hand. To pollinate by hand, take a male flower and remove all its petals, press it against the centre of the female flower. Pollen can also be transferred using a fine paint brush, taking pollen from the male stamen and brushing it lightly over the female stigma. Male flowers can be identified by the long ‘stamen’ growing out of the centre. Female flowers have a tiny cucumber behind them rather than the bare stalk of their male counterparts.
  • Harvest: 8-12 weeks when 15-20cm long. Yield: 5-10 per plant

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Likes well drained soil. Do not allow to dry out otherwise, it can make the cucumber bitter. Feed with a high potash liquid feed every two weeks.
  • Position & light: Full sun
  • Prune: Nip out the growing point when the plants have about five leaves to encourage a stronger growth. Train up the supports tying in as required. When the plant has reached the top of the support, nip out the tip, two leaves beyond the last flower. Side shoots will then develop, producing more flower and fruit. If allowed to trail on the ground nip out the main shoot when it has produced about 1.5m (54in) of growth and remove side shoots after one leaf.

Pests & disease

Companions

  • Likes: Beans, broccoli, celery, chinese cabbage, lettuc, pea, radish, tomato, corn, sunflower
  • Dislikes: Sage, Rue, Potato, aromatic herbs

EGGPLANT

  • Variety:
  • Botanical:

Description

  • Leaves:
  • Flowers:
  • Planting info: Plant seedlings from Sept-Dec. Harvest: 10-12 weeks. Yield: 5-20 per plant.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser:
  • Position & light:

Pests & disease

GARLIC

  • Variety: Unknown – organic garlic purchased from Woolworths (large purple)
  • Botanical:

Description

  • Leaves: Strappy leaves to a height of 50cm. Garlic protects other plants grown nearby with the sulphur it contains.
  • Planting info: Plant cloves from Feb – Apr. Plant cloves in well-drained soil rich in organic matter and full sun. Plant cloves with the pointed side up and set them 5-7cm deep (in warmer climates) and 30cm apart in rows 30-60cm apart. Proper spacing improves bulb size. Autumn planted garlic may not emerge until spring. More info
  • Harvest: 5-6mths. Harvest once foliage dies back and there are only 4-5 green leaves left. These leaves become the protective ‘skins’ needed for good storage. Another ‘harvest time’ sign is when stems become soft and wilted at the base. After harvest, allow to cure in a dry place for 1 week. If dried correctly, they will store for up to 10 months. To extend garlic availability, it is good to plant both an early (Italian Red) and late (Silver Skin) variety. Russian Garlic also has the ability to store for up to 9 months
  • Yield: 20-30 bulbs per square metre.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Neutral pH. High in organic matter. Do NOT fertilise the soil whilst growing as this diminishes the flavour.
  • Water: Reduce watering when the flowers are starting to fade.
  • Position & light: Full sun
  • Propagation: Replant separated cloves. Those left in the ground will likely resprout.

Pests & disease

Companions

Likes: Plant near roses to repel aphids. It also benefits apple trees, pear trees, cucumbers, peas, lettuce and celery. Plant under peach trees to help repel borers. Garlic accumulates sulfur: a naturally occurring fungicide which will help in the garden with disease prevention. Garlic is systemic in action as it is taken up by the plants through their pores and when garlic tea is used as a soil drench it is also taken up by the plant roots. It has value in offending codling moths, Japanese beetles, root maggots, snails, and carrot root fly. Researchers have observed that time-released garlic capsules planted at the bases of fruit trees actually kept deer away. It’s certainly worth a try! Concentrated garlic sprays have been observed to repel and kill whiteflies, aphids and fungus gnats among others with as little as a 6-8% concentration! It is safe for use on orchids too.

LEEKS

  • Variety: unknown
  • Botanical: Allium ampeloprasum var.porrum; now called A. paniculatum

Description

  • When/how to sow: Leeks may be grown all year, but the best quality is produced in winter and spring. Most people start leeks in seed trays. This is because sowing leeks at their final spacings in your main vegetable plot would take up a lot of room early in the growing season, when you could be growing fast-maturing crops such as lettuce. Also, young leeks are less able to compete with any weeds.
  • When to transplant: Leeks are ready to transplant when they are about 20cm high and the thickness of a pencil. Water well the day before transplanting.
  • How to transplant: Plant spacing: 15cm | Row spacing: 30 to 45cm. Make 15cm deep holes, and drop a plant into each hole. Fill the hole with water to settle the roots. You don’t need to backfill the hole with soil, just let the water settle the soil around the roots. You can take this one step further and dig trenches in which to plant the leeks, making the holes in the trenches. To increase the length of white stem it can be blanched by gently drawing up dry soil around the stem in stages, but try not to allow soil to fall between the leaves.
  • Harvest: Leeks take about 21 to 30 weeks to mature from transplants. They can remain in the ground through the winter until they are needed.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & fertiliser: Leek is a hungry crop – spread a general balanced fertiliser over the soil a week or so before sowing and rake in. A rate of 60g per square metre is ideal. Also dig through plenty of well-rotted manure to improve its ability to retain water. pH: >6 – do not like acidic soils.
  • Water: Moderate to high
  • Position & light: Full sun.

Pest & disease

  • Downy mildew and purple blotch are the major leaf diseases affecting leeks. Very few chemicals are registered for controlling these diseases.
  • Leek Rust: This is a fungal disease causing bright yellow spots on the leaves. It is often worse in long, wet spells. There is no cure but as with all fungal problems, it can be avoided by following good cultural practices.
  • Onion white rot: This fungus causes the leaves to wilt and turn yellow. Under wet conditions, the plants may not wilt but will become loose in the soil. If you lift the plants, you will see a white fluffy growth on the base.
  • Onion thrips: Onion thrips are the major insect pest of leeks. They cause white flecking on the leaf surface and a dramatic reduction in foliage quality.
  • Pest & disease information

LETTUCE

  • Variety: Mixed loose leaf (Mr Fothergills)
  • Botanical:

Description

  • Planting info: Sow direct in late winter to autumn. Depth: 5mm | Plant spacing: 10cm. Seedlings emerge in 6-10 days.
  • Harvest: 8-10 weeks, when 5-8cm high. Can be cut up to 4 times, cut above the crown.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Grow quickly with regular high Nitrogen fertiliser to prevent bitterness
  • Water: High need. Shallow roots and required for quick growth.
  • Position & light: Full sun in colder months, Part shade in hotter months as leaves can wilt.

Pest & disease

PEAS

  • Varieties: Greenfeast shelling peas | Sugar snap peas | Snow peas
  • Botanical: Pisum sativum

Varieties

Peas, Greenfeast shelling (Yates)

  • Dwarf plant, support to 1.5m required. Mid season, prolific cropper, large sweet pods, leaves/tendrils are edible in salads.
  • Planting info: Sow depth: 2.5cm | Plant space 5cm.
  • Harvest: 14-16 weeks, harvest as soon as plump.

PEAS, Sugar snap (Country Value)

  • Eat pods and all. Grows to a height of 1.5m. Leaves/tendrils are edible in salads.
  • Planting info: Best sown in a zigzag pattern in a 15cm wide trench.
  • Planting info: Sow depth: 5cm | Plant space: 7cm.
  • Harvest: 14-16 weeks. Yield: 100-500g per plant.

 PEAS, Snow peas (Country Value)

  • Eat pods and all. Height to 1.2m. Leaves/tendrils are edible in salads.
  • Planting info: Sow depth: 5cm | Plant space: 5cm apart.
  • Harvest: 10-14 weeks. Yield: 100-500g per plant.

Powdery Mildew resistant varieties

Each year Powdery Mildew is a problem. The following varieties offer some resistance to the disease. Do not plant in the same spot for 4 years.

  • Oregan Giant (or Snowman) (snow pea)  is the most popular cultivar as it has high yields of long, straight pods and strong powdery mildew resistance (PMR). This cultivar grows to at least 1 m and many growers use a trellis. The plant is a strong grower and the pods are very sweet. Determinate
  • Oregan Sugar Pod (OSPII) (snow pea) : is a standard line that crops reliably, grows to at least 90 cm and has PMR. Determinate
  • Sugar Bon (dwarf) (sugar snap) is the most popular cultivar as it has early maturity, high yields, good pod quality and PMR. Determinate.

Description

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser:
  • Incorporate lime 3 weeks prior to sowing to increase soil alkalinity and add calcium.
  • Peas and beans fix nitrogen from the air so nitrogen does not needed to be added to the soil prior to planting. Too much high nitrogen fertiliser can encourage lush growth and encourage pests.
  • Regularly apply fruit and flower fertiliser or potassium fertiliser as soon as flower buds form until fruiting finished.
  • Position & light: Full sun with support to 2 metres.
  • Planting information: Cold season plant. Planted in April to September in full sun. Sow Direct into damp soil and do not water for a few days after sowing. Seasons emerge in 7-10 days. Reaches maturity in 12-16 weeks. Row space:  40-50cm.
  • Prune: The plants should be pinched out when they reach the top to encourage shoots further down the plants.

Pests & disease

Tips

  • If planting at end of garden bed, allow 50-60cm from garden edge to prevent peas leaning into pathways and drying out
  • Can be grown all year if protected from summer sun. Try part shade.
  • When finished cut plants to ground, leaving  roots in ground after plant has finished to provide nitrogen for next crop. Cut plants can be incorporated into soil for added nitrogen.
  • For a regular supply, sow early varieties monthly or choosing early, mid and late varieties all at once. More info.
  • The peas at the bottom of the plant will tend to be ready first, so begin harvesting here, working up as time progresses.

More information

DPI NSW (Snow and sugar snap peas)

PUMPKIN

  • Variety:
  • Botanical:

Description

  • Rambling vine
  • Leaves:
  • Flowers:
  • Planting info: Sow seeds direct from Aug-Dec.| Harvest: 16-20 weeks. Yield: 10-20kg per plant.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser:
  • Water: Moderate
  • Position & light:
  • Pruning:

Pests & disease

RADISH

  • Variety: Gentle Giant
  • Botanical: Raphanus Sativus

Description

  • Edible leaves, quick to harvest. Non woody.
  • Planting info: Sow seeds direct all year. Plant space 8cm, sow depth 6mm, row space 10-15cm | Harvest: 6-8 weeks.
  • Harvest: 6-8 weeks
  • Yield: 30-40 per metre

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & fertiliser:
  • Position & light: Full sun

Pests & disease

SILVERBEET

  • Variety: Deep Green (Country Value)
  • Botanical: Beta Vulgaris

Variety

Very easy to grow and crops over a long period. Good colour and flavour.

Description

  • Planting info: Plant seeds or seedlings all year, but mainly between Spring-Autumn. Depth: 12mm | Plant spacing: 40cm | Days to germination: 10-14 days | 8 Plants adequate for the family.
  • Harvest: 8-12 weeks. 1kg per plant. Pick outer leaves as needed leaving the inner leaves to grow. This will extend harvest and reduce the need to resow.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Rich with lots of organic matter. Regular liquid feeds promotes quick growth and tender, tasty leaves.
  • Position & light: Full sun. Part sun in summer may be required.

Pests & disease

SPINACH

  • Variety: English Medania
  • Botanical: Spinacea oleracea

Variety

Modern variety of excellent quality. Has thick, round, dark green leaves and is a heavy cropper. Slow to bolt and has good mildew resistance. Good fro freezing. Can be eated as baby leaves in salads or steamed when more mature.

Description

  • A modern variety with thick, round, dark green leaves. Heavy cropper. Slow to bolt and has good mildew resistance.
  • Planting info: Sow autumn to winter, Depth: 12mm deep | Space: 30cm | . Thin to a distance of 30cm apart.
  • Harvest: 8-12 weeks. Eat young leaves in salad, Mature leaves can be cooked. Can be frozen. Yield: 1kg per metre.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Grow quickly with high Nitrogen liquid fertiliser for best taste. Prefers rich, well drained soil.
  • Water: Prefers damp soil
  • Position & light: Full-Part shade

Pests & disease

TOMATOES

Variety descriptions

Tigerella (Diggers): Produces enormous crops of delicious red tomatoes with yellow stripes. Fruits in 10 weeks from transplant and continues to yield for months, up to 20kg of fruit per plant. Height to 1.5m. Best when left unpruned.

Purple Russian (Diggers): Meaty, plum-shaped, 6 oz. fruits are 3 to 4″ long. The purplish-black plum-shaped fruit rarely split, thus keeping their good looks throughout the season. This Ukrainian heirloom can be used for salads or preserving. Fruits in 7 weeks from transplant. Good for colder climates. Try sowing in Jan, Feb and March for winter tomatoes. One of the first to germinate when sown indoors early. Struggles in heat over 25C. Yields 3.5kg per plant. Height to 1.5m.

Brown Berry (Diggers): Cherry-sized, purple/brown tomatoes. An early variety that fruits in 8 weeks from transplant and crops for months on end. It is always one of the first tomato seeds to germinate when sown indoors. Yields 6-10kg per plant. Height to 1m.

Wild Sweetie (Diggers): The world’s smallest tomato is also the world’s sweetest. Hundreds of exquisite flavoured fruit ripening mid summer to late autumn. Fruits in 9 weeks from transplant, yields 4.4kg/plant. Height to 1.5m.

Broad Ripple Yellow Currant: Height to 2m. Crops for a very long time, right up to April here in Sydney. Very hardy, pops up on its own every year. Yields thousands of yellow cherry tomatoes. These are very low-acid and sweet. Laterals must be pinched out as they are extremely vigorous and will take over the garden.

Yellow Pear (Renaissance Salads): A pretty, yellow, pear shaped cherry style tomato with a sweet, low-acid flavour and masses of fruit for most of the year. In milder climates it may crop continuously.

Choosing between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes

Tomato plants generally fall into two categories: determinate and indeterminate. Determinate (bush) tomato plants are bred to stop growing usually somewhere around 90cm tall. When flowers blossom at the tips of the branches, the plant has reached its full height. The fruit of a determinate tomato plant ripens all at once. Because of this trait, this type of tomato plant is useful for those who want to grow tomatoes for canning. Since many determinate plants stay on the short side, they can also be ideal for the small-space gardener.

Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow for what seems like indefinitely. Depending on the variety, they can grow from 6′-20′ tall. This type continues to produce tomatoes all growing season until a hard frost hits and stops them in their tracks. These plants are particularly desirable if you’d like a continuous harvest for slicing or salad tomatoes. Most  heirloom varieties are indeterminate.

More info on difference between Determinate and Indeterminate tomatoes.

  • Leaves: May irritate the skin. Strong scent when crushed.
  • Flowers:
  • Fruit: Yellow, pear shaped, low acid, sweet
  • Planting info: Sow seedlings from Aug-Feb. Harvest: 12-16 weeks. Yield:5-20kg per plant.
  • Propagation: Seed collected from previous year. Yellow sprouts as weed each year.

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & fertiliser: Rich soil. As soon as flowers appear, start fertilising with a high potash fertiliser every two weeks. Late summer or as growth slows add some Nitrogen fertiliser. Diagnosing nutrient deficiencies in tomatoes (with images)
  • Mulch: Organic. Mulch soil right up to stems to avoid soil splashing onto plant during rain, thus reducing chance of disease.
  • Water: Moderate to high
  • Position & light: Full sun. Most determinate tomatoes must be well supported. Check vigor and height of mature plant and set up suitable support.

Disease prevention

  • Mulch soil right up to stems to avoid soil splashing onto plant during rain.
  • Water using drip irrigation. Do not wet leaves.
  • Ensure lower leaves do not touch soil or mulch.
  • Ensure soil contains plenty of organic matter including compost, green manure, and manure.

Pruning

  • Side shoots: Pinch out side shoots growing at 45 degree angel (between leaf branches and main stem) to stop the plants getting to bushy, making it difficult to stake. This also diverts energy to fruit resulting in bigger and tastier fruit. Remove growing tip in late summer to hasten ripening.
  • Lower leaves: Remove all leaves below first fruit truss. This keeps leaves away from soil helping to reduce disease. It also means the plant diverts energy straight to fruit.
  • Old leaves: As season progresses, leaves start to look sickly starting at the bottom and working there way up. Remove any dead, diseased or sickly looking leaves thoughout the season to keep the plant looking good and reduce spread of disease.

More information

Comprehensive, specific tomato growing info

Pests & disease

ZUCCHINI

  • Variety: Black Beauty
  • Botanical: Cucurbita pepo

Variety

Black Beauty (Thelostseed): Variety dating back to 11931. Dark green, glossy fruit, 15-20cm in length and up to 5cm diameter. Popular variety. Creamy white flesh.

Description

  • Leaves:
  • Flowers: Edible
  • Planting info: Sow seeds between Aug-Mar. Soil temp for germination: 16C | Depth: 1.5cm | Plant space: 80cm-1m | Row space: 80cm-1m | pH: 6-7 | Temp: 21-35C | Harvest: 8-12 weeks. Produces early. Yield: 6-18 per plant. Prolific

Care & maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser: Rich, well drained soil
  • Water: Moderate. Do not let it dry out. Do not wet leaves.
  • Position & light: Full sun
  • Pruning:

Pests & disease

VEGETABLE VARIETIES TO TRY

All Year

SILVERBEET

  • Look for:
  • Varieties: Five colour mix
  • Notes: Part shade for Summer crops.

CARROTS

  • Look for:  Virus resistant & sweet varieties
  • Varieties: All seasons – Virus resistant, baby – pick early , heirloom mix – Mixed varieties (source Diggers).
  • Notes: Part shade for Summer planting.

BEETS:

  • Look for: non woody
  • Varieties: Mini Gourmet – Intensely flavoured, Bulls Blood – very sweet, Globe – most popular (source Diggers).
  • Notes: Part shade for Summer planting.

LETTUCE

  • Look for: loose leaf, slow to bolt
  • Varieties:
  • Notes: Part shade for Summer crops. Loose leaf varieties.

CHINESE CABBAGE

  • Look for:
  • Varieties:
  • Notes: Part shade for Summer crops.

RADISH

  • Look for: non woody
  • Varieties:
  • Notes: Part shade for Summer crops.

Spring / Summer Plantings

If starting indoors, sow in July for planting out in August/September.

CUCUMBERS

  • Look for: not bitter or pithy
  • Varieties: Lebanese Mini Muncher – 78 days & 16 fruit / plant, Mini White – Fresh & Crunchy & voted best for taste. (Diggers)
  • Notes

TOMATOES

  • Look for: indeterminate mix of yellow and red cherry and slicing, early and late
  • Varieties: Tigerella (slicing), Broad Ripple Yellow (yellow cherry), Riesentrube (red cherry), Mortgage lifter (beefsteak)
    • Tigerella – heavy early crops (10 wks) over 2 mths & exceptional flavour. Try planting at 6wk intervals.
    • Mortgage lifter
    • Broad Ripple Yellow – Current already have this. High yielding and very hardy, juicy & sweet with zing.
    • Riesentrube – Rich tomato flavour & prolific.
    • Anna Russian Oxheart or Black Krim for late varieties
  • Notes:  

SWEET CORN

  • Look for: sweet, no taller than pool fence
  • Varieties: Golden Bantam – a traditional corn & 1.5m, Breakthrough F1 – 2x sweeter than reg. corn,  Honey and Cream Breakthrough F1 – Very sweet yellow & white
  • Notes: It is recommended to plant min. 16 plants to improve pollination.

ZUCCHINI

  • Look for: resistance to powdery mildew
  • Varieties: Black Beauty – Easy to grow 8 fruit / plant
  • Notes

CAPSICUM

  • Look for: early and/or long cropping, sweet
  • Varieties: Chinese Giant – full size & sweet, Mini Sweet – Bite size in multiple colours. (Diggers)
  • Notes

BEANS

  • Look for: stringless, long cropping, resistance to powdery mildew
  • Varieties: Rattlesnake – highest in taste tests & crops over 4 mth period. (Diggers)
  • Notes

MELONS

  • Look for: easy to tell if ripe, quick to ripen, mini may be needed for trellising – check out
  • Varieties: French Charentais – suited to cooler climates
  • Notes

LEEK

  • Look for:
  • Varieties:
  • Notes: Part shade for Summer crops.

Autumn / Winter Plantings

If starting indoors, sow in Jan for planting out in March

SPINACH

  • Look for:
  • Varieties:
  • Notes: Try planting in full shade

SNOW PEAS

  • Look for:
  • Varieties:
  • Notes

GARDEN PEAS

  • Look for:
  • Varieties: GreenFeast – traditional pea 65 days, Sugar Snap Climbing – edible pods 48 days (Diggers or Yates)
  • Notes

For a longer harvest, try sowing the same variety monthly vs sowing early, mid and late varieties all at once.

TOMATOES:

see ‘Growing Winter tomatoes‘.

  • Look for: Cold tolerant from cold climates, early croppers
  • Varieties: At the end of summer / beginning of autumn, try planting a cold variety tomato such as: Siberia, Silvery Tree Fir, Manitoba, Early Wonder, Mule team, Matina, Jetsetter, Stupice, Paul Robeson, Opalka, Champion, Siletz, Early Girl, Sub Arctic Maxi, Oregon Spring, San Francisco Fog, & Glacier, Northern Lights, Purple Russian
  • For autumn tomatoes, plant a second short season crop such as Tigerella out mid summer. or plant a late season crop such as one of the beefsteaks when planting out first tomatoes.

PLANT NAME

NAMES

  • Variety:
  • Botanical:

Description

  • Plant style:
  • Leaves:
  • Flowers:
  • Planting info: | Harvest:

Care and maintenance

  • Soil & Fertiliser:
  • Water: Moderate
  • Position & light:
  • Pruning:
  • Propagation:

Pests & disease

 

Vegetables
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