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Kitchen garden: Spring jobs

Summer veg tepee

Plant now

Our summer veg tepee will have you harvesting 36kg of vegetables from one square metre over three months! Make a six-pole-bamboo-tepee as high as you can, then plant two tomatoes, two cucumbers, four climbing beans and six lettuce in the middle. No room in the garden? Plant the same arrangement in a wine barrel.


Tough as old boots! Photo - Toriru / 

For kids

Give the kids a polystyrene box to paint. Fill with quality potting mix and let them decide what they’re going to grow. Place the box where it will get at least five hours of sunshine.

The master and his apprentice.  


Rotating crops through your vegetable beds reduces pests and diseases. Our routine is: legumes, leafy greens, fruiting veg, and root crops. We move the beds along every season.


Pick now

Edible flowers, such as pansy, viola, rose, geranium and calendula, are pretty, and pretty-tasty, garnishes on salads. Use only organically-grown flowers.

Kale leaves can be picked from the bottom up.

Don’t let broad beans get big and floury. Harvest when small, tender and sweet. Try a few of the delicious green leaf shoots too. Use liquid fertiliser to keep them going.

Asparagus harvest. Photo - Lori Martin /

Use an asparagus knife to cut the spears off just below the surface of the soil. Harvest just before using for asparagus so sweet you won’t want to cook it. 

Check garlic. When leaves start yellowing it’s nearly ready. Pick one to see if the papery sheath has formed. If so, pull out the bulbs and dry them on a sun-drenched tables or on trays.

The great bean harvest. Photo - Kzenon /

Sow now

Ginger, turmeric and sweet potato tubers can be planted now. Leave plenty of room for sweet potato. Harvest all three late in autumn.

Climbing beans are a summer staple, but too many can be a burden. To manage our harvest we plant 10 seeds every month throughout spring. Choose purple, Blue Lake, borlotti and Lazy Housewife.

Tomatillos are easy to grow and have a great flavour. They grow 50cm high and do not require staking. We love them in Mexican salsa. 

Sow root crops like carrot, beetroot, spring onions and leek in rows taking care not to sow them too closely. Beetroot seeds are best soaked overnight before sowing. 

White cucumbers are crisp, cool and loved by children. They are climbing vines so need trellis or chicken wire to cling to.

Tremendous tomatoes even without a garden. Photo - ChiccaDodiFC / 

Do now

Rest and revitalise worn-out vegetable beds, by planting a green manure crop. Dig it into the soil once it has matured.

Replenish potting mix in all potted vegetables. 

Cauliflowers are hearting up. To protect the creamy curds from discolouring in the sunshine, pull the outer leaves up and peg them together.


Don't forget to plant your summer herbs! 

Think ahead

Don’t forget summer herbs. Sow a range of basil now. Try Greek, globe, green, purple, Thai and perennial for a wardrobe of flavour options.

About this article

Author: Linda Ross