How to grow Kitchen Garden: Spring Planting

Kitchen Garden: Spring Planting

Photo - Linda Ross

Our warm season vegetable guide


It’s time to pull out winter crops to make room for summer’s great produce. 

Here Linda Ross shares her know-how and experience about what to plant now to keep a family of four enjoying delicious home-grown food all through summer.

 

Climbing tropical spinach

By: seed

How many: 3 plants

Time to harvest: 6 weeks

Yield: continuous picking

Tips: this climbing or trailing spinach is perennial in warm climates, annual in cool climates. It grows to 1.5 metres so requires a frame or support. Leaves can be eaten raw and cooked.


Photo - Linda Ross

Leaf salad

By: seed sown direct

How many: sow one square metre every 4 weeks throughout spring

Time to harvest: 6 weeks

Yield: continuous picking

Tips:harvest the young leaves as you need them. We sow a mix of some of these: basil, beetroot, chicory, chard, corn salad, dandelion, endive, land cress, leaf celery, lettuce, mizuna, mustard, pak choi, parsley, purslane, radicchio, red kale, rocket, sorrel and spinach.


Photo - Linda Ross

Climbing beans

By: seed planted directly into the soil

How many: plant 2 every 4 weeks throughout spring.

Time to harvest: 9 weeks

Yield: 3kg per plant, over 3 months

Tips: beans need a 2.5m high structure on which to grow. ‘Blue Lake’ is high-yielding with 15cm green pods. ‘Purple King’ has flat purple 18cm pods. ‘Australian Butter’ has yellow pods with mauve seeds. Climbing beans can be grown up corn. Save your own seeds for the next year.


Photo - Linda Ross

Dwarf beans

By: seed planted directly into the soil

How many: plant 10 every 4 weeks throughout spring

Time to harvest: 9 weeks

Yield: 1kg per plant

Tips: ‘Bush’ beans can be grown under climbing beans to maximise space. ‘Borlotti’ grow to 70cm, have pretty pink-spotted pods and beans,and can be eaten fresh or dried.


Photo - Linda Ross

Climbing cherry tomato

By: seed, seedling, cutting

How many: plant 2 every 4 weeks throughout spring

Time to harvest: 16 weeks

Yield: 7-10kg per plant, over 3 months

Tips: plants grow 2mx 2m and require a 2.5m high tomato trellis or bamboo tepee to grow on. Feed regularly. ‘Tommy Toe’ is the sweetest cherry tomato, ‘Yellow Pear’ and ‘Black Cherry’ are good complements. Green Harvest’s ‘Rainbow Cherry’ includes a mix of different colours.


Photo - Linda Ross

Bush tomato

By: seed or seedling

How many: plant 2 every 4 weeks throughout spring

Time to harvest: 8-12 wks

Yield: 5-7kg per plant

Tips: grow plants over a square 1mx1m bamboo box frame to support stems and fruit. Feed regularly. Tends to produce fruit all at once in late summer. We like ‘Roma’, ‘Black Krim’ and ‘Oxheart’.


Photo - Linda Ross

Cucumber

By: seed or seedling

How many: 6 plants

Time to harvest: 12-14 weeks

Yield: 5 kg per plant

Tips: ‘White Spine’ has good flavour, a smooth white skin and oblong fruit to 15cm. ‘Double Yield’ yields up to 17kg per plant! Grow cucumbers with climbing beans and climbing tomatoes up 2.5m bamboo tepees.


Photo - Linda Ross

Eggplant

By: seedling

How many: 4 plants

Time to harvest: 12-16 weeks

Yield: 2-3kg per plant

Tips: choose the hottest spot in the garden. ‘Long Purple’produces up to 50 fruit per bush. Support boughs with a handmade bamboo 1mx1m frame or box.


Photo - Linda Ross

Zucchini

By: seed or seedling

How many: plant one every 4 weeks throughout spring

Time to harvest: 12 weeks

Yield: 30-120 fruit per plant

Tips: black and yellow varieties tend to be low-growing shrubs; pale-green ‘Lebanese’ can grow up to 7m along the ground and can up to 120 fruit (one every day of the season!)


Photo - Linda Ross

Pumpkin

By: seed sown direct

How many: 4 plants

Time to harvest: 16 weeks

Yield: 5-10 kg per plant

Tips: grow up a fence to save space. ‘Waltham Butternut’ is delicious: pear-shaped fruit to 2kg with light orange skin and a small seed cavity at one end. Save seeds for the next year.


Photo - Linda Ross

Sweet corn

By: seed or seedling

How many: a square of 25 seeds

Time to harvest: 10-12 weeks

Yield: 1kg per plant

Tips: plant in blocks to assist pollination. Sweet corn can be underplanted with zucchini and its stems can be used as supports for climbing beans. Sow directly when soil temperature reaches 20 degrees C.

 

Photo - Linda Ross

Basil

By: seed or seedling

Number: 1 plants of each variety (purple, green and bush)

Time to harvest: 4 weeks

Yield: Pick leaves throughout warm weather

Comments: harvest one third of a basil bush at a time; picking an entire main stem encourages the production of more stems. Save seed for next year.


Photo - Linda Ross

Summer melons

By: seed or seedling

How many: 4 plants

Time to harvest: 15-16 wks

Yield: 6-8kg per plant

Tips: rockmelon ‘Ananas’ is a pineapple-smelling melon that fruits after 113 days. ‘Moon and Stars’ watermelon will fruit after 101 days and produce 4 fruit per plant. Melons can be grown vertically up a steel mesh trellis.


Photo - Linda Ross

Where to buy

By seed: we use Yates, Green Patch Organic Seeds, Green Harvest and Diggers.

By seedling: we look for Oasis seedlings at nurseries, and when we make it to our local farmers market, we load up with organic seedlings from Patio Plants.

Starter packs

Green Harvest’s starter collection includes beans, capsicum, cucumber, tomato and zucchini for $14. Call Green Harvest 1800 681014

Diggers Club’s highest yielding varieties are available as a special pack: zucchini ‘Tromboncino’; broccoli ‘Green Sprouting’; capsicum ‘Chinese Giant’; cucumber ‘Mini Muncher’; pea ‘Greenfeast’; pumpkin ‘Delicata’; broad bean ‘Aquadulce’; and tomato ‘Tommy Toe’. $39.95 www.diggers.com.au

 

Text: Linda Ross

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About this article

Author: Linda Ross

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