Are you ready to start planning your winter vegeatable garden? Here are three vegetables you can plant right now, you’ll thanks yourself come winter.
Cauliflower is fast becoming the ‘it’ vegie, being used in so many versatile and deliciously low-carb ways such as cauliflower ‘rice’ and pizza bases. Being a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and containing health benefitting compounds similar to other members of the brassica family (like broccoli and kale), it’s a fantastic vegie to include in your diet.
During summer’s intense heat it can be hard to think ahead to cool season vegies, however crops like cauliflower need a long growing season and so it’s time to sow seed now.
Yates® Cauliflower ‘Phenomenal Early’ is a popular early maturing and easy to grow variety with large, firm heads.
Starting your patch of cauliflowers couldn’t be easier:
- Sow seed 6 mm deep into punnets or small pots of seed raising mix. Firm down and keep the mix moist. Seedlings will pop up in 6 – 10 days and can be transplanted when around 7 cm tall.
- Find a sunny spot that receives at least 6 hours of sun a day that hasn’t grown other brassica vegies in the last 2 years (crop rotation will help to reduce the chance of soil borne pests and diseases).
- Before planting, enrich the soil first with some blood & bone.
- Phenomenal Early will be ready to harvest 14 – 18 weeks after sowing. As the heads develop, fold the leaves over the top to prevent yellowing.
Cauliflower pest watch:
- Young cauliflower seedlings can be quickly devoured by snails and slugs. Newly transplanted seedlings can be protected by sprinkling some snail & slug pellets around the plants, which attracts and kills snails and slugs.
- Brassica vegies are susceptible to damage by caterpillars like cabbage white butterfly caterpillars. These can be controlled by spraying with Yates Success® Ultra every 1 – 2 weeks.
Roasted, pureed, used in salads and in soups, parsnips are a versatile vegie with large creamy, tender sweet flavoured roots that are ideal for starting in late summer. Sowing parsnip seeds, like Yates® Parsnip ‘Yatesnip’ or ‘Hollow Crown’ direct where they are to grow is the best way to create your parsnip patch, as they resent being transplanted.
Here are some tips to get the best parsnip results:
- Parsnips prefer a relatively poor soil and do well if they follow a hungry summer crop like corn.
- As the roots can grow quite deep, it’s important that the top 20 cm of soil be soft and free from clumps, otherwise the parsnips may turn out crooked. So, work the soil well with a garden fork before sowing.
- Sow the seed 6 mm deep and then it’s crucial to keep the area moist until the seeds germinate and begin to establish. Lack of moisture, even for a short time, can mean the end for the germinating seeds. To help keep the soil moist, in addition to regular watering you can cover the area with shade cloth, damp hessian or cardboard. You must check under the cover every day and as soon as the first few seedlings emerge, remove the cover. Seeds may take up to 4 weeks to germinate, so be patient!
- Seedlings will need to be thinned out when they’re 4 – 5 weeks old, to give all the plants enough room to grow. Leave around 7 – 10cm between each parsnip.
- Side dress parsnips with blood & bone every 8 weeks which provides gentle, organic slow release nutrients, including phosphorus to encourage strong root (parsnip) growth.
- Parsnips are slow growing and can take up to 20 weeks to mature, but sowing in February means you can be enjoying delicious home grown roasted parsnips for ‘Christmas in July’.
If you like your salads, pesto and pasta with a little more zing, then you’re going to love wild rocket! Wild rocket (Diplotaxis tenuifolia) has deep green, very serrated leaves that have a stronger peppery flavour than standard rocket.
Wild rocket is a perennial herb that’s hardy and drought tolerant once established. It will grow in both full sun and part shade and is perfect for growing out in the garden or in pots.
Young and tender wild rocket leaves can be harvested from around 8 weeks.