The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

Tired old veg­eta­bles that seem to have run out of steam in the heat of the later part of the year can now be re­tired. Or can they? We seem to think a let­tuce will bolt to seed the mo­ment it is planted as a seedling and fin­ish up with that milky this­tle taste.

This is mostly true. Maybe a new cui­sine style of us­ing bolted let­tuce would work well with a few foodie ad­jec­tives.

If you are a keen veg­etable nut and want to prove these the­o­ries a bit wrong, you might be right in find­ing a good cool space with just the right amount of heat and light and a breeze that low­ers hu­mid­ity. If not, we may see you in the su­per­mar­ket at the ice­berg let­tuce counter.

About now you would be turn­ing what you grow your vegies in to a fal­low patch with lots of mulch, wait­ing for a wet sea­son and high sum­mer tem­per­a­tures.

The other al­ter­na­tive is to grow loose-leaf va­ri­eties like mignonette (green and bronze) and the lovely but­ter crunch.

Rocket, or eruca as some call it, is a good sum­mer crop that will cover a patch or pot fairly quickly if it is mounded and drained.

Try also radic­chio, the leaf that made er­satz chicory-style cof­fee in the wars and is still sold to­day as a cof­fee sub­sti­tute.

Chooks and bud­gies think this is ban­quet fod­der and it pro­duces very yel­low-yolked eggs.

As the year winds down to a hot sum­mer, you can try some of the Pa­cific veg­eta­bles. Okra for a change. Maybe mal­abar spinach and the other spinach looka­like, aibika, from a cut­ting that should get up to a me­tre in a month or so.

There are plenty of al­ter­na­tives if you are keen enough to try a few gar­den ex­per­i­ments.

Most of the raw ma­te­ri­als are at the mar­ket and are sim­ply a few seeds per­haps or cut­tings from a bush.

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