Jackie French ad­vises on the best in win­ter veges, plus what to plant.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - GARDEN NOTES -

The mir­a­cle win­ter vege patch

The breeze is warm, the soil is cold. This is still win­ter plant­ing time, but as buds swell, the urge to plant is strong. Most spring veges will wither if you plant them now, or go to seed as soon as the weather warms up. You need mir­a­cle plants that wait un­til the right time to sprout.

1 Pota­toes: A home-grown spud is as lus­cious as a back­yard tomato. Plant seed pota­toes about 20cm deep and wait. As the soil warms, they will grow.

2 Peas: Don’t let bland frozen peas blind you to the sweet­ness of peas fresh from the gar­den. Think climb­ing peas; novella shelling peas that have massed ten­drils in­stead of leaves, so they don’t need stak­ing as they sup­port

them­selves; crisp snow peas that the kids will eat straight from the gar­den, so you will be lucky to har­vest any for the kitchen; or sugar snap peas that you eat pods and all.

3 Onions: Plant the early flat white va­ri­ety, so sweet you can crunch them raw, or eat them thinly sliced in sal­ads or baked whole in olive oil. Spring onions will be­come peren­nial, al­ways there when you want the green tops for chop­ping.

4 Chives: It is im­pos­si­ble to have too many chive plants. Plant them in the gar­den, in pots or hang­ing bas­kets, then scat­ter them on ev­ery­thing from mashed spuds to pizza top­ping.

5 Weird and won­der­ful roots: Jerusalem ar­ti­chokes, which are deeply sweet (but their re­sis­tant starch con­tent means the kilo­joules pass through you undi­gested); crisp fat ya­con; small pink oca (New Zealand yams) that must be bleached in the sun after har­vest for a few days; as­para­gus and ar­ti­choke roots that will sprout in spring – plant them all now so you can en­joy them for sum­mer eat­ing. 6 Berries: Straw­ber­ries, rasp­ber­ries, blue­ber­ries, goji berries, lo­gan­ber­ries, thorn­less black­berry – this is the time to plant them all, then dream of sum­mer feasts.

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