Speedy summer vegies
With Christmas behind us and so many people at home on holidays, this can be a good time to get out into the vegie patch and plant some home grown produce.
You can get an early start by sowing seed for winter vegies but, in most areas, there’s also time to sneak in a few last minute crops of warm season favourites.
Three of the most popular are beans, baby squash and zucchinis.
It’s too late to start climbing beans in most areas but the quick-growing dwarf beans can go in now. There’s no time to waste but, thankfully, the seeds germinate so rapidly in the warm soil that the plants will be cropping before you know it. Yates Golden Wax, with its yellow pods, is a popular summer bean. Tendergreen is a sweetflavoured dwarf bean that produces heaps of stringless pods. Make sure dwarf beans are planted in full sun because, when grown in shade, they often try to start climbing up reach more light.
We once grew large marrows in our summer gardens.
In the days before refrigeration, marrows were appreciated for their long-keeping qualities. But these days marrows have been replaced by baby squash that grow so quickly they’re ready for harvest in just a few weeks.
Yates has three baby squash to choose from in its seed range.
Green Button produces little, round, pale green pillows that look particularly good when they’re served whole.
Yellow Button has similarly-shaped golden yellow fruit.
Yates Squash Mix is a lucky dip selection of popular varieties in different shapes and sizes.
All of these versatile vegetables can be baked, steamed, shallow-fried or lightly cooked and tossed into a salad.
Baby squash are some of the easiest vegies to grow. Build a low mound of soil in a sunny spot. Mix in some not-toofresh compost and some Yates Blood & Bone. Sow three or four seeds into the top of the mound and, if they all come up, keep only the two strongest. Harvest young squash as soon as they appear.
Zucchinis are grown in the same way as baby squash and reach picking stage almost as quickly. Yates range includes a choice of three different varieties: Blackjack has thin, dark green skin, Greyzini is speckled with grey-green markings, and Lebanese has creamy-flavoured, teardrop-shaped fruit.
The best thing about growing your own zucchinis is that you can pick them when they’re small and at their most tender. At about finger size is about right. Yates Garden Fresh Cookbook ( published by HarperCollins) has a delightful recipe for baked zucchini.
Pound two cloves of garlic that have been crushed with salt, juice of half a lemon and some fresh marjoram into enough olive oil to make an oily sludge.
Roll each zucchini in the mixture and then put into an oiled oven dish.
Bake in a pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes or until cooked.
Remember: Don’t let zucchinis get too large. Not only will they turn into watery-flavoured monsters, they’ll also discourage the formation of more baby zucchinis.