Speedy sum­mer ve­g­ies

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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.

Dwarf pic­tured:

beans,

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.

Baby squash:

to

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 gettes):

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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.

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