In the sum­mer veg­etable gar­den

NZ Lifestyle Block - - DIY FOOD -

The mint and lemon balm are in full swing and both make zingy ad­di­tions to green sal­ads and hot and cold drinks. Thyme, chives and rose­mary liven up a salad dress­ing. Toma­toes may or may not be ripe by Christ­mas. New pota­toes are def­i­nitely ready and the spring-planted car­rots are a good spot of or­ange in the food line-up.

Christ­mas plums ripen, and the tan­ge­los are sweet and juicy and will pro­vide for many months to come. Limes are al­most over, lemons carry on, the straw­ber­ries are wel­come and hope­fully plen­ti­ful, while the scar­let run­ner beans are be­gin­ning to be the star at­trac­tion of this time. Zuc­chini will soon set­tle into their full swing of fruit­ing and are easy and ex­cel­lent crowd feed­ers and pleasers.

It’s time also to think of plant­ing Brussels sprouts, those tasty lit­tle bras­si­cas that you ei­ther love or hate. There aren’t many fence sit­ters on sprouts, but if your only ex­pe­ri­ence was as a child, try them again – it was prob­a­bly very poor cook­ing meth­ods that made them hor­ri­ble, not the sprout. Seeds need to be sown in De­cem­ber for these long grow­ing plants and they need as­sid­u­ous pro­tec­tion against white but­ter­flies and di­a­mond-backed moths with the use of BT spray, or neem oil (which I have yet to try).

They need to be sown in De­cem­ber for trans­plant in late De­cem­ber to late Jan­uary but to keep them grow­ing strongly through the dry part of the year means con­sis­tent wa­ter­ing. Fer­til­ity will prob­a­bly need a boost or two through­out the grow­ing pe­riod, and stakes to tie them to for sup­port also need to go in at plant­ing time to avoid root dam­age. It’s a long wait for a good feed of Brussels sprouts but it’s well worth it.

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