Kitchen gar­den

Your Home and Garden - - Your Garden -

HAR­VEST

> Pick nu­tri­ent-rich mi­cro­green seedlings when they have two sets of leaves. Snip them off with scis­sors and add to sal­ads, stir-fries, omelettes, fish and meat dishes, vege smooth­ies or sim­ply use as gar­nishes.

> Try to pick let­tuces, salad greens, spinach and other leafy greens in the morn­ing when their leaves are full of wa­ter. The more reg­u­larly you har­vest these veges, the more leaves they will pro­duce. But don’t go overboard and de­nude the plant or you’ll slow its growth com­pletely – or worse, kill it.

> Bok choy and other Asian greens are ready to har­vest 5-10 weeks from sow­ing, de­pend­ing on the va­ri­ety. For tasty leaves, try and pick be­fore they start to flower, al­though if you want to sow more seed, let the odd plant flower.

SOW

> Cour­gettes are a var­ied species that come in all shapes and sizes, as does their rel­a­tive, the rounder scal­lop­ini. Sow seed for both around 2cm deep di­rectly into the gar­den or con­tain­ers. Choose a sunny spot and re­peat sow ev­ery four weeks if you love this ver­sa­tile vege. If plants de­velop mildew, pull them out and wait 2-3 weeks for spores to die be­fore re­plant­ing.

> Quick and easy to grow, radishes add a de­li­cious crunch to sum­mer sal­ads. Seed can be sown di­rectly into the gar­den be­tween rows of slower crops or even in pots. A sprin­kle of seed ev­ery few weeks gives a suc­ces­sion of crops. Try a coloured va­ri­ety such as pur­ple plum (kingsseeds.co.nz). Radish seed can also be sown into con­tain­ers or trays as a mi­cro­green.

> Co­rian­der can bolt (flower and pro­duce seed) in warm weather so sow seed in a partly shaded spot. Grow­ing co­rian­der in pots means you can move them to shade but you’ll have to wa­ter con­tainer plants more reg­u­larly.

> Sow car­rot seed di­rectly into the gar­den (or planters), as they’re hard to trans­plant. Mix or­ganic mat­ter such as poul­try ma­nure, blood and bone and com­post into soil a few weeks be­fore. Make a shal­low 1-2cm trench and sprin­kle seed. Some peo­ple mix with fine sand to en­sure seed spreads evenly, then cover with half a cen­time­tre of soil. Keep moist, not wet, un­til seeds ger­mi­nate (about 10-14 days).

> Get the kids to sow sun­flow­ers to at­tract bees, pro­vide food for birds and chick­ens and, of course, to brighten up the gar­den. > Beet­root can be har­vested about 9-10 weeks af­ter sow­ing, with the small roots be­ing much tastier than the large ones, which can turn woody and dry. Cut off the leafy tops be­fore stor­ing in the fridge.

> Pick cour­gettes when young and small for the best flavour. Think about mak­ing stuffed or fried cour­gette flow­ers if you have a sur­plus of this de­li­cious vege this sum­mer. Cour­gettes are a good source of vi­ta­min C, fo­late and potas­sium. > As you fin­ish pick­ing as­para­gus, give it a light feed. Make sure beds are kept moist and weed free over sum­mer so plants will gain strength for next year’s crop.

PLANT

> You’ll need plenty of salad greens now that bar­be­cue sea­son is in full swing. Keep plant­ing let­tuces and mesclun mixes into fer­tile, welldrained soil for on-de­mand sal­ads.

> Plant out your sweet­corn seedlings in blocks, not rows. This will give you bet­ter pol­li­na­tion rates as sweet­corn is wind pol­li­nated.

> Plant or sow green beans (dwarf or run­ner) in a warm, shel­tered spot where soil tem­per­a­tures are above 15°C. Good drainage and plenty of mois­ture are es­sen­tial.

> Get those tomato plants in the ground, ideally into well-drained, deep, loamy soil, but only if there are no frosts likely at your place. Seedlings should have devel­oped at least one flower truss be­fore go­ing into the gar­den. Too early and to­ma­toes won’t thrive, nor will they pro­duce a de­cent crop. Feed with a tomato fer­tiliser once fruit starts to set, ideally ev­ery two weeks.

> If space is tight for plant­ing pump­kin or but­ter­nut squash, try po­si­tion­ing near a fence, wall or even the frame of a swing so they can climb up­wards rather than out­wards. Soil should be well drained, fer­tile and rich in or­ganic mat­ter. Wa­ter well dur­ing sum­mer.

Gar­den ed­i­tor

CAROL BUCK­NELL

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