As spring hoves into view, even non-gardeners are feeling the itch to grow something. If you haven’t already got some vegies planned or planted this month, now’s the time to whack a few into the ground or pots. Here are five low-fuss edibles to plant right now, for spring and summer eating.
Crisp and delicious, loose-leaf lettuce is perfect for small spaces, filling gaps in beds or piling into pots. It’s quick growing, providing a picking of outer leaves in 3–4 weeks. Water well, liquid-fertilise fortnightly and harvest regularly.
This is quick off the mark and quick to the plate. Radish seeds germinate within a few days and the plants can be harvested in 6–8 weeks. Sow seed in spaces between slower plants, or in shallow pots filled with premium potting mix. Feed and water well, then pick the radishes minutes before serving for maximum crunch.
While they don’t ask for much, pumpkins do demand space to grow… and then some! Where space is at a premium, train vigorous vines over a frame, pergola or arbor, or let them ramble among fruit trees. Alternatively, grow compact varieties such as Golden Nugget, Baby Blue or Delicata Mini Sweet Bush.
These are far less fussy than most of the slicing tomato types. You can get away with ignoring cherry tomatoes – no training, pruning or feeding – and you’ll still get a good crop. But if you guide the vines onto a frame, tidy up ratty foliage, and water and feed them, you’ll have enough tomatoes for a batch of passata!
Put in a dozen plants now and another in a month or so and you’ll always have plenty of pak choy on hand for that last-minute stir-fry. Seedlings are available but seeds germinate readily, so grab a pack to save time and money. As temperatures rise, cover crops with shadecloth and water regularly to reduce plant stress.
You’ll find lots more information to help you plant and care for your vegie patch in the September 2021 issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, out now.