If you caught the gardening bug during the COVID-19 lockdowns or have had a green thumb for years, here are some spring vegie care hints to keep your home grown harvests wonderfully productive.
Sometimes known as chard, silverbeet is a versatile vegie that can be used in pasta dishes, soups, salads, savoury muffins, pastries and quiches as well as pizza toppings. Yates® Silverbeet ‘Fordhook Giant’ is a large, easy to grow variety that produces an abundant harvest of large crinkly, highly nutritious leaves with long, sturdy white stems. For smaller spaces and pots, Yates Silverbeet Compact Deep Green has rich green leaves on shorter stems.
Silverbeet does best in a full sun spot in the vegie garden or pots and to keep the plants productive and flourishing, feed each week with Yates Thrive® Vegie & Herb Liquid Plant Food.
A fantastic benefit of silverbeet is that you can pick individual stalks as you need them. Pick outer stalks regularly to promote fresh new growth.
Watch out for snails and slugs, which like to hide in amongst the stalks and devour the leaves. Control them by lightly sprinkling Yates Blitzem® Snail & Slug Pellets around the base of the plants.
Tatsoi, Chinese cabbage and buk choy are just some of the deliciously healthy Asian leafy greens that can be grown during spring. Promote lots of leaf growth by feeding each week with nitrogen rich Yates Thrive Vegie & Herb Liquid Plant Food.
Leaves of Asian greens such as tatsoi and buk choy can be picked individually, providing a continuous harvest over many weeks.
Caterpillars, which can come in a range of sizes and colours, can rapidly chew through lots of leaves, so it’s important to regularly monitor for caterpillars themselves or signs of their damage or droppings. Spray plants every 5–7 days with Yates Nature’s Way® Caterpillar Killer (Dipel) to control caterpillars. It’s based on a naturally occurring soil bacterium and is approved for use in organic gardening.
Onions that were sown during autumn should be growing well during spring. To promote plump tasty bulb development, apply Yates Dynamic Lifter® Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser around the rows of onions every 6 weeks.
Aphids and thrips are two significant sap feeding pests that can infest onions. They can cause leaves to mottle and yellow and in large numbers can reduce the size of the onion bulb. It’s easy to control aphids and thrips by spraying the plants every 5–7 days with Yates Nature’s Way Vegie & Herb Spray Natrasoap. It’s a soap based spray made from natural vegetable oils and is approved for use in organic gardening.
It takes up to 7 months for onions to mature. You can start harvesting onions once the leaves start to yellow and droop, or earlier if you simply can’t wait (onions can be eaten at any time). Hang harvested onions, complete with their leaves still attached, in a warm, protected spot for a week or two to allow their skins to dry. Then the leaves and roots can be cut off and the onions stored in a cool, airy dry spot until you need them.
Garlic bulbs planted in autumn will be lovely and leafy during spring and developing their delicious cloves.
Keep the soil moist and feed every fortnight with Yates Thrive® All Purpose Soluble Fertiliser. It’s a complete plant food that’s high in nitrogen to promote healthy leaf growth as well as phosphorus and potassium to encourage development of good sized garlic bulbs.
Around 8 months after planting, or when a few of the leaves start to die back, it’s time to harvest. Hang harvested plants (with the leaves still attached) in an airy sheltered spot for about a month to dry and cure, then it’s ready to use.
Lettuce is always fantastic to have on hand throughout the year, to create a healthy salad, quick side dish or add to a sandwich or wrap. Home grown lettuce is not only convenient but also you can pick it at its most tender and sweet and forget buying bagged salad that quickly goes slimy in the fridge.
Yates® Lettuce Baby Combo is a selection of popular, colourful and easy to grow lettuce varieties, and leaves can be picked individually as you need them, leaving the rest of the plant to grow. Baby Combo is ideal for growing in both pots and the vegie patch.
To encourage lots of rapid green growth, once the seedlings are established feed each week with Yates Thrive® Vegie & Herb Liquid Plant Food. It’s rich in nitrogen to encourage lots of delicious tender leaves.
Lettuce can be susceptible to attack by aphids, which feed on the sugary plant sap. Aphids are tiny black, brown, green or grey insects that can cause leaves to curl and distort and plant health to suffer. It’s easy to control aphids on lettuce by spraying the plants every 5–7 days with an insecticidal soap like Yates Nature’s Way Vegie & Herb Spray Natrasoap.