The Big Five in the Spring Vegie Patch 

The Big Five in the Spring Vegie Patch 

Five of the most popular vegies and herbs that Australian gardeners grow in spring are cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, coriander and basil.

Cucumbers

Cucumber
Powdery Mildew on Cucurbit

Sweet crisp cucumbers are a home grown favourite, from long thin continental cucumbers, small pickling cucumbers for tangy gherkins, round creamy-skinned apple cucumbers and the ever popular thin-skinned Lebanese cucumber. Cucumbers are vine plants that can be grown up a trellis. They have small tendrils that curl around supports and help them grow vertically. Growing cucumbers upwards makes great use of space, as the plants take up minimal horizontal room.

You can sow cucumber seed direct where the plants are to grow, next to a trellis, or raise seedlings in small pots for later transplanting. Enrich the soil before planting with Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser. To encourage healthy plant growth and lots of flowers and fruit, feed established cucumber seedlings each week with Yates Thrive Flower & Fruit Soluble Fertiliser. It's boosted with extra potassium, the key nutrient in promoting flowering and fruiting.

Separate male and female flowers are present on the same cucumber plant, and to create fruit, pollen needs to be transferred from the male to the female flower. Bees and other pollinators are great at doing this for you, but you can also use a small soft paintbrush to move pollen from the male flowers (on a thin stalk) to female flowers (which have a tiny cucumber at the base).

Water the plants regularly, as moisture stress can lead to bitter cucumbers. For the best taste and texture, and to help prolong the harvest, regularly pick Lebanese cucumbers when they're around 10 cm long and apple cucumbers when they're apple-sized.

Cucumber tip: A common disease of cucumbers is powdery mildew, which appears like a dusting of white powder over the leaves. Yates Lime Sulfur can be used to control powdery mildew

 

Tomato

There's a tomato for everyone, whether you love big and juicy tomatoes or sweet and bite sized cherry tomatoes, or have a large vegie patch or a pot or hanging basket. The way to grow fantastic tomatoes is to give them lots of sunshine (at least 6 hours of sun a day), supporting tall growers with stakes or a tomato cage, regularly watering and feeding and keeping on top of common pests and diseases with easy to apply Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dust.

Lettuce

It's always fantastic to have home grown lettuce on hand for salads, sandwiches and wraps. Loose leaf lettuces are very productive vegies as you can pick individual leaves as you need them over many weeks. Yates Lettuce 'Baby Combo' is a selection of colourful and easy to grow loose leaf lettuces. Seed can be sown direct where the plants are to grow, in either a vegie patch or in pots, in a full sun or partly shaded spot. Keep the soil or potting mix moist and feed every week with Yates Thrive Natural Vegie & Herb Liquid Plant Food to promote lots of leaf growth

coriander

If you're a coriander lover, it will thrive in spring's mild conditions. It's best to grow coriander from seed, sown direct where the plants are to grow (as it resents being transplanted) and it will be ready to start picking in just 6 weeks. To help promote lots of fragrant foliage and delay plants bolting to seed, grow coriander in a partly shaded spot and keep the soil or potting mix consistently moist. Feed each week with nitrogen rich Yates Thrive Natural Vegie & Herb Liquid Plant Food and pick leaves regularly to promote fresh new growth.

basil

Handfuls of home-grown sweet and spicy basil are perfect for delicious pesto, salads and bruschetta. Basil is so easy to grow at home, there's no need to buy supermarket basil! Grow basil in amongst vegies or flowers out in the garden or in a pot filled with Yates Premium Potting Mix. You can sow seed direct where the basil is to grow and seedlings will pop up in 10-12 days. Protect young plants from snails and slugs with a light sprinkling of Yates Snail & Slug Bait.


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