The Winter Vegie Patch

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There’s plenty going on in the winter vegie patch. The winter brassicas like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and kale are growing steadily so keep liquid feeding with Yates Thrive All Purpose Liquid Plant Food. Dwarf sugar snap and snow peas, broad beans and beetroot can be sown in most areas, check our sowing guide for your climate at www.yates.com.au

Keep monitoring for caterpillars, especially if cabbage white butterfly are flying around your vegies. Control them with a spray of certified organic Yates Natures Way Caterpillar Killer.

The Salad Bowl

Crops of lettuce green mignonette, or bronzed leaved brown mignonette enjoy the cool growing conditions, and develop small heads of tender leaves, perfect to partner with winter meals and pasta dishes. They can be sown directly into the garden bed, and do well in containers or troughs too. You can harvest young leaves after 4 to 6 weeks, and heads mature in 8 to 10 weeks.

If you prefer the large headed iceberg type lettuce, choose Winter Triumph Iceberg, which matures into a dark green compact head that’s full of flavor and crunch. Lettuces taste best when they are growing steadily, so feed with Yates Thrive All Purpose Liquid Plant Food every two weeks throughout the growing season.

Broad Beans

‘Early Long Pod’ is another delicious crop which enjoys the cooler weather. Sow the seeds around 15cm apart, in rows 70cm apart, directly where you want them to grow. The plants need some support as they can reach around 2m high, so some stakes wound with string help keep the plants upright, especially on windy days.

As the weather warms up, they’ll flower and set seed pods. You can harvest young pods to eat whole, or leave them to mature and fill with tasty beans. Protect plants from snails with Yates Blitzem Snail and Slug Pellets.

Mulch – replenish mulch in garden beds, and especially in the vegie and herb patch. Mulches like sugar cane, Lucerne or pea straw enrich the soil as they break down and encourage earthworms as well as suppressing weeds. Apply a layer 50mm thick over moist soil.

Rhubarb and Asparagus

Rhubarb and asparagus crowns are available in nurseries now, and via mail order. Both are long lived perennial vegetables and need space to grow. They love a sunny spot and enriched well drained soil. To prepare the planting area, dig over the soil to a depth of 40-50 cm and add a few good handfuls of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food.

Rhubarb crowns need to be planted with the tip or growing point at ground level. The new leaves and stalks emerge from ‘eyes’ as the roots develop below the soil. Be patient and wait until the plant is quite well established before beginning to harvest the colourful stalks. The tip is to pull, not cut the stalks from the base. Regularly liquid feed rhubarb with a high potassium fertiliser like Yates Thrive Flower and Fruit Soluble Fertiliser. Control snails and slugs with Yates Blitzem.

Tip – the leaves of Rhubarb are not edible, for humans or livestock but are safe to add to the compost bin.

For asparagus, dig a trench and plant crowns 20cm deep, 40–50 cm apart. Asparagus prefers an alkaline soil. If the soil in the garden bed is on the acidic side, apply some Yates Liquid Lime & Dolomite, which will help raise the soil pH. Six to ten plants are enough for the average family. Although it’s tempting – avoid harvesting the new spears for the first year or two to allow the plants to develop. The feathery green fronds can reach 1.5m tall, and are cut down to the base as they brown off in late autumn. The plants can continue to bear for 20 years.

Tomatoes

If you live in a tropical or sub tropical zone tomatoes can be grown almost year round. Tomatoes enjoy the warm and dry conditions during the tropical “winter”. Choose a sun drenched position, and prepare the soil with a good handful of Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food. Seeds can be sown into moist soil, and they take around 7-10 days to germinate. Thin to select the strongest seedlings and space these 50cm apart. At planting time, insert a stake or frame to support taller varieties.

Watering and good nutrition are important for a tasty bountiful crop. Tomatoes like regular even watering at the base of the plants rather than a light sprinkling over the foliage. Feed regularly with Yates Thrive Tomato Liquid Plant Food, a fast acting liquid fertiliser which is rich in potassium to encourage prolific fruiting. Protect tomatoes from pests and diseases with Yates Tomato & Vegetable Dust, which comes in an easy to use shaker pack. It contains copper and sulfur to control common tomato diseases like leaf spot and spinetoram to control tomato grubs and other insect pests.


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