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Updated : 21/9/2014

Vegetable Sowing Guide

ASPARAGUS:

Asparagus is a member of the lily family and it is not an easy vegetable to grow. Patience is a virtue with asparagus. It is just about impossible to grow from seed so I would advise you purchase 1-year-old asparagus crowns, which are the roots of the plant. These are planted in a trench with the roots spread out over mounded soil. The trench is gradually filled in as the plants grow.
It takes about four years for asparagus plants to mature enough for harvesting - if you start from seed. Prior to that asparagus plants should be allowed to grow and feed themselves.
PROPAGATION / SOWING:
Sow indoors 8 weeks before last frost, 1/4" deep at 25 degrees C (77 degrees F). Germination will occur in 10-14 days. Sow outdoors, 3 weeks before last frost, 1/4-1/2" deep and 1" apart. Thin or space asparagus plants to 18" apart in trenches 8-12" deep. As the asparagus seedlings grow, fill the trench back in.
COMPANION PLANTING:
Basil, calendula, parsley, tomato.
CARE & GROWING:
Choose a sunny location with a fertile, deep, well drained soil. Soil pH should be between 6.5-6.7. Asparagus is a heavy feeder and needs regular fertilizing with well rotted manure, compost or a well balanced synthetic fertilizer worked in the top surface of the soil. Use straw mulch to control weeds and hold moisture.
HARVESTING:
Asparagus plants from seeds will take 4 years before you can harvest spring spears. In early spring, cut or snap asparagus spears when they are 6-8" high, before the heads separate.

BEANS:Runner beans Lazy Housewife

Soil requirements: Avoid wet, low-lying areas and heavily shaded situations. Beans must be watered regularly during the growing season to encourage pod production. The application of fertilizers is important, avoid applying fertilizer too fat from the plant, or too close to the seed at the time of sowing.
How to sow: Sow in rows 10 cm apart and 12 cm between the seeds. Failures are generally caused by sowing too deeply, drying out, very hard compacted soil or over-watering. Climbing beans should be sown in single row with about 10 cm between seeds and will require staking.
Pests and Diseases: Rotation of crops will prevent the transmission of many soil borne diseases. Red Spider is the most prevalent insect pest with this crop.
Bush bean varieties:
Contender. Stringless. Pod length – 150 to 170 mm. Days to maturity: 50.
Topcrop. Stringless. Pod length – 130 to 150 mm. Days to maturity: 50.
Wintergreen. Stringless. Pod length – 130 to 150 mm. Days to maturity: 50.
Amy. Can be picked as a fine bean or left on the plant to become somewhat bigger. Pod length – 120 mm.
Runner bean varieties:
Lazy housewife: Stringless. Pod length – 160 to 170 mm. Days to maturity: 70-80.
Witsa. Stringless. Pod length – 150 to 160 mm. Days to maturity: 70-80.
Broad beans. Light green-brown colour. Pod length – 80 to 100 mm. Days to maturity: 70-80. Too much heat or cold causes flower drop.

 

BEETROOT:Beetroot Crimson Globe

Soil requirements: Beetroot favours a well drained sunny position. They can rotate with green crops such as cabbage, lettuce or tomato.
How to sow: Sow the seeds direct into rows, 30 cm apart. Sparsely cover seed with soil. As beet seed has a corky outer covering soak overnight before sowing.
Cultivation: As soon as the young seedlings are established thin out. Regular watering in dry weather is essential. Liquid fertilizer during the growing period will add to the yield result.
Varieties:
Crimson globe, Detroit Dark Red, Cylindra.
Days to maturity – 60 to 65.

 

 

 

BROCCOLI:Brocolli

Soil requirements: A well composted soil and a sunny, sheltered area.
How to sow: Cover the seeds with 1 cm soil or leaf mould, press down firmly and keep moist. If seedlings are too crowded either thin out to about 2 cm apart or prick out into another bed.
Cultivation: As soon as plants are large enough to handle, transplant to a permanent position in rows 60 cm apart. Space the seedlings 50 cm apart in the rows. Regular watering in dry weather and fortnightly applications of liquid fertilizer are recommended. The first central head appears and can be picked about three months after sowing, and picking can continue for some weeks, new shoots forming as side sprouts. Shoots are ready when they have a soft mossy appearance but they will soon break into a yellow flower, and should be picked before this stage. Pick shoots regularly to encourage production.

 

 

BRUSSELS SPROUTS:Brussel Sprouts

Good sprouts are produced in areas which experience a warm initial growing period , followed by cold weather and heavy frost. Under such conditions hard, tight hearts a little smaller than a golf ball will be formed.
Requirements: These plants thrive under similar conditions to Cabbage. They favour a deeply dug, fairly rich loam in a well drained position.
How to sow: Sow seeds in rows directly or transplant. Ensure that the seed is not sown too deeply. Cover with about five cm of soil.
Cultivation: Rows about 60 cm apart and 50 cm between seedlings. Water regularly during dry weather. Fortnightly applications of liquid fertilizer are recommended. Sprouts form on a thick trunk about 60 cm long, commencing almost from the ground and finishing just under the top leaves. Pick sprouts before they burst. The “tops” can also be used for cooking when all the sprouts have been harvested.
Variety:
Long Island: Sprout diameter: 35-40 mm. Days to maturity: 80-90.

 

CABBAGE:Cabbage Brunswick

Requirements: Cabbage requires a sunny, well-drained spot with well composted soil.
How to sow: Sow seeds in rows directly or transplant.
Cultivation: Seedlings can be transplanted when 6-10 cm high. Space 50 cm between rows with plants 45 cm apart. Once established water regularly. Give liquid fertilizer fortnightly and as they commence to head-in, weekly. Cabbages are ready for picking when the heads fail to yield to pressure from the hand.
Pests and diseases: Snails and slugs are the chief enemies of cabbage seedlings. Varieties:
Brunswick: Days to maturity: 100. Head type: Flattened. Weight approx. 1.5 kg.
Drumhead: Days to maturity: 100. Head type: Flattened. Weight approx. 3-5 kg.
Cape Spitz (Sugar Loaf): Days to maturity: 80-90: Head type: Pointed: Weight approx. 2-3 kg.
Copenhagen Market: Days to maturity: 90. Head type: Semi-globe. Weight: Approx. 2.5-3 kg.
Intro: A compact smaller framed baby red cabbage. Days to maturity: 60-90. Head shape: Round. Weight 0.07-0.12 kg.
Michihili: Days to maturity: 75-80: Head type: Cylindrical. Weight approx. 2.5-3 kg.

 

CARROTS:Carrots Cape Market

Soil requirements: Carrots thrive in deeply dug loam, and usually follow a leaf crop. Sow in a sunny, well drained position.
How to sow: Seeds are sown directly in rows spaced 25 cm apart. Draw a shallow furrow about 2 cm deep and sow the seed along this fairly thinly.
Cultivation: Seedling should be thinned out to 2-5 cm apart. Allow them to grow for a few weeks and thin out again to 10-12 cm apart.
Varieties:
Cape Market: Days to maturity: 90-130. Root shape: Slightly tapered. Root size: 20x5 cm. Good disease resistance.
Chantenay Karoo: Days to maturity: 110-150. Root shape: Pointed. Root size: 18x4.5 cm. poor disease resistance.
Nantes: Days to maturity: 110-150. Root shape: Cylindrical. Root size: 10x2.5 cm. Fair disease resistance. Sweet tasting, medium size.
Amsterdam Bak: Days to maturity: 80-90. Root shape: Small pointed. Root size: 10x1 cm. Good disease resistance. Also known as Baby Carrots.

 

CAULIFLOWER:Cauliflower Snowball

Soil requirements: Cauliflowers require well drained soil. They need copious watering during dry weather and it is advisable to make a thorough soaking once a week rather than daily sprinkling which induces only surface roots.
How to sow: Sow direct or transplant.
Cultivation: Transplant seedlings when they are 10-12 cm high, 50 cm x 50 cm. Water as soon as possible after transplanting and during very hot weather afford some shade to seedlings. As they commence to form “flowers” liquid fertilizer will be beneficial.
Varieties:
Snowball: Days to maturity: 120-140. Head size: 15-17 cm. Head shape: Deep well-rounded, white.
Grafitti F1.: An attractive purple coloured cauliflower which needs to grow to full size to obtain full colouration. Has very good heat tolerance. Will colour more intensely under warmer conditions. Days to maturity: 100-120. Ave. head mass: 1 kg.

 

 

CELERY, CELERIAC:Celery

Requirements: Sunny and well drained position, with frequent watering.
How to sow: Germination of the seed is often erratic and slow. Seed should be kept well watered during the entire germination period which might be from 21 to 50 days.
Cultivation: Seedlings should be thinned out to 5 cm apart. Water regularly in dry weather and once plants are thoroughly established, give liquid manure fortnightly.
Variety:
Tall Utah: Days to maturity: 100-120. Height: 60 cm.
Remarks: Thick riffled stems. Needs earthing up.

 

 

 

 

CUCUMBER:Cucumber

How to sow: Put six or seven seeds in each clump, and afterwards thin to the three strongest plants. All vine crops, such as cucumbers, melons, pumpkins and squashes, thrive in a sheltered well drained position. Cucumbers are ready about three months from sowing. Cucumbers and other vines are subject to attacks of mildew during humid conditions and also during excessively dry conditions. Good drainage minimizes this, whilst spraying with a fungicide, at intervals is desirable.
Varieties:
Ashley: Days to maturity: 65-70. Mature fruit size: 180 x 50 mm. Dark green colour. Cylindrical, slightly spined. White flesh. Mildew resistant.
Special rust resistant: Days to maturity – 70. Mature fruit size: 19 x 5.5 cm. Cylindrical. Dark green colour with small white spines. Resistant to Powdery and Downy Mildew and has a moderate resistance to Anthracnose and regular leaf spot.
Sweet slice: Days to maturity – 70. Mature fruit size – 3 x 60 cm. Long tapered fruit with a sweet taste and unique flavour. Resistant to CMV, PM, PRSV, ZYMV.
Quest f1: Days to maturity – 40. Fruit size: 1 x 5.7cm. Suitable for pickling. Good disease tolerance.

 

EGGFRUIT  EGGPLANT (BRINJAL):Eggplant Brinjal Eggfruit

Eggfruit require clean, weed free, deeply dug soil in a position sheltered from strong winds in the sun.
How to sow: Direct or transplant. Where seeds are sown direct into the open ground , they are set in pairs, if both germinate, one plant is pulled out. These pairs are spaced 70 cm apart in rows with the same distance between.
Cultivation: If space is limited, the stake method of growing is preferred. Each plant is provided with a 2 metre stake at the time of planting. Pinch out lateral shoots at the fork of the leaf and main stem as soon as they appear. Watering should be regular. Plants tend to carry more than 8 to 10 fruits. Any over this number should taken off. Fruits are ready for use when they have attained a rich, deep purple shade.
Varieties:
Black Beauty. Glossy black, oval-round shape about 14 x 11 cm. Days to maturity – 80 to 85.
Long purple. Purplish black, long-oblong about : 6 x 20 cm Days to maturity – 75 to 80.
Cloud Nine. An attractive fruit that is snowy white in colour. Great flavour and does not develop a bitter after taste, about 6 x 20 cm. Days to maturity – 65 to 70.
Little Finger. Dark purple slim fruit, ideal for frying, pickling and oriental dishes about 10 x 15 cm. Days to maturity – 50 to 60.
Bambino Mini Brinjal. Plants grow less than a meter tall and display large lavender flowers over an extended period, producing abundant round deep purple to black fruit about 2.5 cm diameter. Can be cooked whole, grilled or steamed for eye-catching snacks. Days to maturity – 40 to 50.

 

GARLIC:

Garlic Garlic is grown from the individual cloves. Each clove will produce one plant with a single bulb. Growing garlic is fairly easy - much easier than most people may think. When planting garlic, choose a garden site that gets plenty of sun and where the soil is not too wet. Garlic cloves should be planted individually, upright. Garlic is a great plant for companion planting and grows well with other flowers and vegetables.
PROPAGATION / SOWING OF GARLIC:
Spring garlic should be planted as soon as the ground can be worked, so that the garlic bulbs can set out roots early. Each bulb consists of several cloves, break individual garlic cloves apart from the bulb and plant with the flat root end down. Plant garlic cloves 3” apart, 2” deep with 12-18” row spacing.
COMPANION PLANTING OF GARLIC:
Most vegetables, except for beans and peas grow well with garlic.
CARE & GROWING OF GARLIC:
Garlic prefers a full sunny location with a soil pH of 6.0-6.5. Garlic is a light feeder and requires a well prepared, well drained soil. Prior to planting garlic, incorporate some compost. After planting garlic, mulch between the rows, as the shallow roots of this crop do not compete well with weeds. Mulching will also help to conserve moisture. During mid season growth, garlic plants benefit from a nitrogen side dressing, like partially rotted manure, bloodmeal, or a drink of compost tea. For hard neck or fall garlic, be sure to cut off the scape or twisted flower stalk. This will send more energy into producing the bulb.
HARVESTING OF GARLIC:
Harvest garlic in late summer or when 75% of the leaves have turned brown. Lift garlic bulbs during dry weather. Cure for 10-14 days in a warm, dark, dry area. After curing garlic, clean roots and cut off the dead foliage. To make garlic braids, the garlic bulbs must be dug and braided while the foliage is still green. Will store for 6-8 months in a dry, cool place.
GARLIC PESTS:

Onion root maggots can be a problem with garlic. These maggots of tiny flies lay eggs in soil around developing garlic cloves. The maggots then find the garlic and tunnel inside. Onion maggots thrive in alkaline soil. The solution is to grow garlic in raised beds or mounds if planting amongst other vegetables.

LEEKS:Leeks

As a Winter vegetable, leek is often preferred to the onion. It is a hardy plant, standing severe frost.
Requirements: Leek give excellent results in any soil that is reasonably good.
How to sow: Sow seeds in seed beds, not too thickly, allowing them to develop to about 10 cm high. The seed is fairly easily raised but thorough adhesion to the soil is necessary by compacting it with a piece of flat timber after the seeds are sown.
Cultivation: Make a trench about 10 cm deep and plant the leek along this so that only the green top of the plant appears above the bottom of the trench. Spacing between the seedlings is usually 15 cm and if more than one row is desired, allow 30 to 40 cm between each row. As the plants grow the trench is filled in which assists in blanching the lower portion on the plant. Ample water is necessary during the dry weather as these plants will not thrive in drought conditions.
Variety:
Italian Giants. Days to maturity – 100 to 120.

 

LETTUCE  ENDIVE:Lettuce Butterhead

Lettuce is an easy crop to grow for home gardeners. The essentials are ample water and fertilizer.
Requirements: Nowadays it is possible to select lettuce that have been specially bred for either cool or warm conditions. Select a well-drained, sunny position with well composted soil.
How to sow: Most gardeners find that sowing seed directly is successful. Plants that are thinned out can be transplanted elsewhere. and are usually ready a little while after those that have been left to grow in the bed.
Cultivation: Once established lettuce should be given a thorough soaking once a week.
Varieties:
Butterhead All Year Round. A medium soft, compacted head of a light green colour. Days to maturity – 55 to 65.
Great Lakes (Ice berg Lettuce). A crisp, medium large, deep green lettuce. Days to maturity – 55 to 60.
Victory. A bright green crisp lettuce with a head size of about 500 gm. Slow bolting. Ideal for mid summer. Days to maturity – 60.
Lollo Bionda. A loose oak leaf, pale blond lettuce with a reddish tinge and a head of about 300 gm. Days to maturity – 55 to 60.
Lollo Rosa. Soft frilly red leaves with yellowish green in the heart and a head of about 300 gm. Days to maturity – 55 to 60.
Red Oak Leaved Salad Bowl. A loose leaf reddish green head of about 250 gm. Days to maturity – 55 to 60.
Green Oak Leaf. A loose leaf green head of about 250 gm. Days to maturity – 55 to 60.
Leander (Red Cos). A loose shiny red oak leaf lettuce recommended for use in baby leaf mixes. A dark red lettuce with broad frilly leaves. Days to maturity – 55 to 60.
Pinokkio (Cos). A dark green medium sized head. Can be blanched by drawing the outer leaves together and tying them, a week before they are ready for harvesting. Days to maturity – 50 to 60.

 

ONION:Onion Australian Brown

Requirements: Well drained composted soil. Full sun.
How to sow: Sow direct. Onion seed does not germinated readily if conditions are unfavourable. After sowing, cover with about 1 cm of soil, pressing this down firmly so as to compact all the large air spaces around the seed. Water thoroughly and keep moist until the seed germinates.
Cultivation: Thin out seedlings to 10 cm apart, making sure that only the roots are covered with soil, leaving all the green foliage above ground.
Usually onions will fail to bulb if sown at the wrong season, but this can also be caused by fertilisers with too much Nitrogen (Sulphate of Ammonia, etc.)
Harvesting and storing: The bulbs are ripe when the tops turn yellow and start to droop. Top and tail bulbs and place in a dry airy place.
Varieties:
Australian Brown. Long day variety. A medium, round, copper brown coloured onion with good storage possibility. Days to maturity – 250 to 280.
Hojem. Intermediate day length variety. A medium, round, light brown onion with fair storage possibility. Days to maturity – 220 to 230.
Texas Grano. Short day variety. A large, globe-shaped light brown onion with fair storage possibility. Days to maturity – 220 to 230.
Red Creole. A round, red Onion with firm and sweet flesh and fair storage possibility. Days to maturity – 220 to 230.
White Lisbon (Spring Onion). A very small bunching, white onion with poor storage possibility. Days to maturity – 90 to 120.

 

PARSLEY:Parsley

Common parsley, Petroselinium crispum, a member of the carrot family (Apiaceae), is well known for its use as a garnish or as a flavoring in many dishes and salads. The curly varieties also make a nice addition to most gardens, planted with other herbaceous plants or used in a border. Native to the Mediterranean area, parsley has a biennial life cycle, but is usually grown as an annual in our region, because the plants often die during cold winters.
CULTURE
As with most herbs, parsley does best in a sunny area which receives direct light for 6-8 hours a day, although it can tolerate some light shade. Plants will be more productive if grown in well drained soil that is fairly rich in organic matter, with a pH range of 6.0-7.0.
Although germination is notoriously slow, seed propagation is the easiest way to start plants. The rate of germination is dependent upon seed freshness, ranging from 2-5 weeks. To help hasten the process, soak the seeds in warm water for up to twenty-four hours prior to planting.
Seeds can be started indoors in the late winter approximately 6-8 weeks ahead of the last frost date. Seeds can also be sown directly in the ground where they are to be grown, after danger of spring frosts has passed. Cover seeds with 1/8 inch of soil, and keep them moist. Since germination is so slow, it’s a good idea to mark the rows. Emerging seedlings will appear almost grass-like, with two narrow seed leaves opposite each other. Thin or transplant seedlings when they are 2-3 inches high. Final spacing should be 10-12 inches apart.
Do not allow the plants to dry out completely between waterings in the garden. Water deeply at least once a week to insure the roots are receiving enough moisture during the growing season. A light mulch of ground up leaves or grass clippings will help retain moisture and keep weeds to a minimum.
ertilize plants in garden beds once or twice during the growing season, using a 5-10-5 commercial fertilizer at a rate of 3 oz per 10 feet of row. Use a liquid fertilizer at one half the label recommended strength every 3-4 weeks for container grown plants outside and every 4-6 weeks for parsley grown indoors.
Parsley is an easy herb to grow indoors as long as it has a bright location and holes in the bottom of the pot to insure good drainage. The plants may be a bit spindly when grown indoors; this is due to lower light levels.
HARVEST
Harvest leafy stalk-like herbs such as parsley by snipping off the stalks close to the ground, beginning with the outside stalks. New growth will be encouraged throughout the growing season if pruned in this fashion. If just the tops are cut off and the leaf stalks remain, the plant will be less productive.
Fresh parsley has the best quality. Although it can be dried or frozen, much flavor is lost. The plants remain green and productive into fall and can handle light frosts. Leave the plants in place after the foliage has been killed by frost, and they may resprout in spring, depending on winter conditions. Then you may again harvest fresh parsley until the plant sends up a seed stalk and dies, having completed its biennial lifecycle. However, this second year parsley will be more bitter than the previous season’s harvest.
Dry the leaves by spreading them on a screen or hanging them upside down in bunches in a warm, well-ventilated room out of direct light. For quick drying, dry the leaves in a slow oven at 100-110°F for just a few minutes. Store the dried leaves ground or whole in an air-tight container away from heat sources or bright light. Fresh parsley can also be frozen in small bags in the freezer. Parsley preserved by either method should be used within a year's time.
VARIETIES
The most common variety is common or curly parsley, Petroselinium crispum. These curly types are quite versatile, typically growing 8-14 inches tall, forming dense clumps which are great for borders, interplanting in the garden beds, and indoor or outdoor containers.
Italian flat-leaf parsley, P. neapolitanum is another popular variety. This plant can grow quite tall (2-3 ft) and is more gangly in habit. The flat serrated leaves have a much stronger and sweeter flavor than the other varieties, making it more desirable for cooking.
Hamburg parsley, P. tuberosum, is mainly grown for its white, fleshy, parsnip-like roots, used in flavoring soups. Tall, fern-like leaves make up the foliage.
Japanese parsley, Cryptotaenia japonica, resembles the Italian parsley but is not commonly grown. It has a more bitter taste and is sometimes used in Asian cooking.

PARSNIP:

Parsnip

It takes from 120 to 180 days for a parsnip to go from seeds to roots. When planting parsnips, plant the seeds ½ an inch apart and ½ an inch deep into the soil in rows. The rows should be at least 12 inches apart. This gives the growing parsnips room to grow good roots.

Growing parsnips takes 18 days for germination. After germination and little plants appear, wait a couple of weeks and thin the plants out to about three to four inches apart in rows. Be sure to water the parsnips well when growing parsnips or the roots will be flavourless and really tough. Fertilization of the soil is also helpful, and you can fertilizing your growing parsnips the same way you would your carrots. Side dress with fertilizer around June to keep the soil healthy enough for growing parsnips.

After 120 to 180 days, you will know when to harvest parsnips because the leafy tops reach to three feet tall. You can pick the parsnips throughout the row and use them up, leaving others behind for other days. Parsnips store well, so you can also pick a bunch of them for usage over the next few weeks stored at 32 degrees F.

You can also leave some of the parsnips in the ground until spring. You would just throw a few inches of soil over your first fall crop of parsnips. This way they are kept warm enough. When to harvest parsnips in the spring is right after the thaw. These particular parsnips will be sweeter than the fall harvest.

 

 

PEAS:Peas Greenfeast

Requirements: A sunny well-drained position. Peas grow in a variety of soils but heavy clay loams need the addition of ample quantities of compost.
How to sow: Peas should be planted 5 cm apart in rows 30 cm apart. Support in the form of wire netting or strings along the rows should be provided, as this will help to keep the plants off the ground and result in a much heavier crop.
Cultivation: When 25 cm high, hill up on either side of each row.
Varieties:
Greenfeast. A sweet and tender, pointed, dark green pea with a pod length of 90 to 100 mm. Plant height 65 cm. Days to maturity – 120.
Sugar Lea. This stringless light green Pea with a pod length of 7.5 to 10 cm has round, edible pods. This is popular variety for home gardeners. Plant height 75 to 85 cm. Days to maturity – 60 to 110.
Sugar Snap. Blunt light green, sweet, edible stringless pods 7 to 7.5 cm long. Plant height 45 to 50 cm. Days to maturity – 85 to 90.

 

PEPPERS.Peppers

Peppers are one of the most versatile vegetables in the garden and will grow in many areas, including northern Canada. Sow pepper seeds indoors or in hot beds in very early spring for good germination, and then keep the seedlings warm. Transplant peppers after all risk of frost is past. Mulching well help to keep the ground moist and produce quality peppers.Harvest when peppers have a high gloss as green bells or wait for maturity when they are red and sweet. Peppers have very high levels of Vitamin C and also contain Vitamin A. Great raw or in a variety of cooked dishes, salads and salsa.
PROPAGATION / SOWING OF PEPPERS:
Peppers require a long, warm growing season. Pepper seed should be started indoors in March or 8 weeks prior to transplanting. To start pepper seed indoors, sow 2-3 seeds Ό” deep, into 1x1” cells and provide constant moisture and a soil temperature of 26-29°C (80-85°F). After germination (1-2 weeks), thin pepper seedlings to one per cell. Once seedlings develop 2-3 true leaves, transplant into larger containers, 2x2” or 3x3”. At transplanting time, set pepper transplants 18” apart in rows 30” apart.
COMPANION PLANTING FOR PEPPERS:
Peppers do well with carrots, onions, parsnip, peas and basil.
CARE & GROWING OF PEPPERS:
Peppers prefer sheltered, full sun area with a soil pH of 6.0-6.8. Peppers are moderate feeders and require plenty of compost and well rotted manure mixed into the soil prior to planting. Fertilize sparingly until pepper plants start to set fruit. Too much nitrogen causes an excess of foliage and dropping of flower buds. Provide even moisture, particularly during flowering and fruit set on pepper plants. Use black plastic or paper mulch to attract heat, hold water and prevent weeds.
HARVESTING PEPPERS:
Begin harvest when peppers reach a useable size. Cut peppers rather than pull from branch.
PEPPER PROBLEMS:
Blossoms will drop when temperature falls below 60°F (15°C) or goes above 80°F (27°C). Blossom End Rot Pepper fruits blacken and decay at the blossom end due to a calcium deficiency. Poor Fruit Set usually due to cold weather. Excessive nitrogen fertilizer during early growth may also delay fruit set.

 

PUMPKINS:Pumpkins

Pumpkins benefit from a rich soil and a sunny location. For perfect pumpkins on Halloween place a good thick layer of straw underneath each pumpkin - this will keep moisture away from the pumpkin skin and produce better colour. Pumpkin is used in cooking for pies, cakes, bread and so on.
PROPAGATION / SOWING OF PUMPKINS:
Plant pumpkins after all danger of frost has past and when the soil has warmed to 21°C (70°F). For early plantings, use floating row covers to raise soil temperature, increase early growth and protect tender pumpkin plants from wind injury. Sow pumpkins 1” deep, 6” apart in rows 48-72” apart. Thin pumpkin plants to 24-36” apart. Plant vining pumpkins at the edge of the garden to prevent the plants from over-taking the entire site. Space bush type pumpkins 24” apart in rows 36-48” apart.
COMPANION PLANTING:
Pumpkins do well with celery, corn, onion, radish.
CARE & GROWING PUMPKINS:
Pumpkins prefer full sun and a soil pH of 5.5-6.5. Pumpkins are moderate feeders; prefer a rich loamy soil of good fertility and moisture retention. Mix plenty of organic matter into soil. Even and sufficient soil moisture is essential. Pumpkins benefit from mild feedings with a fertilizer high in phosphorous to initiate fruit formation.
HARVESTING PUMPKINS:
Harvest pumpkins before a killing frost or when pumpkins are deep orange in colour. Simply cut pumpkins from the vine leaving 4-6” of stem attached to the fruit. Store in a cool, dry area.
Varieties:
Flat White Boer. Flat, round, creamy white with orange flesh. Fruit weight about 10 kg.
Queensland blue. Crown shaped , blue-grey with orange flesh. Fruit weight about 2.5 to 4 kg.
Mini Pumpkin Jack be Little. Crown shaped these miniatures are a deep orange and will last up to 12 months if fully cured on the vine. Fruit size 5 x 7 cm.

 

SQUASHES:Gem Squash

The cultivation for these is the same as for Pumpkins. It is recommended that they be sown in groups 2 metres apart. Squashes will produce a yield under frost free conditions. Ideal temperatures for growth are 18°C at night and 25°C during the day. Squashes are sensitive to waterlogged conditions and prefer well drained soils. Squash, melon and cucumbers bear male and female flowers on the same plant. In order for fruit set to occur, pollen must be transmitted from the male flower to the female flower, principally by bees. If only a few bees are present in the area partial pollination will occur resulting in misshapen fruit and low yield. Spray as little insecticide as possible during flowering time.
Varieties:
Waltham (Butternut). This improved butternut has a cream skin with orange flesh and is calabash shaped. Fruit size about 220 x 90 mm. Days to maturity – 85 to 90.
Early Butternut. Substantially earlier than other butternuts with a compact vine. The even tan coloured fruit has a fine texture and sweet flavour. Ideal for use as a baby vegetable for potjiekos or roasted vegetables. Days to maturity – 82.
Green Hubbard, Chicago warted. An oval shaped dark green, heavily warted squash of about 300 x 200 mm with yellow flesh. Days to maturity – 110 to 115.
Sweet Dumpling. A baby pumpkin type with small 10 cm acorn shaped fruit usually coloured ivory and green. The sweet, tender, orange flesh is ideal for single servings. Fruit stores well for 3 to 4 months. Days to maturity – 80 to 90.
Rolet (Gem Squash). A 70 mm diameter round, dark green squash with yellow flesh. Days to maturity – 90 to 95.
Eight Ball. A round baby squash, with an attractive shiny , speckled dark exterior. A strong, open bush plant. Days to maturity – 50.
Pagoda Gold. An early maturing variety ideal for use as a baby vegetable. The deep scalloped fruit has a uniform golden yellow colour which matures to a dark yellow. The plant has a strong frame with vigorous bush and open growth habit with long stems for easy picking.
Patty Pan. A shiny light lime green coloured, scalloped fruit 6 to 8 cm wide. Used as a young, immature fruit for baby vegetable.

 

SWEET MELON:Sweet Melon

Grow in full sun. Melons are strong feeders and require extra feeding. Pinch the main runners when 2 metres long or as soon as the first flower drops and the fruit starts to set. This will induce lateral growths, which in turn should be pinched as soon as the first fruits begin to set on them. In no case, however, should the pruning be done closer than two or three joints from the nearest flower or setting fruit. Raise the fruit on bits of board or stone to prevent them lying on the damp soil. If the weather is excessively hot, cover the melons. While the fruit is growing keep the vines well watered, when fruit begins to ripen, cut off the water supply as little or none is then required. Sun and air will ripen the well-developed Melon. Musk melons are more susceptible to mildew than other vine crops.
Varieties:
Hales Best. An oval, slightly ribbed salmon orange coloured fruit with a weight of 1 to 1.5 kg. Days to maturity – 90.
Sweet Delight. A round-oval light green fruit with a hard white rind. Weight approx 1.5 kg. Days to maturity – 80 to 90.

 

RADISH:Radish

Requirements: Radish needs ample quantities of both fertilizer and water.
How to sow: Sow direct.
Cultivation: When seedlings have established their second leaf, thin out to 5 cm apart. Water freely during dry weather. Roots are usually ready for pulling in about six weeks. Radish must grow rapidly if they are to be of good quality.
Varieties:
Cherry Belle. A round, bright red radish.
French Breakfast. Long tapered, red and white.
Sparkler. Round, red and white.

 

 

 

RHUBARB:Rhubarb

Grow rhubarb in a spot such as the back row of your garden. Since it is a perennial, it will not be a part of regular garden tilling. Make sure to allow for plenty of sun.
Rhubarb enjoys a deep, fertile soil like asparagus, so many gardeners chose to plant their rhubarb and asparagus next to each other. It is helpful to add a fair amount of compost into your cultivated soil before planting rhubarb.
Don't plan on a harvest in the first year - Rhubarb need to establish strong roots in the first year. Once established. rhubarb is more like a weed - harder to kill than grow. There are many times I have come across many long forgotten plants in peoples yards.
PROPAGATION / SOWING:
Seed is best sown in autumn in a shaded cold frame. The seed can also be sown in spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter, planting them out in the spring. Division in early spring or autumn. Divide up the rootstock making sure that there is at least one growth bud on each division. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.
CARE & GROWING:
Rhubarb is an extremely easy plant to grow and will reward you with fruit for years to come. Plant as soon as soil can be worked. Choose a sunny, well drained area for your rhubarb bed. Dig a hole several inches deep to accommodate root and space plants 18" apart. Add a generous amount of compost. Apply mulch to smother weeds and retain moisture. Sidedress with compost or fertilizer in midsummer. Break off flower stalks to encourage leaf stalk production. Roots can be divided and replanted in early spring of the third and subsequent years. Do not harvest the first year and harvest only stalks that are at least 1" thick during the second year. Stalks are best when harvested in the spring and early summer.
Force Rhubarb
Forced rhubarb is delicious - the stems are more tender, sweeter and don't need to be peeled. It's a simple process and well worth trying.
All you need is a container (dustbin, box, large pot, bucket etc.) which will exclude light. Place it over the rhubarb as soon as it begins to show signs of growth. The lack of light and the heating effect of the container will rapidly bring on the rhubarb which should be ready for eating in about four weeks, a good month or so before rhubarb that is not forced. When the rhubarb is picked (or it outgrows the covering) remove the covering and leave the rhubarb to recover for next year. Have a go, it's really simple and worthwhile.
HARVESTING:
In order for the plant to become well established, leafstalks should not be harvested the first year and only a few the second year. From the third year on, rhubarb is harvested in late May and June. Stop when the plant begins to produce slender stalks, a sign that its reserves are low.
Never harvest more than one-half of the plant stalks. The stalks are most flavourful when fairly young, so harvest them soon after the leaf expands. Fresh rhubarb can be stored for two to four weeks at 32-36 degrees F and 95% relative humidity.Rhubarb leaves may be added to your compost pile. While the leaves contain oxalic acid, this has no negative effect on the quality of the compost.
USAGE:
Stem only - raw or cooked. An acid taste, it is used as a fruit substitute, usually stewed with sugar and used in pies and jams. The juice strained from stewed rhubarb can add colour and flavour to a fruit punch. It is best not to eat large quantities of the stems because of their oxalic acid content. The leaves can be simmered in hot water to make an insecticide.
Variety:
Victoria. Reddish green stalks of between 40 to 50 cm long. Cook the stalks of this perennial plant only. Days to maturity – 240.

 

SPINACH. SPINACH BEET:Spinach

Requirements: Spinach grows in almost any moderately rich garden loam provided it is well drained.
How to sow: Sow direct. Keep moist until seeds germinate.
Cultivation: Spacing 2 x 30 cm. As the seedlings grow, thin out. Plants will also shoot again after picking.
Varieties:
Viroflay. Light green with a leaf length of 15 to 20 cm. Days to maturity – 60 to 65.
Bright Lights. Leaves are mostly medium to deep green, while a small percentage has darker tones of red and copper. Veins are primarily light green, secondary veins share the colour of the petiole (stem), example, gold, crimson and pink. The stems vary greatly in colour with the main ones being yellow, gold, pink and crimson. Every colour is present in subtle variations. Colours are richest when grown in high light conditions. Bright Lights are widely adapted and will grow in temperatures between 19°C and 38°C. The plants will tolerate light frost without damage. Leaf length – 15 to 20 cm. Days to maturity – 60 to 65. (28 days for baby vegetable use).

Spinach Beet.(Swiss Chard) Varieties:
Fordhook Giant. Dark green spinach with large leafs and thick white stems. Leaf length – 40 to 50 cm. Days to maturity – 60 to 65.
Lucullus. Large light green leaves and stems. Leaf length – 40 to 50 cm. Days to maturity – 60 to 65.

 

SWEETCORN AND MEALIES:Sweetcorn

How to sow: Sow 40 cm apart with at least 1 metre between rows. Sweet corn provides a good wind shelter for most garden vegetables and it is often a practice to plant sweet corn around the exposed sides of the melon or cucumber patch. A good watering once a week is recommended during the growing season.
Cultivation: The cobs are ready for use when the silky sheen disappears from the tassel.
Sweetcorn. Bonita. A slightly pointed cob between 180 mm and 200 mm in length with 18 to 20 rows of golden kernels. Good disease resistance makes this sweet corn ideal for home gardeners. Days to maturity – 80 to 90.
Green Mealies. Kalahari Early Pearl. A medium thick cob between 120 mm and 180 mm long with 8 to 10 rows of white kernels. Days to maturity – 75 to 85.
Maize. Prolific. A super sweet sweet corn with well defined yellow kernels and excellent taste and eating qualities with a cylindrical cob. Good resistance to disease. Days to maturity – 78 to 88.

 

TOMATO:Tomatoes

Requirements: Tomatoes require clean, weed free, deeply dug soil in a position sheltered from strong winds and sun.
How to sow: Sow two or three seeds into groups 70 cm apart and 1 metre between rows. If all germinate discard the weakest two.
Cultivation: If space is limited the stake method of growing is preferred. Each plant is provided with a 2 metre stake at the time of planting. Pinch out the lateral shoots at the fork of the leaf and the main stem as soon as they appear. Watering should be regular.
Pests and diseases: Most fungus diseases can be prevented by fortnightly spraying. Ensure that the underside as well as the upper surface of foliage is well covered with spray.
Floradade.

 

 

TURNIPS. SWEDE:Turnips

Turnip & Rutabaga are at their best about the time other vegetables in the garden are withering. If growing turnips mainly for the tasty tops, sow thickly and don't thin to much. Harvest turnips and rutabagas when smaller for best flavor. For a winter crop, sow in late July or early August.
“Rutabaga”, also called “swede” or “winter turnip”, is globe shaped with yellow flesh and maroon coloured skin. Commonly grown for winter storage. “Summer Turnip”, is flatter in shape, and the flesh is usually white and roots are harvested during the summer.
PROPAGATION / SOWING OF TURNIPS:
Sow turnip thinly Ό-½” deep. Space young turnip plants to 4-6” apart in rows 24-30” apart. Sow turnip seed as early as the soil can be worked to mature crop for early market. For the main storage crop, plant turnips in late June or early July, so that roots can develop in the warmer weather. Late plantings are less susceptible to turnip root maggot damage.
COMPANION PLANTING OF TURNIPS:
Turnip do well with the Onion family and peas.
CARE & GROWING OF TURNIPS:
Turnip prefer full sun with a soil pH of 6.5. Turnip are moderate feeders; require a deep, loose cultivated soil with medium water retention. Apply generously, compost and well rotted manure prior to planting. Turnips benefit from regular feedings with a compost tea or fertilizer with higher amounts of phosphorous and potassium for good root development. Boron is a key trace element for the prevention of Brown Heart (water core). (Boron may also be applied separately as a spray 4-6 weeks after planting).
HARVESTING OF TURNIPS:
Turnips (summer): when they reach 3” in diameter. Rutabagas (winter): when roots are 4” in diameter up until they are 5-6”. You can leave your rutabagas in the ground until just before it freezes. Sweet flavour of rutabagas is enhanced by light frosts.
TURNIP PESTS & DISEASES:
Clubroot can develop where turnips or cole crops have been frequently grown and will remain in the soil for 7 or more years. Clubroot thrives in acidic soil, keep the soil pH above 6.0. Practice good crop rotation. Root maggots in turnips can be avoided early in the season by covering plants with row covers.
Variety:
Early Purple Top Globe. Pointed purple and white globe of approximately 15o mm diameter. Days to maturity – 50 to 55.

 

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