By John Gannon
Spring is the dominant growing season! In our climate of Melbourne, it is time to plant all warm-season vegetables. Some veggies need warmth and heat to germinate such as chillies, and others like tomatoes, need warm weather to ripen for eating. It’s important to grow all vegetables in the correct season.
Suitable veggies to grow in spring include:
- Melons and pumpkins
- Corn and beans
- Tomatoes and chillies
- Sunflowers and zucchini
- Eggplants and capsicums
Year-round vegetables to grow in spring include:
- Silverbeetand other greens.
How to grow?
Choose a spot that gets plenty of sun i.e., 6hrs of sun. In Melbourne, you may need some shade from the hot afternoon sun, particularly if grown in containers, as they can fry in extreme heat. If planting in the ground, add a layer of compost or composted manure about 2cm thick, especially for heavy feeders like fruiting plants. You can mix the compost into the soil or leave it on the surface. If growing in containers choose a deep container (at least 30 cm deep) and fill with quality potting mix. Also, make sure the containers have adequate drainage. Check the pH of the soil to make sure it is not too acidic or alkaline, most veggies like a neutral pH value.
Transplant the seedling, adhering to the space requirements of each plant. It is good to plant in early spring so they can get established before the hot summer. You can mulch with pea straw or sugar cane mulch and remember to use some shade cloth which will provide protection from the hot sun in summer. Keep up the watering especially in hot weather when it will need more water.
It is good to google each vegetable you wish to grow, for specific information such as how to tell when the fruit is ripening, or if the plants need specific requirements such as staking.
Recipe – Spiced Stewed Rhubarb
- 100g golden castor sugar
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 450g rhubarb
- 1 slice fresh root ginger peeled
Put sugar in a large saucepan with 300ml water. Bring to a simmer and then add the zest and juice of both the orange and the lemon along with the rhubarb and the ginger. Cook the mixture over medium heat until the rhubarb is falling apart. Serve with yoghurt. It tastes great and is an easy dessert to prepare for guests.