There is no question that fresh is best. We have put together a list of 'cool campaigners' – edible crops to sow and plant now, and some tips for growing them successfully!
4 Tips for Successful Winter Veges:
- Tuck them up: anything planted over the cooler months will appreciate a blanket of Tui Mulch & Feed or Tui Pea Straw Mulch to keep the soil warmer. The worms will thank you for it to as it breaks down adding organic matter to the soil.
- Toughen them up: for existing plants, a good watering with Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic will toughen up the cell walls of the plant, enabling the plant to cope with temperature fluctuation. Protect young seedlings from slugs and snails, by laying Tui Quash every few weeks.
- Cover them up: modify growing areas to offer more protection from the elements to speed up the harvest time. Cloches, plastic tunnels and fleeces all work well. Be mindful that plastic covers do not allow rain or moisture through.
- Speed them up: the biggest challenge a new seedling faces is transplanting shock. To reduce this, water with Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic. This seaweed based plant tonic limits root shock and stimulates the root ball to develop readily, enabling plants to spurt into growth much faster. Commercial growers use Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic to improve cropping capacity, health and vigour.
5 Seedlings to Plant Now:
- Leafy Greens – silver beet, kale, spinach, pak choi, miners lettuce -choose plants as seeds will take far longer to germinate now temperatures are cooler. Crops will be ready to harvest in 6-12 weeks.
- Brassicas – broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower can all be planted now. Give these larger crops more room to grow - plant 30-50 cm apart. Purple sprouting broccoli is relatively new on the scene and taste fabulous, with its come-again cropping capacity it’s hard to go past. Harvest 12-16 weeks.
- Lettuce - red oak and drunken lady are both pretty and reliable, red frilly lettuces are the best ones to choose for winter crops. Plant 20 cm apart in the garden, or cram them a bit closer together in pots and pick leaf by leaf as soon as they look big enough. Harvest 6-10 weeks.
- Celery – crisp, hardy and economical on space, celery enjoys plenty of rich organic matter, add layers of Tui Super Sheep Pellets at planting time and mulch the plants with Tui Pea Straw Mulch. Harvest stalk by stalk if desired, full head takes 12-16 weeks to mature
- Beetroot – a versatile crop, where both the leaves and roots can be eaten, beetroot copes with cool soils and shorter days. It prefers free draining soil, so in damp areas consider planting it in pots or adding grit to the soil before planting. Or provide a tunnel house or cloche during heavy periods of rain. Harvest 8-16 weeks.
Top Seeds to Sow:
- Corn salad, rocket, mizuna, water cress, radish can all be sown now.
- All but radish can be sown into trays of Tui Seed Raising Mix and transplanted as soon as the seedlings are 5-10cm tall.
- Radish does not transplant well, so sow where you would like to grow them.
- Harvest time 6- 10 weeks from sowing.