There’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own vegetables, and spring is the best time to give it a go! Start your self-sustaining story with these easy-grow favourites for your best chance at a bumper harvest to brag about.
This warm season favourite is happy in a pot or plot. Most tomato varieties will need staking as they can grow between 1.5 and 2m tall, but you can find dwarf forms that don’t require additional support. Choose a spot in full sun with well-drained soil. Enrich the soil with plenty of compost, organic matter and a dusting of garden lime. Feed regularly with a high potassium fertiliser once buds appear.
For a fast-growing vegie, go for beans. Depending on the variety, you can start harvesting after as little as eight weeks. They need full sun plus space and support poles or frames to grow up. If you don’t have a lot of room, look for dwarf or bush beans, which grow easily in pots or small spaces. Add organic matter to improve the soil prior to planting and liquid feed with a vegie-specific fertiliser during the growing season.
This is one of the most rewarding vegies to grow, as all parts of the plant can be used for cooking. The whole plant – leaves and roots – can be harvested in eight weeks, but if preferred, you can leave the plant in the ground or pot and just snip the leaves as needed. Position in full sun, feed regularly with a fertiliser suitable for leafy vegies, and keep an eye out for slugs and snails on young seedlings.
This sprawling vine needs lots of space, so give it a dedicated spot. It likes to ramble across the ground, but will also grow over a sturdy trellis. If using a trellis, look for smaller varieties and provide added support for the fruit, like a sling. Choose a sunny spot and dig organic matter well into the soil before planting. To harvest, wait until the stalks become brittle and die off.
Turn up the heat by planting a mix of these firecrackers. They grow into attractive, small to medium-sized bushes, with a few exceptions that can grow 1.5-2m tall. Plant in full sun and well-drained soil. Feed regularly and pick often to promote a prolific crop. Most grow as annuals (only lasting one season), but they can live on for a few years in warm climates.
There is more to cucumbers than the traditional store-bought ones. They’re fast growers and are suitable for both pots and garden beds. Plant in full sun, in well-drained soil improved with plenty of organic matter. Give them a trellis to climb, otherwise they will ramble over the ground. Pick regularly – the more you pick, the more they produce!
These include lettuce, bok choy, tatsoi, spinach and mustard leaves. They’re all quick growers and the leaves can all be picked when young. Only pick a handful at a time, leaving most of the plant intact, and this will encourage more leaves to grow. Pick a spot in full sun to part shade and enrich the soil with compost. Sow every 3-4 weeks to prolong the harvest.
This root vegie is a staple in salads, roasts, burgers and sandwiches, so it’s worth growing. If starting from seed, soak the hard seed in water the night before planting. Grow in full sun with well-drained soil. Dig in aged manures or compost and fork well to help break up the soil. It can take 8-10 weeks to harvest the root, but you can enjoy the leaves sooner. Always leave a few leaves to allow the plant to continue to grow.
This underrated vegie has a sweet, nutty flavour and can be used in place of potatoes or carrots. Choose a sunny spot with well-drained soil and enrich with aged manure and compost. Dig the soil over well to help break it up so it’s loose and crumbly. Sow fresh seed, as germination can be poor if the seed is old. If growing in pots, choose one at least 600mm wide and deep. And be patient – it can take 18 weeks before they’re ready.
This versatile veg grows in pots or beds and has a long harvest window. Plant in full sun or part shade, and feed with a fertiliser high in nitrogen. To harvest, grab the stalk near the base, twist and pull.
You’ll be planting these vegies in no time with our beginners guide to starting a vegetable garden.
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