Vegetables anyone can grow
May 1, 2020
These easy to grow greens are ready for planting now in Australian vegetable gardens. They are an excellent choice for growing with children as they are easy to start from seed and are generally fast growing. If your garden space is limited, or you don’t have dedicated garden beds, these vegetables can all be grown in pots.
Bok Choy (or Choi), and similar Asian cabbage are fast growing and easy to grow from seed. They germinate quickly and are ready for planting in a few weeks. There is a wonderful variety of greens in this family. I add Boy Choy to my vegetable garden each Autumn and Winter. The leaves may be harvested individually if you do not wish to harvest the whole plant at one time. I like to cut up the leaves when they are small and add them to salads or wait until they are fully developed to add to stir fries and slow cooked meals.
These plants thrive in the cool temperature and prefer a loose, weed free soil. Ensure these plants stay well watered. Check the underside of the leaves frequently for signs of cabbage white moth eggs. If you discover eggs, or caterpillars on the leaves the plants may need to be covered with netting.
Flavours of lettuce vary from bitter, buttery, peppery and sweet depending on the variety. Try growing a few types to see which your family enjoys and which grows best in your area. Grow lettuce from seed and add the seedlings to the garden once they have developed a few leaves.
Tip: If you are growing lettuce from seed, re-plant seed every 4-6 weeks for continual harvests.
Spinach is easy to grow from seed. Plant seedlings in a semi-shaded position; they will do well planted below a larger plant in the warmer months. Spinach prefers cooler conditions and the seasons of Autumn and Winter are a great time to plant it. Plant seedlings 20 cm apart.
Tip: It is important that the soil remains moist, but not wet, to prevent stress in this plant.
If spinach plants experience irregular watering, or dry out completely the plants become stressed and will go to seed. This means they will stop producing leaves and prepare to flower and produce seed.
Plant seedlings 30 cm apart. Seed can be raised in trays, or sown directly in the area it will grow. Rocket is a fast growing plant and will continue producing for many months.
As with Spinach, plant rocket early in the season as this plant prefers the cooler weather.
Harvest small leaves regularly to encourage new growth. Large leaves tend to be very peppery, remove any large leaves that escape harvest to encourage new growth. If you notice a large growth spurt, cut the plant back and then re-commence harvesting.
Water plants regularly, avoiding dry soil.
Check rocket plants regularly in Autumn to ensure they are not under attack from white cabbage moth. The moths will lay eggs on the underside of the leaves, especially if the cabbage, kale, broccoli and cauliflowers are under netting leaving few plants for them to use. If you identify eggs on the underside of the leaves, gently brush them off and check all leaves for caterpillars. Remove any caterpillars you find and if required cover the plants with fine netting.
Lemon flavoured leaves are a great addition to salads. The red streaks through the leaves make it a beautiful addition to any salad. The smaller leaves have a better flavour than the larger leaves. As with all leafy greens, they should have the leaves picked often to encourage new growth. This plant is a pretty addition to the vegetable garden. This is the only vegetable in this that that I’ve not grown from seed.
This fast growing Asian green has deep green, spoon shaped leaves. The leaves may be eaten raw or cooked. If you are eating the leaves raw, harvest them when they are small. The flavour is similar to bok choi but a little milder thus likely to be more readily eaten by children. Use Tatsoi in cooking the same way you would use spinach, or bok choi. It is an excellent addition to stir fries, pastries, pies, bakes and wintery casseroles and stews that need a nutrient boost.
Do you have any other easy to grow greens that you love to grow in Autumn that I should add to this list?
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