Plant the Seeds – Manawee Garden Centre
They say Spring is natures way of saying “Lets Party” so don your fancy gardening gloves and gumboots and let’s get dirty with Carlie Wacker.
Spring is the best time to sow the soil and plant the seeds for summer eating. In fact, some seedlings planted early in spring will be ready to harvest within weeks and can carry you through to Autumn.
So, let’s look at what edibles should be planted now and how we can best care for our crops with the help of the experts at Manawee Garden Centre. Simon Van Roy and his family live and breathe plants with over 30 years in their iconic Buderim location and Simon loves Spring gardening the most.
“This is the time to plant – with good soil preparation spring presents us with the chance to see the fruits of our labour and grow some seriously delicious edibles in the warmer months,” he says.
Let’s start with salad. Planting lettuce is the quickest route to harvesting satisfaction. It will take a matter of weeks for leafy greens to reach a point of being edible. They grow in full sun but also tolerate some shade. If you plant seedlings every few weeks, you’ll have a regular supply of this diet staple through to summer. Simon recommends growing lettuce in rich, well-drained soil.
“They are one of the fastest growing edible crops and some varieties can be harvested after just four weeks,” he says. “Feed regularly using a liquid fertiliser for best results.”
Tomatoes are another rewarding edible that are quite easy to grow. You’ll need a sheltered but sunny spot with plants needing 6-8 hrs of sun per day. You can expect ripe juicy tomatoes after 30 days. There is a huge variety of tomatoes you can grow at home including those that will thrive in patio pots.
Simon said tomatoes enjoyed a full sun position and must be in a well-drained position with good airflow.
“Remember to practice good crop rotation – so don’t grow tomatoes in the same location each year,” he said. “Fertilise using a high potassium and high nitrogen fertiliser every 4 weeks.”
Zucchini is another delicious vegetable to plant in readiness for fruit to form in summer once the female flowers appear. These guys need heaps of room but produce plenty of zucchini so let them run free with ample space.
When it comes to this king of veggies Simon suggests you keep foliage dry to avoid mildew and fertilise every 4-6 weeks with a high nitrogen and high potassium fertiliser.
Beans are one healthy treat I eat straight from the vine, and they grow so beautifully in our region. Simon loves a good bean stalk and agrees that they are one of nature’s best fast-food snacks.
“Just eat straight from the bush or take inside for cooking,” he said. “Beans love a high nitrogen soil, so make sure to add plenty of well-rotted manures before planting. Fertilise using liquid fertilisers every fortnight for fast results.”
Carrots are an allrounder for salads and grazing platters, but I’ve never had much luck growing these bad boys although Simon is shocked by that. He thinks carrots are the easiest root vegetable to grow, so long as you get a couple of important things right at the beginning.
The soil must be loose and friable as growing in heavy soils results in stunted carrots (as mine were). It is also a good idea to avoid high nitrogen fertilisers once growing, as this results in lots of foliage – but very little carrot!
So, let’s get dirty, sow the soil and plant the seeds for homegrown summer entertaining.
WIN! ILLUSTRATED PLANT GLOSSARY by Enid Mayfield
This comprehensive glossary of more than 4000 plant science terms is a must-have reference for the keen gardener, ecologist and naturalist, as well as academics and students. Beautifully illustrated and collated by Noosa local and Honorary Associate of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Victoria, Enid Mayfield, the botanical glossary is both useful and engaging.