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Vegetable Garden Tips

BEANS

  • All bean seed requires a soil temperature of 13 deg for germination. Check the weather page in your daily it will have the average soil temperature listed. Generally this temperature is reached mid to late spring whenever that is in your neck of the woods.
  • Bean seed can be planted straight into the garden. Plant as deep as the seed is long. Climbing beans should be planted 10-15cm apart in rows 60cm apart and will need to be supported by stakes or some structure that they can climb.

Growing tips for beans - click here to buy

    • Don’t overdo the nitrogen if applying fertiliser you’ll get lots of leaves but no beans. Apply fertiliser a couple of weeks before sowing seed
    • Beans are sun worshippers but they still need water-soak beans a couple of times a week when the flowers are turning into pods.
    • Make sure the soil is free draining or the seedling will rot.
    • Slugs and snails love bean seedlings – use a plastic container to protect them when young.
    • Click here to download our growing tips for beans

    BEETROOT

    • Beetroot likes rich soil but can be a tad sensitive so prepare your soil well before you intend to sow your
    • seed.
    • Beetroot doesn’t like lime so don’t add lime after planting in fact if you haven’t added lime at least a month before planting don’t bother you will do more harm than good. Sow the seed directly where you want the plant to grow.
    • Beetroot like most other veges likes lots of sun and also lots of water when they are growing.
    • Although there are now some varieties of beetroot that cope with the cold it is advisable to leave planting beetroot seed until spring and summer. Fungal disease and some pests can be a problem – and you can find suitable sprays (some organic) but the best treatment is prevention- good soil and not too much water once the plants are established.
    • Beetroot will be ready 9-10 weeks after sowing.

    Growing tips for beetroot - click here to buy

    CORRIANDER

    • Coriander grows best in well drained soil in a sunny position. It does not like humidity or dampness so it may be more difficult to grow in the more tropical areas of New Zealand.
    • The seed should be sown directly where you want it to grow in spring, or autumn in warmer climates. The seedswill normally germinate in 10 days.
    • Thin seedlings out to 20cm.there aren’t many nasties that attack coriander however they can go to seed very quickly so it may be useful to do successive planting.

    Growing tips for corriander - click here to buy

    • Do not overwater
    • Plant in sun or partial shade
    • Plant slow-bolting varieties.

    PEAS

    • Peas are cool season plants meaning that their main growing time is during late winter and early spring when the temperature is between 10 and16 degrees.
    • However in warm areas peas can be grown all year round. Peas are best grown in a free draining warm soil.
    • Some peas will need to be staked but there are some varieties that are self supporting like William Massey and Novella. For those that require staking put the stakes at the ends of the rows and run string between them.
    • Pea seed is planted directly in the soil about 5-10 cm apart.

    Growing tips for peas - click here to buy

    • After planting the pea seed, water but do not water again until the shoots have emerged.
    • Protect from snails and slugs as per beans with a plastic container.
    • Peas don’t like fresh compost, manure or fertiliser
    • Water often once plants begin to flower but sparingly before.
    • Watch out for aphids - little green insects.
    • Click here to download our growing tips for peas

    POTATOES

    • Potatoes have to be one of the easiest crops to grow. In warm climates like Auckland north they can be grown year round. However as potatoes are frost tender it is better to wait until the threat of frost has past or provide some protection from the frost if you know it is coming.
    • Potatoes can be grown in containers, tyres and even planter bags as potatoes grow downwards. They don’t need particularly rich soil but a little bit of sulphate of potash or just potash is helpful. If you have a chance sprout the potatoes (let the eyes grow) to about 1 cm before planting. Dig trenches about 10 cm deep and plant with the sprouts facing up and cover with soil.
    • When you see growth breaking the soil mound up with dirt. Continue to mound until the plants have reached about a foot (around 30cm in height). Early potatoes will be ready to harvest in a certain number of days-second early and main potatoes are ready when the plant flowers and dies.
    • Early potatoes are not suitable for storing in the ground as their skins are too thin and they become susceptible to scab. Once dug the potatoes will need to be kept in a dark cool place; they can be kept from sprouting by the application of propham powder. Main crop varieties can be left in the ground and dug when required.

    Growing tips for potatoes - click here to buy

    • Potatoes are easy to grow but to get a really good crop there are a few things you need to know. Ensure your potato seed has sprouts of about 3-4cm. If not stand them in egg cartons with the eyes facing up. Leave them somewhere with good light but not direct sunlight.
    • Plant the potatoes in trenches 20 cm apart about 15-20cm deep. Mound up the soil around the plants as soon as shoots start to emerge.. Continue to do this as the plants grow mounding more soil every time the plant emerges until you reach a height of approx 30cm.
    • New Potatoes are ready when the flowers die off and maincrop potatoes are ready when the tops die down.
    • Prepare your soil by adding plenty of compost and fertilizer (sheep pellets are good). Don’t add lime unless the soil is very acidic. Lime encourages potato scab – brown corky spots on the skin.
    • Potatoes don’t require a lot of water but they do need to drink (a good water once a week). Don’t cut the potatoes half when planting- the exposed flesh leaves them open to disease.
    • If you want to store your potatoes for use later on you will need to grow “maincrop” varieties such as rua, Agria and Ilam Hardy. Maincrop varieties develop in 100 to 150 days and have a firm protective skin. Early varieties such as Swift, Cliff Kidney and Jersey Benne have a fragile skin and won’t keep.
    • Click here to download our growing tips for potatoes

    Silverbeet

    • Silverbeet must be one of the easiest vegetables to grow. It can be planted all year round in many parts of New Zealand and it seems (in my experience) relatively unaffected by disease and insect attack.
    • It can be susceptible to mildew, leaf spot and leaf miner but these can be well controlled with vigilance, generous feeding and watering in hot weather. Silverbeet seed can be planted directly in the ground or in a seedling tray.
    • There are many different varieties of silverbeet including “Swiss Chard” which produces stems in many different colours, including pink, crimson, gold and white. Sow from early spring into autumn when seedlings appear protect from slugs (if planted directly).
    • Thin out if required.

    Growing tips for silverbeet - click here to buy

    • Plant in full sun well drained soil.
    • Dig in plenty of well-rotted compost into the soil.
    • Lime soil one month before planting.
    • Water generously during the hot summer months.
    • Pick leaves when large enough to use to encourage fresh growth but leave at least five leaves to help the plant regenerate.
    • Click here to download our growing tips for silverbeet

    Tomatoes

    • Tomatoes come in two types determinate and indeterminate. Determinate tomatoes are also called bush tomatoes.They are suited to growing in pots and containers as they only grow to a certain height.Their fruit ripens all at the same time and then the plant dies. Some determinate tomatoes require staking but many do not making them ideal for those who have limited space for a garden.
    • Indeterminate tomatoes are also called vining tomatoes and the plants can grow very tall- staking is advised. They will grow and produce fruit until frosts kill them - they will produce fruit throughout the growing season.
    • Tomato seed is small so you will get a lot of seedlings out of one packet of seed. It is best to plant the seed in seedling trays before transplanting into the garden. Plant seeds in early September. Once the seedlings have developed some leaves you can put them into individual pots for planting out around late October depending on your climate. Tomatoes are frost sensitive.

    Growing tips for tomatoes - click here to buy

    • A warm sheltered position with lots of sun is essential. Determinate varieties are good for containers indeterminate are not as a general rule (some exceptions).
    • Try to keep the fruit and leaves off the ground as the plant grows to avoid disease.
    • Tomatoes like potash and chicken manure.
    • Watering and feeding tomato plants is not necessary until flowering begins (obviously if it doesn’t rain for weeks prior to flowering you will have to water the plants occasionally).
    • After flowering water and feed regularly.
    • Grit (crushed oyster shells) is also good for tomatoes.
    • Remove laterals on indeterminate tomatoes as they appear - these are new bits of growth that appear between the main stem and the main shoots. 
    • Click here to download our growing tips for tomatoes