Grow Something Tasty AND Good For You.

We all know we should be eating more greens; silverbeet's the ideal home-grown candidate. Silverbeet is low in calories, fat and cholesterol, but high in dietary fibre and vitamins like A, C, E, K and B6, as well as thiamin, folate, calcium, iron and magnesium. It's packed with goodness!

There are all sorts of delicious ways you can use silverbeet, like finely chopped as a pizza topping, sautéed with raisins, garlic and onions, incorporated into tarts and quiches or used in place of spinach in divine spanakopita parcels.

You can also add tender young leaves to salads and smoothies or try using silverbeet instead of herbs in pesto. Yates Silverbeet Compact Deep Green is a smaller bolt-resistant variety of silverbeet that’s perfect for sowing in May. It features large crinkled dark green tasty leaves on short white stems and will be ready to harvest in just 11-12 weeks.

If you're keen to grow your own, here are the simple steps to get you started!

  • Seeds can be sown direct where they are to grow, or raised in trays of Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix and transplanted when the seedlings are 6 – 8 cm high.

  • Silverbeet prefers a sunny spot that receives at least 6 hours of sunshine a day. It can grow in either a vegie patch, or a pot filled with a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium Potting Mix.

  • Sow seeds 12 mm deep and 30 cm apart.

  • Keep the soil or potting mix moist and seedlings will pop up in 10 – 14 days.

  • Feed the seedlings each week with a complete liquid fertiliser like Yates Thrive Vegie Herb Liquid Plant Food, which will help promote lots of delicious leaves.

Harvest tip: begin picking young leaves as required, starting with the outside leaves. Harvest by pulling, rather than cutting, stalks.

The Magic of Onions

Ask any chef how indispensable onions are! Onions usually aren’t the star ingredient on the plate, but nothing tastes quite as good without them. It’s hard to think of a more versatile vegetable.

Our reliance on onions has been a long time in the making; they’ve been cultivated for more than 7,000 years and were propagated throughout the world by travelling gardeners.

Onions are delicious eaten raw, roasted, fried, sautéed or pickled. They’re an essential ingredient in a soffritto, making them a basic building block for an enormous range of Mediterranean dishes.

Part of the allure for a home gardener is that they’re very straightforward to grow. Late autumn is a great time to sow onions because they take time to mature (5-6 months, so they do need a bit of patience). Onions can be sown until the end of winter but shouldn’t be sown too late; so that you can harvest before the hottest January and February weather arrives and brings downy mildew with it.

If sowing in autumn, it’s a good idea to sow into trays of Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix, then transplant the seedlings when they’re about 10cm tall, to cut down on weeding. It’s standard practise for onions to be sown direct where they are to grow, but you’ll need to stay on top of the weeds for best results.

  • Choose a spot that receives plenty of sun, with well-drained soil. Prior to planting, improve your soil by digging in Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone with Seaweed.
  • Dig a narrow furrow or ‘drill’, sow the seeds into it and cover lightly with Yates Black Magic Seed Raising Mix. Onion seeds only need to be sown 6mm deep, so don’t be tempted to plant them too deeply; they tend to form thickened necks at the top of the bulb which means they won’t keep very well. Firm down and keep them moist.
  • Once the seedlings are 10-12cm tall, thin them out to 10cm spacings to give them plenty of room to grow. Don’t waste the onions you thin out – they’re tasty and can be used like spring onions!
  • Feed every couple of weeks with Yates Thrive Natural Fish Seaweed+ Plant Food to encourage healthy growth.
  • Harvest when the leaves wilt and fall over. Gently pull the onion out of the ground, cut the leaves off a few centimetres above the bulb and then leave them in a warm sunny spot to dry out. Once the skins and roots are dry, they can be stored in wire baskets or mesh bags in a cool, dry spot.

Growing Tips

You don’t have to wait for all the onion bulbs to be full sized before you harvest them. You can pick and use smaller bulbs and leave the rest to grow bigger.

Onions can go to seed if they aren’t planted at the right time of the year, so make sure you check the label before planting, to avoid disappointment!

Time to sow Lamb's Lettuce

Autumn is the perfect time to sow Lamb's Lettuce, AKA Mâche or Corn Salad (Valerianella locusta). It's a small, low-growing annual that prefers a cool climate, so it's a clever choice to provide leafy salad greens through the winter. The sweet & delicate flavour makes Lamb's Lettuce work with almost any salad, or served on it's own with a tangy vinaigrette.

Growing Guide:

  • Choose a spot that receives plenty of sun and is well protected from strong winds. Prior to planting, improve your soil by digging in compost & Yates Thrive Natural Blood & Bone with Seaweed. Sow directly by sprinkling the seeds over the soil.
  • Water in well.
  • The seeds will generally sprout within two weeks.
  • You can leave them to grow in clumps, or thin them out if you prefer.
  • As seedlings grow, feed weekly with Yates Thrive Natural Fish Seaweed+ Plant Food Concentrate to encourage good foliage production.
  • Start harvesting after plants have produced four pairs of leaves. Continuous harvest at regular intervals encourages new growth.

Bountiful Broad Beans

Broad beans, sometimes referred to as faba or fava beans, are a great source of fibre and protein as well as containing vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Broad beans (Vicia faba) are a fantastic bean to sow during May that will yield heavy crops of beans in around 4 – 5 months’ time.

Yates Broad Bean ‘Evergreen’ is a tender and succulent green seeded variety that produces small, mild flavoured beans that are suitable for fresh use or freezing.

Growing Guide:

  • In a sunny spot in a well-drained garden bed, sow seeds 4 cm deep into moist soil that’s been enriched with some Yates Thrive Natural Blood Bone with Seaweed.

  • Don’t water again until the seedlings emerge in around 2 weeks. Limiting watering helps to reduce the chance of seeds rotting before they germinate.

  • Yates ‘Evergreen’ will need to be planted next to or inside a support, as the plants can grow up to 1 m tall and they become heavy when covered in their large pods. Supports can be constructed from tomato stakes or bamboo poles and strong garden twine.

  • To encourage a great harvest, as soon as the broad bean seedlings are established start feeding each week with Yates Thrive Flower Fruit Soluble Plant Food, which is boosted with extra potassium which promotes flowering and pod development.

  • If temperatures are low in early spring broad beans can drop their flower buds however new flowers will quickly follow. Young and tender pods can be harvested, sliced and cooked as a green vegie or allow them to develop until you can feel the beans swollen inside the pod. To ‘extract’ the beans, boil the full pods for a few minutes, allow to cool and then slice the pod lengthways and pop out the beans.

Here are some broad bean recipes to inspire you to grow this delicious vegie:

Got Caterpillars?

With delicious and enticing vegies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower in full swing, caterpillars (especially cabbage white butterfly caterpillars) will be on the rampage. Even the smallest of caterpillars can chew through mountains of foliage and left unchecked can result in heartbreaking skeletonised leaves. You may not see the caterpillars themselves, just their damage or droppings, as many caterpillars are cleverly camouflaged.

Caterpillars are easy to control by regularly spraying vegies with Yates Success Ultra Insect Control.

Yates Success Ultra controls a range of common caterpillars, including cabbage white butterfly caterpillars, on a variety of plants, including potatoes, tomatoes, pip fruit and stone fruit. Spraying should start as soon as the first caterpillars or their damage is spotted and repeat applications every 7 days.

The active constituent in Yates Success Ultra, spinetoram, is derived from beneficial soil bacteria. It controls caterpillars via both contact action and ingestion. It also has what's called ‘translaminar action’, which enables it to penetrate upper leaf surfaces to move to the lower leaf surfaces, assisting coverage and helping to make it rainfast.

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