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We should all be eating more greens and silverbeet is an ideal home-grown candidate. Silverbeet is low in calories, fat and cholesterol whilst being high in dietary fibre and vitamins like A, C, E, K and B6, as well as thiamin, folate, calcium, iron and magnesium.
And there are multiple delicious ways you can use silverbeet, including 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.
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.
Now that you can’t wait 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 and 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.
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.
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 Broad Bean ‘Evergreen’ will need to be planted next to or within a support as the plants can grow up to 1 m tall and 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:
With delicious cool season vegies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower in full swing, caterpillars like 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 Concentrate.
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 Insect Control Concentrate, spinetoram, is a new generation insecticide derived from beneficial soil bacteria that was originally discovered on an island in the Caribbean.
Spinetoram controls caterpillars via both contact action and ingestion. It also has what is called ‘translaminar action’, which enables it to move from the upper to lower leaf surfaces, helping to make it rain fast.