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As a democratic nation the time is now, to stand up and be heard! Ticking the box in the inaugural vegetable election will determine the country’s favourite (and most despised) vegetables.
From the nations cherished classics to the vegetables that have been much maligned, New Zealanders will get the opportunity to have their say. Will tomatoes claim the crown or will Brussels sprouts clinch an unlikely victory?
The outcome of the VegElection will be announced on 11 October. Everyone that votes goes into the draw to win one of three $500 National Gardening Week hampers containing 20 packets of Kiwis’ favourite vegie seeds; plus lots more Yates goodies to get your garden kick started.
If there’s one vegie that’s looking to the future, it’s Asparagus – literally! It can take up to 2 years for your crop to be productive, but it’s up to you to decide if the wait is worth it...
Incredibly versatile Beetroot deserves a spot in your pot! Everybody knows a burger isn’t complete without Beetroot, right?
Did you know the ancient Romans literally used Broad Beans to vote with? We think that’s a big tick for Broad Beans, right there.
Broccoli is another vegetable we can thank the ancient Romans for. But you can decide if this historic vegie gladiator gets a thumbs up or thumbs down!
Thanks Belgium, for Brussels sprouts! Belgium also invented mayonnaise on chips, then spoiled it by inventing pickled herrings on top of the mayonnaise, so this one could go either way.
In ancient China, cabbage was considered a cure for baldness. So if you’re concerned about the future for your forehead, be sure to give cabbage a vote!
We admit the old story about carrots helping your vision isn’t too reliable. Of course, carrots themselves are very easy to see, being one of the more hi-viz vegie choices.
The ancient Greeks used celery as winners’ trophies for Olympic athletes. Champion, or booby prize? You make the call.
Everyone knows Kale is really good for you. Healthy choices! But it’s still a tough decision to make, if you consider how much better most of the unhealthy choices taste.
Here’s your chance to vote for the local legend, Kūmara. Not only good for you; but tastes fantastic as well! Kūmara is the real deal (sorry Kale).
The texture of okra can be polarising…until someone gives you a plate of bamya or gumbo and you discover it’s a hero in disguise. Love? Hate? You be the judge.
Peas were first grown as vegies about 11,000 years ago. That’s amazing, but try explaining that to a fussy toddler! So who’s right, our ancient neolithic ancestors, or two-year-olds? You decide.
Silverbeet might seem like Spinach’s ‘homely’ cousin, but it’s always there for you in the garden. Even better, you can hide it in almost any meal.
About 100 years back, someone calculated the iron content of spinach and got the decimal point in the wrong place. It took 70-odd years before anyone noticed. Superhuman strength? Yeah, nah.
This vegie seems to have originated in Scandinavia. Sweden loves them so much the entire country is named after them.
Home grown vegies are cheaper, fresher, often have a higher nutritional value and provide a great sense of satisfaction at harvesting time.
Join the growing movement of people who are living off their land and growing more for less. Even if you’ve never planted peas or potatoes, peppers or pumpkins, there's never a better time to start.
1. Clear plastic sushi or salad ‘clamshell’ containers make great mini greenhouses for getting seeds started. Just poke a few vent holes in the lid, fill the bottom half with seed raising mix and sow your seeds. Add a little bit of water, close the lid and place the container in a sunny spot.
2. If you’re planting out seedlings in cooler temperatures you can protect them from frost – and slugs or snails – by using 2L soft drink bottles. Take off the lid, cut off the bottom and push the bottle down over the seedling, into the soil. When the seedling, is ready to face the elements remove the bottle during the day and pop it back on overnight, until the seedling is mature enough to grow on its own.
3. If you’re short on space, you can start a bag garden. Black soft plastic polybags can be placed anywhere, are inexpensive and are an economical option to replace rigid and heavier pots when growing vegies and herbs. Use bigger sized bags as smaller bags dry out faster in hot weather.
4. Attract insect pollinators to your vegetable garden with colourful flowers. The more bees and butterflies you have visiting your vegies, the better your harvest will be.
5. If you have cats in your neighbourhood make sure there isn’t any exasperating litterbox action in your newly sowed areas by ‘planting’ disposable wooden forks or chopsticks into the soil, to discourage digging… or just a bunch of pruning offcuts pushed into the soil.
6. Take advantage of sunny house or garage walls to grow tall tomatoes. Plant seeds in polybags and hang lengths of stretchy cotton plant ties from cup hooks under the eaves. You can spiral wrap it around the main stems to hang up the plant, then gradually train it to full height. Even a tomato plant heavily laden with fruit will hang quite comfortably from stretchy plant ties.
7. If you’re growing beetroot, there’s a good trick to maximise your results: soak the seeds in water overnight before you sow. When the seeds sink in the water, they’re ready. Each ‘seed’ is actually a cluster of 1-4 true seeds, protected by a corky outer coating.
8. Double the life of your vegetables by sprouting them from scraps that may normally get thrown out, including lettuce, celery, bok choy, leeks, and onions. Simply place the cut base of the vegetable in an inch of water, place in good light and change the water every couple of days. Once roots have shown on the cuttings, the sprouted vegetables can be planted out in the garden, or transferred into pots, to grow on into new plants.
9. Grow your vegetables from seed instead of seedlings. The maths is simple – you get dozens more plants from a packet of seeds, for a fraction of the cost.
10. Join a garden club or community garden and learn everything you need to know from the pros.