You will have been fortunate to have returned from holiday to find a vegetable plot in pristine condition. Weeds thrive when plants don’t, and excess heat will have scalded any fruit exposed to the sun.
However, those who planted early with plant protection, will have already harvested beans, corn and cherry tomatoes so there is time to sow a second crop and gather before the first of the frost...as well as making room for greens and root crops for winter picking.
Dwarf beans are a super easy crop to grow in either beds or pots, providing they have a soil temperature consistently above 20°C. Sown in damp soil in a sunny site, cover with some seed raising mix and don’t water for a few days. The seeds will germinate in seven to 10 days and can be harvested in eight to 10 weeks.
Potatoes that were planted in spring will still be growing strongly over summer. Hopefully as green shoots emerged they were covered with a layer of mulch to help them grow taller and protect the tubers from sunlight. From now on each time shoots emerge from the mulch apply another layer plus a dressing of Dynamic Lifter. It takes around four months for potatoes to fully mature.
Winter greens are best started in trays or punnets of seed raising mix. Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, kale and brussels sprouts can all be transplanted into permanent sites when they are about seven centimetres tall. Leave them enough room to grow and feed established seedlings with Vegie and Herb Organic Based Pelletised Plant Food.
Lettuce and herbal greens are essential for salads, sandwiches and wraps and so are convenient to have on hand in containers or troughs, picked from four weeks onwards while they are young, tender and sweet. You can buy Yates Mesclun French salad mix or sow your own combination of loose leaf lettuce, chicory, rocket, endive and corn salad. Keep the growing mix moist and feed weekly with half strength liquid plant food.
Add some colour to the garden using any from a range of border plants that add finishing touches with a blend of interesting foliage and flowers; or grown as pot plants added as a contrast here and there. Herbaceous Allium ‘Pink Pepper’ from Plant Growers of Australia, is a dwarf ornamental with globe shaped pink flowers combining beautifully in mixed beds of blue salvia, lavenders and phlox.