Veg for the summer months
What can you plant in your kitchen garden this month to provide you with a delicious crop for the rest of the summer?
The best carrot seed variety to choose that withstands heat and can resist the leaf diseases that come with the rainy season in the summer rainfall regions of the country is 'Kuroda' (MayFord). This carrot has a lovely dark colour, which means it contains a higher quantity of health-giving carotene. It is delicious and lasts well in the soil.
To ensure a good crop of carrots, it is advisable to thin out the plants that you have sown when they reach the four-leaf stage – allow about leave 50-80 plants per square metre. If you don't thin out the sowings, your carrots will not be as successful.
- Make sure you only lift carrots when they are fully mature – this ensures a much better taste and longer shelf life.
- After harvesting carrots, remove the leafy tops immediately to prolong the quality.
Cabbages do well in summer in areas that are not humid or extremely hot. Choose those varieties which cope best with rainy conditions such 'Hercules' and 'Conquistador' (MayFord) or 'Green Star' (Starke Ayres).
Broccoli is fast-growing and can be harvested about 60 days after sowing. Eat the side shoots after you have picked the main head. The leaves, especially the young ones, make a marvellous spinach.
This relatively quick crop is very easy to grow and is most rewarding. 'Crimson Globe' (Starke Ayres) is the best variety for your garden as the leaves can also be eaten as spinach. As with carrots, it is important to thin out the plants that you have sown.
These plants are very productive provided that you pick the marrows on a regular basis. Give them a top-dressing of LAN to maintain vigorous growth and healthy green leaves.
Even if you already have tomatoes on the go, it is still worthwhile planting more to ensure a delicious crop right until the first frosts of next winter.
It is not usually the best time to sow lettuce seed, because of the heat, which may cause the plants to easily go to seed or become bitter. However, there are some varieties which are more heat tolerant such as 'Commander' (Starke Ayres).