Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Winter 2010 Contents Beetroot
Beetroot is a stunning plant to grow and consume.
The leaves, as well as the root of the vegetable, are
edible and taste delicious picked young and eaten
fresh, or marinated with olive oil, chilli and garlic.
Beetroot is quite easy to grow, and should be
planted in a light, fertile soil that has a neutral or
slightly acidic pH. Soak the spaceship-like seeds in
water for an hour to soften the outer layer, so they
germinate readily in any damp group. Beetroot
grows in a cluster, which can be carefully teased
apart and transplanted. The key to growing deli-
cious beetroot is to grow it quickly! This avoids it
becoming tough, or susceptible to beet nematode.
Apply complete fertiliser once the young seedlings
have rooted. Beetroot takes about three to four
months to mature.
Snow peas can be cooked in stir-fries or enjoyed
raw. Snow peas are the main type of pea grown
in WA, produced mainly in Wanneroo. They are
a high source of vitamin K1, which helps keep
bones healthy. Snow peas are best grown in the
cooler months. To sow them you need to provide
support, such as twiggy sticks or netting. Snow
peas should be planted in a row into moist soil with
added organic matter. Then it s best not to water
them again until they germinate. They will be
ready to harvest in about two months. The more
you pick the more you ll get.
Rhubarb is a brilliant addition to the garden, with
broad leaves and attractive rich red stems. The stems
are the only edible part of the plant, and depending
on the variety can vary from green to burgundy in
colour. Although, strictly speaking, a vegetable,
rhubarb is used in delicious desserts, such as fruit
pies and crumbles. It prefers moist soil, rich with
manure, and requires plenty of watering. You can
plant seeds or seedlings (which will take about a year
to become ready for harvesting) or buy rhubarb
crowns and plant them out, allowing one-metre
spacings. In WA once the plant is established, it will
retain its leaves throughout the year.
Sage comes from the Latin word salveo, meaning
"to save or heal", and in cultures such as the Ancient
Greek and Roman societies it was held in the high-
est regard for its healing properties and culinary
virtues. It can be grown from seeds sown in pots
then transplanted to the garden when the seedlings
are about 10cm high. Sage must be watered well,
and fresh leaves can be picked after about six weeks.
Anise is popularly used for its dried seeds. Known
for its liquorice flavour, it s added to many drinks
and sweets. Native to the Mediterranean region
and the Middle East, it grows well in WA. The best
time to plant anise is at the start of winter, before it
gets too cool. Sow the seeds in full sun, in any type
of soil. The plant will flower before producing the
seeds. When the seeds are ripe, hang them by their
stems to dry and tie a brown paper bag around
the flowering head to catch the seeds if they drop.
While waiting for the seeds to grow you can enjoy
seeing the anise flowers develop and tiny yellow or
white flowers form. Anise takes 30 weeks to ma-
ture, but the delicious taste is well worth the wait.
Dill is one of the easiest herbs to grow, and adds
flavour to almost any soup, salad or main dish.
Dill is simple to cultivate from seed, and in areas
that don t experience a hard frost, such as Perth,
winter is an ideal time to plant them, but in the
cooler South-West wait until the frosty weather is
over. For a continuous crop, sow seeds in the gar-
den every 10 days. Dill loves the WA sun but will
tolerate afternoon shade. It will be ready to pick
between 12 and 20 weeks after planting.
With abundant rain and the soil
still warm from summer, early
winter is the perfect time to get
out into the vegie patch.
text natalie butler
grow your own
Links Archive Scoop 52 Scoop 53 Spring 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page