January 9, 2020
Gardens

In the garden: Plant some pumpkins, eggplant and basil

Get your edible garden ready for the months ahead with Michael’s guide to what to plant in the veggie patch this summer.

Pumpkins

Our Mediterranean climate is just perfect for pumpkins, the only other requirement is some space or failing that a trellis will suffice. If left alone, they will ramble through your garden, climb trees and visit neighbours.

I generally plant them in groups of three seedlings and manage their runners to about one to two metres maximum. They require a sunny, wind-protected, well-drained spot, they love deep soil enriched with compost or Dynamic Lifter. Harvest is generally mid-autumn onwards, depending on the variety. The rewards are well worth the effort!

Basil

Top of my “favourite herbs” list and for good reason. Basil is one of the easiest to grow and most useful plants we can all have in our gardens during the warmer months. There are some varieties that will grow all year round but Ocimum basilicum or sweet basil is the one you want. 

It can be grown from seed (cheaper) or from seedlings. I sometimes find the seedlings either too small or too “leggy” and they suffer when planted out. Basil likes a warm, frost-free site and with regular feeding and watering is a must-have crop growing side by side with tomatoes.

 

Eggplant

Ideal to plant out in early to mid summer. Eggplant will grow successfully at similar times and in similar conditions to tomatoes. 

There are many varieties to choose from, so if you have a sunny spot in the garden that has not had any of the same family of plants (such as potatoes, tomatoes or capsicums) growing there recently, that would be perfect. In the warmer months, most gardeners grow them from seedling. Use the same care as with tomatoes, chillies and capsicums.

 

This article first appeared in the summer 2019 issue of SALIFE Gardens & Outdoor Living magazine.

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