Summer planting guide
Can you smell the basil in the air? Here’s what the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation recommends planting and harvesting this summer.
What to plant
• Summer is the time to plant: basil, beetroot, capsicums, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, silverbeet, spring onions and zucchini.
• When planting beetroot soak the seeds, which grow in clusters, for a day and separate before sowing directly into the ground. Keep the soil moist until the seedlings appear.
• It’s also a great time to plant beans, which you can sow among corn for natural vertical supports. To create a living cubby house for children, beans can also be grown on a teepee structure made from bamboo sticks or an igloo shape created with chicken wire.
What to harvest
• Summer is the time to harvest: basil, beans, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, parsley, silverbeet, spring onions and zucchini.
• Zucchinis are a plentiful summer crop and should be harvested regularly to keep plants productive. Check plants daily and harvest when 10 to 15 cm long, as zucchinis are fast-growing and lose their flavour and texture over this size.
• Basil leaves should be ready to pick from early December until the weather cools in autumn.
• Harvest new growth and prune off any flower spikes to keep the plant bushy. To prolong the life of the plant begin harvesting the leaves when the stems have become woody. Harvest bushes completely before the first frost of autumn.