Grow a bagful of potatoes
Humble, nutritious potatoes are a great choice for beginning gardeners, especially when you use grow bags filled with good potting soil and compost. Start with seed potatoes that haven’t been treated to resist sprouting. Cut them into chunks with two eyes per chunk and let them dry overnight before planting them. Then give them full sun and regular water. Add more soil to the bag when the plants are about 20cm tall, leaving the top set of leaves uncovered. Add more soil when the plants grow another 20cm tall and repeat this process until the bag is full. When the foliage turns yellow, stop watering and wait about a week before you dig up the potatoes with your gloved hands. Many grow bags are reusable and available in different sizes.
Plant a bushel of peas
There are lots of delightful types of peas. Choose disease-resistant varieties, and you won’t need to do much more than plant them, water regularly and harvest them. Sow the peas in wide rows, covering them with an inch of soil and planting 5cm deep. Peas grow well during the cooler months but the flowers can be damaged by frost so, in very cold areas, wait until spring to sow. They don’t usually need fertiliser, but they do need a deep, weekly watering if rain is scarce. For best results, grow your peas, including dwarf varieties, on a trellis or other support. Read your seed packet to know when to harvest, and pick often, so the plants will keep producing. Fresh peas have the best taste, but you can freeze or dry them to use later.
Grow chillies for fiery flavour
You’ve heard that variety is the spice of life – well, so are jalapenos, habaneros and other spicy chillies. Sow seeds 6mm deep in punnets, gently pricking out the seedlings and transferring them to 100mm pots, giving them a sunny position. Plant them in the garden in a sheltered spot in full sun when they are 150mm high. The soil should be free-draining and enriched with either compost, aged cow manure or Yates Dynamic Lifter before planting.
Use scissors to snip off your chillies when they’re the size you want. Spicy chillies don’t just add heat and flavour to your foods. They also contain capsaicin, which is thought to act as an antioxidant to help fight infection and prevent some types of heart disease.
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