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Traditionally mid to late summer is the time to sow vegetable crops that enjoy growing in the intermediate to cool seasons.

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Broad Beans with white Primulas in frontBroad Beans with white Primulas in frontWant to save money on the family budget this year? Vegetable prices are very high right now, so why not try growing your own - it's really easy and nothing beats the flavour of home grown veggies. Also, if you practice organic gardening you will have peace of mind, knowing that your veggies are truly fresh and packed with vitamins and minerals, and do not contain unhealthy chemical residues.

Vegetables are more nutritious if they are consumed as fresh as possible and fruiting vegetables, like beans, tomatoes, peppers and sweet corn, have the best flavour if they are eaten as quickly as possible after harvesting. Growing your own veggies also gives you a wider choice, and unusual varieties are sometimes difficult to obtain in grocery stores, but are easily grown in the home garden.

Many vegetables like frilly lettuce and 'Bright Lights' spinach are also very ornamental and can be grown for their good looks as well as their produce.

When growing vegetables it is important to understand that there are cold season crops, warm season crops and intermediate crops.

The cold season crops grow best in temperatures between 10ºC and 20ºC. They can tolerate even colder conditions and are hardy to frost. Intermediate crops prefer temperatures between 15ºC and 25ºC. Warm season vegetables are tender to frost and should be grown in temperatures of 20ºC or more.

Sowing times may vary slightly from region to region, so check with your local garden centre for the exact sowing times and follow the sowing instructions on the back of your seed packet. Some vegetables in the intermediate group tend to 'bolt' to seed if sown out of season.

In subtropical climates many warm season plants are grown almost all year round but cool season crops might only have a very short growing season or none at all.  Modern hybrid seeds allow many crops to be grown out of season so check your varieties carefully before purchasing your selection.

In the winter rainfall region it is time to start sowing broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts into seedling trays. These will be ready to plant out in early autumn, when the weather cools down. It is the last month to sow bush beans and fast maturing squashes like baby marrows and patty pans.

In frosty regions this is the last month that you can sow bush beans. Start sowing broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts into seedling trays. These will be ready to plant out in early autumn, when the weather cools down.  You can also still sow lettuce, Swiss chard, carrots, leeks, turnips and parsnips.

In the subtropical regions you can start sowing peppers, eggplants and tomatoes in seedling trays now.

If you want a flourishing winter vegetable garden you really have to get cracking this month, so if you are not already a member, sign up today -  our veggie section has all the info you require to ‘grow your own’.

If you prefer an e-book, “Growing vegetables in South Africa” will get you off to a quick start. Read more here..


Broccoli is essentially cool season crop that requires cool, moist conditions to develop good heads, but new hybrid seed is available that will extend the growing season into summer, so choose your varieties carefully.

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Cauliflower is usually sown from mid-summer to autumn. There are early, mid-season and late varieties, so choose your cultivars carefully. The plants are sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.

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Brussels sprouts are a cool season crop and very hardy to cold and frost. Sow the seeds from December to February for transplanting in early autumn.

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Cabbages are good intermediate to cool season crops but new hybrid varieties allow you to sow them virtually throughout the year. May, June and July are not good months for sowing seeds in very cold regions.

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Broad beans remain a popular intermediate to cool season crop. Seeds can be sown from February to June, but are best sown in March and April in frost free regions, and in April and May in frosty regions.

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Turnips are best grown as a cool season crop but can be sown almost throughout the year in South Africa, with mid-winter being the worst time to sow, unless you live in subtropical areas. They can be harvested about 8 to 10 weeks after sowing.

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Beetroot is an intermediate to warm season crop but can be grown almost throughout the year in South Africa, with spring to autumn being the best time to sow in frosty regions. It is semi-hardy to frost but in cold regions winter sowings will grow slowly with poorer yields. Sow in autumn and winter in subtropical regions.

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Parsnips are a cool season crop that is best sown in February and March or in August and September. In hot regions sow the seed in late summer and autumn. In very cold regions do not sow seed in late autumn or winter as the plants will produce small roots and may run to seed prematurely.

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Endives are an intermediate to cool season crop that is similar in appearance to lettuce and  are grown in much the same way.

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Lettuce is an intermediate to cool season crop but varieties are available that can be sown almost all year round. June and July are the least favourable months to plant unless you live in subtropical regions.

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Celeriac is closely related to celery and is grown in the same way. It is a good intermediate to cool season crop that can be harvested at about four months.

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Celery is a good intermediate to cool season crop, but can be sow from August to February in South Africa. Seeds are sown from spring to autumn in temperate regions and in late summer and autumn in hot summer regions.

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Kohlrabi is essentially a cool season to intermediate crop but is most adaptable and grows in all the climatic zones of South Africa, and can be sown from August to April. It can be harvested after eight to ten weeks when the bulb is about the size of a tennis ball.

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Carrots are a good intermediate crop but modern hybrids allow them to be sown virtually throughout the year - in very hot summer regions they are best sown during late summer to early winter. May, June and July are not good months to sow carrots in very cold regions.

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If you want a flourishing winter vegetable garden you really have to get cracking this month, so if you are not already a member, sign up today -  our veggie section has all the info you require to ‘grow your own’.


If you prefer an e-book, “Growing vegetables in South Africa” will get you off to a quick start. Read more here..

 



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