I WRITE this column in the hope that some of my early vegetable trials and results are of some benefit to those who grow their own crops at home.
As I’ve said in the past, I’m no expert in gardening and I’ve had just as many failures as you might have.
However, the main thing is that you try and learn from them and try to better the previous crop.
A good idea is to jot down in a notebook your trails, both successes and failure and do things different next time, particularly noting the weather conditions and when you planted or harvested.
Some crops have a particular time of planting and prefer a certain time of the year for seeding etc.
In my earlier gardening days, silver beet was a favourite but it was sometimes a real trial to keep the grasshoppers from enjoying them before we did.
Every time we went to pick some for dinner it was a battle to find enough leaves for a decent meal.
Growing both the coloured and green varieties give you a choice, while the kids like the coloured variety and they are very easy to grow, these can also be picked small as baby beet, so you have the choice of the larger green leaf for the main meal as well as the tiny size leaves for salads.
You only need four to six plants as they grow quit prolifically if conditions are suitable.
But how to stop the bugs without resorting to sprays that may be harmful?
There is a solution though not a very aesthetic one.
Buy a roll of frost prevention material, a bit like fine gauze, like a spider web like material, a material that is stronger than it looks and can be cut with scissors.
Drape the material over the plants and gently water to mould to the shape of the plants making sure that the material reaches around the plants on the ground and you have a barrier to protect against some of these predators.
If you’re in a windy area some small canes to keep the material on the plants might also help.
You may find other uses for this screening with other fruiting type trees that need pest protection, experiment, it’s easy to use and lasts a long while.
Silver beet can be grown in those small containers (troughs) that hook onto a fence and by growing vertically saving some room in your garden for other things.
These troughs can also house some of the smaller plans like onions, chives, lettuce, herbs and radish and single pots used for capsicum and beans.
Beauty of these containers is that they can be moved around for maximum sunlight.
But make sure that you buy the lighter pots, easier to move and if you don’t like the look of black pots which can be bought in multiple sizes, use your artistic talent and paint your pots with individual motives to brighten up your special patch.
The kids could paint these pots and years later you have a constant reminder of the kids when they were at home.
Till next time.