Gardens - Fruit & Vegetable Gardening

Grow super foods

Judith Adam
Photography by

Grow nutrient-rich food plants to their full potential with this helpful guide.

Growing squash
Sun; plant in late spring, pick summer squash every week while still immature, harvest winter squash in late summer through early fall

Plant seeds outdoors in late spring when soil temperature is 15°C. The first flush of flowers on squash plants may not produce fruits, but subsequent flowers will bear squash. Look for compact ‘Sunburst’ yellow scallop squash, early dark green ‘Raven’ zucchini and ‘Autumn Delight’ acorn squash

Growing kale
Sun to part shade; plant seeds in spring, harvest all summer

Sow seeds three centimetres deep outdoors when soil temperature reaches 10°C. Harvest individual leaves from the base of kale plants when they’re 20 to 30 centimetres long. For a consistent supply of tender baby plants, sow seeds every two weeks and harvest immature plants. Look for tall, dark green ‘Winterbor’, colourful ‘Redbor’, ‘Cavolo Nero’ (syn. Black Magic), sweet ‘Red Russian’ and compact ‘Ripbor’.

Growing sweet potatoes
Sun; plant in late spring, harvest tubers in 70 to 90 days

Purchase rooted slips from a seed catalogue. Slips will arrive in wilted, dry or pale condition. Wrap the root ends of the slips in moistened paper towels or wet dish- cloths and set the roots in a plastic bag left open at the top. Keep the slips upright, warm and out of direct sunlight. Plant outdoors when soil temperature is 16°C, 10 centimetres deep in hilled soil amended with compost or composted manure. Dig the tubers in fall, when vines die down or are nipped by frost. Brush soil from harvested tubers and dry them indoors for a week, then store at room temper- ature in a dark place. Look for slips of ‘Beauregard’, ‘Covington’ and ‘Evangeline’.

Growing broccoli
Sun; plant in early spring, harvest in 50 to 75 days

Sow seeds outdoors in early spring when soil temperature reaches 10°C. Head-forming brassicas include rapini, cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Covering plants with spun fibre row covers will prevent damage from cabbage moths and their caterpillars. Look for ‘Goliath’ broccoli, ‘Graffiti’ purple cauliflower, ‘Integro’ red cabbage and compact heat-tolerant ‘Alcosa’ Savoy cabbage.

Growing tomatoes
Sun; plant in spring, harvest in 55 to 85 days; buy transplants for early summer

Dig holes deep enough to sink or slant a third to a half of the main stem below ground. If the plant is determinate, delivering all its fruit at once, allow side shoots in the leaf axils (suckers) to remain. For indeterminate plants that continue fruiting until frost, allow the two lowest suckers to remain, and remove all subsequent suckers through the summer. Look for determinate cold-tolerant ‘Polbig’ (55 days), indeterminate ‘Matina’ (65 days) and indeterminate beefsteak ‘Mountain Merit’ (69 days).

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