Gardening with John Gabriele

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

Gardeners tend to be an impatient bunch; however, the truth is, patience is a virtue and gardens are the one place that patience needs to be exercised, well almost.

There are crops that can be grown even in winter that will provide a quick return on investment.

One of the easiest and quickest are radishes which can be grown from seed and harvested in around four weeks. Radish can be grown virtually all year round in most climates, the trick is to pick radishes while they are young, so they remain sweet and do not develop that hot peppery taste.

Pick-and-come-again crops are another one for impatient gardeners. Kale the world's most popular super food is one of the easiest pick-and-come-again vegetables in the veggie patch. The Tuscan kale Cavolo Nero is one of the most popular and requires less space than other kale varieties. It has long slender, beautifully textured dark bluish green foliage.

Scotch kale is a popular curly leafed variety with green foliage but if you are looking something with a bit more colour try Red Russian. Red Russian has blue/green foliage with reddish, purple veins and is a sweeter tasting kale than other varieties.

Leafy greens are a delight to eat and grow with lettuce the pick of the crop. There are many different varieties of lettuce and these leafy plants are inspirational in any garden. Loose leaf lettuce are some of the most attractive with varieties such as oak leaf which come in a range of green and reddish purple colours. With colours such as these they deserve a place where they can be shown off.

Loose leaf lettuce varieties are also pick-and-come-again plants; picking the outer most leaves as they mature means a continuous supply for salads and sandwiches. Picking can begin as soon as leaves reach around 10cm in length.

Peas are the ultimate space saver in gardens, sugar snap, snow peas, dwarf and climbing peas can be planted in the cooler months in temperate zones and in cool climates planting in late winter or early spring is best. Peas can be grown on a simple trellis system, tripods, tepees or even along a fence.

Climbing peas take up very little vertical space in the garden leaving room for additional winter crops and harvesting can begin around the 11-week mark.

This story There's lots of food crops on offer for impatient gardeners first appeared on The Canberra Times.