Top 5 Beginner Crops

If you're just starting out in the garden you may be wondering what veges to plant first. We've put together our top five beginner crops that can be planted now. We also share tips for vege success, so you can gain confidence growing and then add more to your patch!

When planting, allow at least two hand spaces apart in the garden. The best times to plant are early in the morning or late in the day, so the plants aren’t exposed to the hot sun straight away, and be sure to always water plants well before and after planting.

Crops to start with

1. Rocket - a very quick-growing crop that is commonly used as a salad ingredient or blended into egg and cheese dishes. Rocket has a distinctive sharp, peppery flavour and is ready in a matter of weeks from planting. Ideal in pots and containers, it is also very easy to grow, making it ideal for beginner gardeners. Varieties include Annual Rocket and Perennial Rocket.

2. Lettuce - a quintessential salad crop, lettuces come in a wide range of colours, shapes and sizes so sometimes the most challenging part is deciding which ones to plant! There are two main types of lettuce: hearting lettuces which have a dense centre, and loose-leaf lettuces which have open leaves and no heart. Red, pink and even black-leaved varieties will create interest in your garden, and these types seem to perform best in the cooler months. Plant 20cm apart in the garden, or pack them a bit closer together in pots and pick leaf by leaf. Harvest 6-10 weeks.

3. Silverbeet - packed with both iron and flavour, silverbeet is a popular crop as it can be harvested perpetually – you can pick a few leaves at a time and it will regrow more from the base of the plant, extending the harvest and season. Silverbeet is quick-growing and hardy, it thrives in both warm and cooler climates. There are white, yellow, orange, pink and red stemmed varieties available - yellow being the sweetest.

4. Spinach - a powerhouse of a vegetable packed with nutrients and vitamins. Spinach is a fast growing but short lived crop that is very easy to grow, and is happy in the garden or in a container. When harvested frequently, spinach can continue cropping for a period of month. Tastes good raw, cooked or added to savoury dishes to muffins to quiches, salads, curries and stir-fries.

5. Radish - crunchy colourful and ready to harvest a month or so after sowing, this easy to grow crop flourishes with only the simplest of care. Radishes come in a range of colours, shapes, sizes and flavours and they are increasingly being used in cooking and preserving.

If you're keen to try growing herbs for an extra flavour punch to your meal, start with thyme, oregano and parsley.

Planting tips

  • Dig in Tui Sheep Pellets and add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix before planting. It contains the right blend of nutrients to provide your veges with the best possible start and sustained growth throughout the season.
  • If planting in pots and containers, fill with Tui Vegetable Mix before planting.
  • Apply Tui Organic Seaweed Plant Tonic at least once a month to promote healthy plant and root growth to make plants more resilient to common problems including: frost, heat, pests and diseases.

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Top 5 Beginner Crops Comments

  • How do I stop white butter fly grubs from eating all my greens.have tried derris dust?

    Janis

  • Hi Janis, white cabbage butterfly caterpillars are a nuisance and common in autumn, however they will start to disappear soon as the weather cools. Use a layer of fine netting to stop white cabbage butterfly laying their eggs on your plants. If infestations are small, try removing caterpillars individually and squashing. For larger infestations check at your local garden centre for a spray. ^Tui Team

    jenna

  • Plant garlic to ward off white butterflies, or spray the soil with garlic spray.

    Marie Millar

  • Great tip, thanks Marie! ^Tui Team

    jenna