Grow a Salad Garden

Summer is the time for scrumptious salads and al fresco dining. Get your garden ready now so that you can make your own summer salads from the freshest ingredients, right there in your backyard.

Let there be lettuce!

The foundation of any salad, lettuce can also be a cornerstone crop in your vegetable garden. While you might have to wait a while for other vege seeds to germinate, lettuces and spinach have short growing times and can be planted and harvested in just a few weeks. Plant lettuces at fortnightly intervals to ensure you’ve always got some ready to pick. Ensure your spot has good drainage and use bait or traps to ward off slugs and snails who tend to think your lettuce plants are just as tasty as we do!

Happy to nestle in a pre-prepared garden bed, or be planted in a range of containers, lettuce and spinach thrive when not in full sun, so make sure they’re in a spot that gets some shade during the warmer months. A good trick is to plant in between taller growing rows of vegetables, like Broccoli, that way they get that little bit of extra shade. Consider their position too so they’re in easy picking distance from the kitchen. We love the fact that container planting means that you can move your lettuce plants around – even taking one down to the bach or campground to enable you to easily and conveniently pick just what you need for the day’s meals.

Create a rainbow on your plate with these good beginner varieties – or have fun choosing your favourites.



  • Buttercrunch – with its soft green leaves, this one’s a goodie for growing at all times of the year.
  • Cos lettuce – crisp and upright, these lettuces can be planted close together and are a crowd pleaser in salads.

Taste these tomatoes!

Whether perched on top of a piece of crunchy bruschetta, oven roasted and drizzled with olive oil, or diced into a salad, tomatoes are one of this season’s tastiest and versatile fruits!

There are so many wonderful varieties of tomatoes to choose from and one that we love is the Tasty Tom tomato type. A specialty breed found over 90 years ago, Tasty Tom tomatoes may be small but they have a unique and special flavour. Aromatic and sweet, these tomatoes taste just like the ones you would have once picked from Grandma’s garden… and now you can again!

Tomatoes tend to need three months of warm, frost-free weather to fruit well, so late spring (often around Labour weekend) is a good time to get these beauties into your garden. Find a spot with plenty of sunshine and without too much wind. Pick a place in the garden close to a wall or fence for shelter, or plant into containers so they can be moved around if any wild wind patterns strike.

Prepare your soul with Tui Tomato Mix, then plant your seedlings at least 40cm apart, with soil coming 2cm further up the stems than it was in the pots. Unless you’re using dwarf varieties, consider stakes or overhead wires with strings for your crops to climb. tomatoresizeTomato plants grow quickly so tend to be both hungry and thirsty. Water them often throughout the season, add mulch to conserve moisture and add a liquid feed of a balanced fertiliser, like Yates Thrive Natural Seaweed Tonic, each fortnight for best results.

Picking tip: pick your fruit when they are still firm and before they’re fully coloured so that they keep longer. This timing also frees the plant up to get back to the business of producing more fruit!

Summer seems better with strawberries!

Another simply delicious addition to salads and desserts is fresh strawberries and there’s nothing better than picking your own when they are at their most ripe and juicy. Kids love looking after their little strawberry patch, so get them involved with these easy-to-grow garden gems. Strawberries grow well in pots, containers, hanging baskets, or the garden bed – anywhere really, as long as they get lots of sun throughout the day and are in soul with good drainage.stawberries

Top tips for strawberries

  • A layer of pea straw can help to conserve soil moisture, suppress weeds and keep the fruit clean and off the soil.
  • To encourage the plant to grow before it starts producing fruit (which will mean more fruit later) pinch off the first set of flowers that appear, so the plant puts those initial resources into getting bigger first. A big healthy plant will reward you with lots more berries.
  • Ensure you’ve got enough to go around! We recommend at least four plants for each person in your household, to give you enough berries for everyone to share at harvest time.

Crisp Capsicum

Growing capsicum is ideal in warm areas. A popular vegetable to grow, capsicum are relatively quick in producing crops and don’t require any special care. They provide a rainbow of colours in your garden and have mild tasting fruit that becomes sweeter as it ripens.

Capsicums are grown in the same way as their close relatives, tomatoes. They need full sun, rich, well drained soil and regular fertilising. Capsicums will happily survive in containers if there is at least 25 cm of soil.

Find the sunniest spot that your garden will allow, as that is the key to growing capsicum. They are frost-tender, so in cold areas, it’s best to wait until November to plant outdoors.

If you’re growing from seed, raise under glass, as they need high temperatures to germinate. Sow in trays in Spring and transplant in to the garden once the plant is 5cm tall and the soil has warmed.

Make sure that your soil is rich, with plenty of compost added.

Feed your capsicums regularly and keep the soil moist throughout the growing season.

Capsicums are usually self supporting, but heavy crops or plants in wind prone areas may require some support. Be careful when hammering in stakes – keep them well outside the root area.

As soon as flowers start to open, give plants at least half a watering can of liquid seaweed or worm juice every two weeks.

Good ventilation, removal of any damaged foliage on a dry day and regular and even watering are all important factors in producing a good haul of healthy fruits.