It's time to plant any frost-tender seedlings you have been nurturing of beans, capsicum, chilli, cucumber, eggplant, corn, pumpkins, squash including zucchini and, of course, tomatoes.
Plant tomatoes into compost rich soil, sowing your seedlings deep enough so the lowest leaves are below ground level - they will form extra roots along the stem giving plants more access to water and nutrients. Mulch with straw or lucerne.
Check the weather forecast regularly and be prepared to cover seedlings if a late frost is predicted over the next couple of weeks.
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Beans, except for Broad Beans, are warm season crops and frost tender.
There are many varieties of beans available, for every purpose. They can be eaten fresh as green tender pods, freshly shelled or dried for extra-long storage. Dried beans store well without refrigeration, sometimes for years. It can be difficult to know which types to plant due to the wide variety of names used to describe them. runner beans, climbing beans, pole beans, dwarf beans, bush beans, green beans and French beans are just a few names used.
There are two main categories of beans - dwarf or bush beans and climbing beans. Dwarf beans grow to a height of around 30 cm. Climbing beans need a trellis or support structure to grow on as they will easily reach 2 metres or more, and generally produce more beans than the dwarf varieties.
Among these two main types, beans also differ in their shape and structure, such as string, kidney or snap, and the seeds come in an amazing range of colours.
Beans can be harvested as immature pods when the immature seeds and the pod are eaten. They can also be harvested as mature pods with the bean seeds inside the pods cooked whole or dried for storage and the tough and inedible pods removed and composted.
All beans like full sun and a deep, well-drained, slightly alkaline soil enriched with decomposed organic matter and low-nitrogen fertilisers such as sheep, cow or well-rotted horse manure.
Plant dwarf varieties 20-30cm apart in staggered double rows, and climbers 30 cm apart.
Earth up the soil around the stems of dwarf seedlings and mulch with dry straw to suppress weeds, keep in moisture and keep the pods off the soil. Give climbers a strong support such as a tripod of stakes, to climb up.
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