At this time of year, when it is sometimes not very inviting outside, it can be tempting to let the vegie garden do its own thing for a few weeks.
However, there are a few vegies that will still germinate and grow, albeit slowly, depending on your soil temperatures.
Broccoli, kale, lettuce, broad beans, peas and onions will all germinate at temperatures as low as 10 degrees and can also be sown now, although they will germinate more slowly than when the soil is warmer.
Lettuce is traditionally a cool season vegie, which is generally planted in cooler weather. However, there are so many varieties of lettuce available that there is at least one that is suitable for planting at any time of the year.
Lettuce needs a well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter. New seedlings benefit from an application of a seaweed solution, to encourage strong root growth, and some mulch.
Lettuces produce a lot of leaves per plant and are heavy feeders which need to be grown quickly for best flavour and appearance. Compost and manures are best to achieve this.
Lettuces also need frequent watering, especially in warmer and/or windy weather.
If the soil gets too dry, and growth is significantly slowed, you risk your lettuces tasting bitter or possibly running to seed before you have been able to harvest them. Keep the area well mulched and test soil moisture regularly.
Read more about gardening:
Snails and slugs are the main pests of lettuce; earwigs to a lesser extent. There are a range of options to deter these pests, such as beer traps, spreading crushed eggshells, lime, wood ash, wood shavings, sawdust or coffee grounds, or putting strips of copper foil around top of pots or raised garden beds.
You don't need to wait until your lettuces are fully developed; you can start harvesting the outer leaves when the plants are 6-8 weeks old (sooner in warmer weather). Just take as many leaves as you need for your next meal and the plants will continue to grow and feed you for a few months.
It is worth trying a variety of lettuces. Most nurseries sell a lettuce mix as well as punnets of a particular type.
Also investigate what seeds are available as this will more give you even more variety of colour, flavour and growing habits - just ask at your local nursery.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.