Rob sows root crops, Megan cooks with pears

  • Swedes, turnips and radishes are all part of the brassica family, so crop rotation is really important. Brassicas are prone to club root disease, so ideally a brassica shouldn’t be planted in soil which has had other brassicas grown in it within the last two years.
  • Brassicas like alkaline conditions with a pH of around 6.5, so we recommend applying garden lime to a bed you’re sowing or planting them in. We’re sowing these crops in a bed which has had solanums in it previously and solanums like it slightly acidic, so we definitely need to correct for this. Alkalinity also helps prevent the spread of club root.
  • Next we add rock dust which is high in phosphorus and good for root crops. Rock dust also has 70 vitamins and minerals so it makes our crop nutrient-dense.
  • Using a rototiller or rake, work the fertilisers into the soil. It’s important for the direct sowing of seeds and for root crops that soil is light and friable.
  • Make shallow trenches for the seeds with the rake. We put swedes in the centre as they’re a larger crop and take longer to mature than turnips and radishes. Sow evenly and not too thickly, because thinning does disturb the roots of the plants. Lightly smooth the soil over the seeds. You don’t want the seeds too deep in the soil.
  • There’s no need to water the seeds in, but we will hoop and net this bed, so that birds don’t disturb it.
  • Autumn is a great time to sow these crops as they like a constantly moist soil. They should germinate in 5-8 days. The great thing about these crops is they can stay in the ground till you’re ready to use them.
Megan makes Pear and Feijoa Fruit Crumble


Camera: Davian Lorson
Editor: Adam Prest