Archive for the ‘Vegetables’ Category

May in the vegetable garden

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Cool nights and mornings, days less than 30 OC and a little bit of rain makes the perfect recipe for growing vegetables in the Wet Tropics. My vegetable garden is ‘powering’: tomatoes, eggplant, beans, cucumbers, cabbage and lettuce are all bearing fruit. I spend around an hour in the vegetable garden every afternoon, which includes harvesting time and the effort results in a constant supply of food at little to no cost.

Vegetable garden

Vegetable garden

Beneficial creatures are necessary in a well-balanced garden.  These helpfuls include praying mantis, dragon flies, lady-bird beetles, Willy wagtails as well as owls, hawks and pythons to control mice.  If you do not use harsh insecticides these creatures will arrive naturally.

There are times though when one species of pest will become a problem. A spray made by mixing a teaspoon each of high phosphorus detergent and pure citronella oil to a litre of water will control most insects and mites. You can vary the oils by adding eucalyptus occasionally. Fungal problems can mostly be prevented by spraying plants monthly with a mix of one teaspoon each of seaweed and tea-tree oil added to one litre of water.

Soil preparation is essential and that is when compost is essential. Making your own compost is simple and it is an immediate solution to disposing of household waste. To every square metre of new vegetable garden soil, add at least two large buckets of decomposed compost and two buckets of manures. Cover with a dusting of one cup of dolomite and ½ cup of sulphate of potash and hoe it into the soil.  You can start planting straight away.

Snowpeas (climbing) seed should be planted against a strong, tall trellis. This plant is best grown from seed and they germinate within ten days. Every month add enriched compost to the root zone of the peas, pile up around the stems and cover any exposed roots. Snowpeas ‘mammoth melting’ is a vigorous climber (over 2 m) and a heavy cropper of sweet, delicious tender flat pods (max. length 10 cm). You can use the pods fresh in salads or quickly fried in stir fries.

Broccoli needs a rich soil and must be planted in full sun without competition from other vegetables. Firstly dig small holes 30 cm apart and fill them with water.  When the water has drained, plant one seedling per hole and gently firm the soil around the small plants. Broccoli will produce one main flower head in about fifty days from planting.  They will then continue to produce side shoots for many weeks, these often sold as broccoletti in shops. Broccoli Albert is a variety that produces large dark green flower heads followed by lots of side shots over many weeks.

The best vegetables to plant now are beans, beetroot, all cabbage varieties, capsicum, carrots, corn, cucumber, eggplant, leek, lettuce, spring onion, peas, pumpkin, radish, silverbeet and tomatoes.

April in the vegetable garden

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

April is the month to get serious about planting the vegetable garden. At this time of year we can grow tomatoes, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, beetroot and French beans.  Isn’t it great!

Good drainage is the main requirement for a vegetable garden, followed closely by a site that has at least five hours sunlight every day. The garden needs to be away from trees as tree roots can rob the soil and therefore plants of essential nutrients.

Beans growing

Beans growing

Vertical growing frames are necessary for many species including tomatoes, cucumbers, climbing beans and peas.  Erect a two metre high trellis strung with dog mesh, as growing frames or trellis keep the plants off the ground and give easy access to fruit.

Tomatoes: Manapal, FI hybrid Zola, Tropic, Roma and cherry varieties are disease resistant and can be planted now. Plant the tomatoes in a different bed every year otherwise tomato-specific diseases will build up in the soil. Cabbages and sugarloaf can be planted in April, but vigilant control of grasshoppers and cabbage moth caterpillars will be necessary. Sugarloaf cabbage mature in two months but will need the cool nights of early winter to firm up their hearts.

Chinese cabbage Pok Choi has dark green leaves and is early maturing, at around five weeks from planting. Pok Choi is suited to warmer areas and does not run to seed like some of the other Chinese cabbages such as pak choi and bok choi. Plant these varities in winter.

Lettuce – loose leafed types are best for April planting: try Lollo Rosso, oak leaf (Darwin) and Italian. Endive and radicchio can be planted now and with regular side dressings of compost will supply green leaves for the next six months.

Carrot seed can be planted now in a well dug garden bed containing old manures and course sand. ‘All seasons’ is a popular variety and is virus resistant. ‘Topweight’ is resistant to pests and carrot virus. Sprinkle the seed in shallow rows and cover with sand. Seed will germinate in about ten days and will take three months to mature. Side dress the plants with compost regularly.

Beetroot is best planted by seed directly into the garden. Choose a cool area and plant the seed in rows and cover with compost. Beetroot must be kept free of weeds and benefits from weekly foliar fertiliser applications such as fish & kelp.

Beans ‘Redland Pioneer’ are an old-style stringless bean with a very good flavour. They perform in hot weather and are a good variety to plant early in the season. Plant from seed directly into a raised garden bed along side a high trellis.

Manapal tomato

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

The seed of the famous Manapal tomato is available now, for the first time in many years. This is great news as  Manapal is an old variety of tomato that is self pollinating and tolerant to wilt and most other tomato diseases.

Tomato Manapal bears large round fruit that has a deep red colour, a thick wall and firm skin.  The fruit keeps well once picked and has an outstanding flavour.

Manapal tomato

Manapal tomato

Manapal require a strong trellis preferably made from dog mesh run about two metres high.  The vegetable garden bed should be in full sun, raised to prevent water logging and placed away from trees to avoid tree root invasion.

The optimum soil for growing Manapal should be high in organic matter and measure neutral pH.  North Queensland’s soils are mostly acidic and an addition of dolomite (about one cup per square metre) to the bed will adjust the soil pH before planting.

Sprinkle dried egg shells around seedlings after planting to discourage cutworm. Long term control of cutworm using traps is sometimes necessary.

Blossom end rot, a disease of tomatoes, is caused by a lack of calcium in the growing medium.  Calcium deficiency is common in soils in the Wet Tropics, particularly at the end of the wet season.  Adding dolomite, one cup per square metre, to the soil a week before planting will correct calcium deficiency.

Rotate tomato plants with beans, cabbages or members of the onion family (i.e. chives, shallots). Rotating crops avoids the build up of diseases that are specific to that crop. Remember wilt-tolerant varieties are only tolerant to wilt, not resistant, and will only grow in soils with a low wilt virus load. Soils improved with enriched compost will have lower wilt virus numbers due to the high levels of mixed microbial populations.

Water tomato plants everyday early in the morning.  A poly-pipe with drippers at each tomato plant is very economical on water. Avoid watering the foliage of tomato plants.

As the tomatoes grow, regularly hill up around the plants with an enriched compost containing sulphate of potash.  Potash improves the strength of the plants and enhances disease resistance. Remove the lower leaves and laterals on all plants to keep the foliage clear of the garden soil.

Tomato bud worm burrows into the fruit as they swell.  The mother moth lays her eggs on the fruit and when the small caterpillars hatch, they enter the tomato to feed and grow.  A light spray of 2 mL of PURE citronella oil to one litre of water, sprayed once a week on the fruit will deter the moth. Alternatively, derris dust or pyrethrum spray will kill the small caterpillars before they can enter the fruit. Hang a fruit fly wick in the vegetable garden to capture fruit flies.

Parsley, basil, Chinese cabbage and marigolds are companion plants for the tomato and should be planted in the same bed for mutual benefit.  The best time to grow tomatoes in coastal north Queensland is between March and November.

March in the vegetable garden

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Although March is still a very hot and wet month in FNQ, the nights are a little cooler and the humidity is slowly dropping. It is time to start planting the winter vegetable garden.

Essential management tools to get the vegetable garden started early in the season are:

1. Build the garden beds up high to improve drainage.

2. String some shade-mesh above the plantings to protect the young seedlings from the extreme midday heat.

3. Mulch the garden to prevent soil-splash onto seedlings.

Tomatoes: ‘Cherry’, F1 hybrid ‘Zola’ and ‘Roma’ tomatoes can be planted now. It is important that you rotate the tomatoes plantings with preferably a member of the cabbage family. Brassica contain sulphur in their root systems and that chemical acts as a natural soil fumigant. You can expect to see the tomatoes grow rapidly in the autumn heat so it is necessary to provide a strong trellis to support the foliage.  This is best made from dog-wire. Remove all lower leaves on the tomato plants as they grow and try to maintain one strong trunk to support the plants.

Tatsoi is the best of the Chinese cabbages to plant early. It is relatively resistant to pests and the sweet leaves can be removed as needed.

Pak Choi can prematurely seed in high humidity, so pick summer crops when the plants are small. Interplant with shallots to deter grasshoppers and if you have citronella or lemon grass, use the grass tops to mulch around the Chinese cabbage plants.  This will help with many insect pest problems.

Capsicum ‘long sweet yellow’ and sweet chillies can be planted in compost enriched soil.  Again, rotate these plants with Chinese cabbage.

Eggplant’ little fingers’ and ‘long purple’ can be planted into compost-enriched, raised garden beds. Eggplant, capsicum and tomatoes are all members of the deadly nightshade family and must be rotated with legumes like beans and brassica like Chinese cabbage.

Lettuce will need protection from the March heat and may go to seed if not harvested early. Plant seedlings in potash enriched soil and mulch heavily around the plants to prevent soil splash.

For a flower garden, plant marigolds, dianthus and Zinnia linearis.

Planting vegetables from seed

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Can you feel that urge to start planting a vegetable garden?  By starting early you can plant from seed and save on the more expensive punnets of seedlings.  If your garden is all prepared as discussed in last months ‘Growing,’ then you will be ready to start planting.

Old traditional open pollinated vegetable seeds are, in many cases, hardy and easier to grow than the hybrid varieties; the resulting vegetable is believed to be more nutritious and better tasting as well.  Eden Seeds, the main distributor of open pollinated seeds, collects traditional Australian varieties of vegetable seeds from organically and bio-dynamically grown plants.

Blue Lake climbing bean does well in warm areas.  Blue Lake is a green, fleshy, stringless bean which is tender when mature. It is heavy bearing with rounded pods, 14-17 cm long. Climbing beans use the vertical space in the garden and should be annually rotated with tomatoes. Pop bean seeds in a furrow along the garden fence. They germinate in a couple of days and you will harvest beans in 60 days.

The Western Red Carrot is long tapered to 25 cm, is very smooth and deep orange in colour. Additionally it is disease resistant. Sprinkle seeds in shallow furrows in a deeply dug bed before covering the seed with sand. Carrot seed germinates in about seven days. Thin seedlings when they are 5 cm tall.  Side dress with compost and water the plants with a nutrient tea every week to improve growth of the carrot and plant vigor.

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

Wong Bok cabbage has crumpled light green leaves with a delicate mild mustard taste. Wong Bok seeds germinate quickly and require a rich fertile soil. Caterpillars and grasshoppers need to be controlled on these plants so lightly sprinkle cabbages with pyrethrum or derris dust on a weekly basis. Mulch around the plants to avoid soil splash contaminating the heart of the cabbage.

Sweet corn seeds need to be sown in blocks to improve pollination. Hawaiian sweet corn has medium-sized cobs with orange to yellow kernels, soft skin, and is sweet eating. You will get two cobs per 1.8 m tall plant.  Sow the seed in deep furrows. However when corn plants are 30 cm high, build the soil up around the base of the plants and side dress with manure.  When plants are 60 cm tall, pile the soil again around all plants. This will create furrows between the rows, which can be filled with water every morning.  Side dress with manure.  Corn cobs will be ready to harvest in about 60 days.

Cucumber is another vegetable that can use the vertical space in the garden.  Green gem is an old variety that performs well in hot climates and produces a long 25 cm fruit.  Green gem is also heavy yielding and resistant to mildew. Sow four seeds in each mound along a fence and side-dress with a complete fertiliser (like Organic Extra) every four weeks.

Tomato Tropic is disease hardy and has resistance to wilt. Tropic bears round, 10 cm, firm, red fruit that are rich in flavour and the plant bears for a long period. Build the tomato bed alongside a tall trellis or fence of dog wire.  Enrich the soil with sulphate of potash and organic matter high in phosphorus. Tomato seeds germinate in about 10 days. Avoid overhead watering to reduce leaf disease.

If you wish to have a regular supply of vegetables, plant small numbers of each variety every two or three weeks. A few minutes spent on a garden layout makes it easy to plan for the season and reduces oversupply.


Saturday, November 13th, 2010

It only takes a day of sunshine to forget the endless days of drizzle that have occurred this year. Gardening in the Wet Tropics sure has its challenges. Choosing the right varieties of plants to grow is hugely important in any area however more so in wet, humid weather. The pumpkin is easy to grow all year round in the Wet Tropics. The pumpkin is an important food both nutritionally and medicinally, it tastes good and is versatile to prepare. BUT, it is important to select disease-resistance varieties when the weather is damp. The Jap pumpkin is the best variety to select in wet conditions. The Jap pumpkin is resistant to powdery mildew and rot. In the monsoon season it is advisable to place an upturned plate under the swelling pumpkin fruit for the wet months of ripening. Jarrahdale has a thin grey skin and is easy to cut and peel, but the thin skin can be a problem and rot in wet weather. Therefore, grow this variety in dry weather. The flesh is deep orange and sweet, and when the skin is undamaged it will keep for six months or more. Queensland blue is a large pumpkin and the best keeper overall. It does need cool dry weather though so plant in winter. Butternut is a vigorous vine that produces masses of small nutty flavoured pear-shaped fruit just the right size for a four-person meal.  Most of the fruit is flesh with very little seed cavity. Although the pumpkin vine takes up a large growing area, there generally is always a corner of the backyard big enough for one or two vines.

Female Pumpkin Flower.

Female Pumpkin Flower.

Plant several seeds in a mound made from compost and well-decayed animal manure.  The seed should germinate within a week if no pests have damaged or removed the seed. When the vine is fully grown and starts to develop male flowers pinch out the ends of each runner to induce fertile female flowers.  Hand pollination of flowers may be necessary and it is best carried out early in the morning when the pollen is fresh and dry. To improve the flavour of the fruit, foliar fertilise the vine with fish and seaweed every few weeks and side-dress the main root zone with additional compost. Natural healers believe that pumpkin seed can prevent prostrate problems in men. Pumpkin seed is high in zinc and contains magnesium, with both of these elements being effective in the treatment of many ailments including gout.  The deep orange fruit of pumpkin is also high in beta-carotene, important in the prevention of cancer.


Oil a square pie dish and line with sliced rye bread, crust removed.  Spray or brush the top of the bread with olive oil.  This is a quick and easy pastry substitute.

Cut a clean ripe pumpkin into quarters, the flesh should be firm and bright orange.  Leave the skin, seed and pulp intact and steam for twenty minutes.

Cool to room temperature, remove the steamed seed and set aside. Remove the skin from the pumpkin and place 3 cups of the pumpkin pulp into a basin.  Mash the pumpkin and add 2 tablespoons of warm butter, 2 eggs, 1 tablespoon of molasses, ½ cup of logical sugar, 1 tablespoon of cornflour, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves.  Also add 1 teaspoon of grated orange rind, same of finely grated fresh ginger and a pinch of salt.  Mix all ingredients thoroughly before folding in 250 mL of cream.

Spoon into the pie shell and bake in a moderate oven for an hour.  Remove from the oven and decorate the top of the pie with the steamed pumpkin seed.

July Vegetable Garden

Saturday, July 24th, 2010

A little bit of rain and lots of hot sun. Whoever would think it was mid winter? In spite of the weather my vegetable garden is powering and I am picking broccoli, tomatoes, snow peas, cabbage, zucchini, silver beet, lettuce and more. At this time of the year it is easy to grow a wide range of vegetables. Tomatoes need to be mulched, monthly, with dolomite enriched compost; never dig or poke stakes around tomato plants as this will damage roots and allow wilt virus to infect the plants. For this reason tomatoes grow best on a trellis.  Removing most of the leaves from the tomato plant will prevent rust and allow the plant to put all its energy into growing fruit. Spray the fruit every week with half a teaspoon of pure citronella oil to one litre of water when fruit are pea size through to maturity to deter bud worm. Pure citronella oil is available from the chemist.



Rotate small plantings every month of lettuce and Chinese cabbage to keep a steady supply of green vegetables for the kitchen. Keep an eye out for the cabbage moth. Interplanting leeks or spring onions with Chinese cabbage will deter the moth. Broccoli, English cabbage and beetroot are also host to the white cabbage moth. At the first sign of the moth spray the leaves and the heart of the cabbage.  Otherwise spray every few weeks with a pyrethrum or citronella spray. Silverbeet must be harvested every few days. Be careful to twist the leaf cleanly away from the stalk as broken pieces of leaf can cause fungal problem in the stalk. Hill up around silver beet with compost every few weeks and keep an eye out for caterpillars. If necessary spray the whole plant with pyrethrum or citronella oil. Snow peas will benefit from hilling up around the roots with a mulch of compost and spray the foliage weekly with a compost tea or a seaweed solution. This will promote flowering and fruit production. Zucchinis and pumpkin will most probably need to be pollinated for fruit to set. Rub the pollen of the male flower {flower without fruit}, onto the female flower early in the morning. Powdery mildew can be a problem following showery weather. So remove any affected leaves if this occurs. Plant now tomatoes, beans, cabbage, broccoli, snow peas, silver beet, lettuce, Chinese cabbage, celery, beetroot, cauliflower, cucumber, eggplant, potatoes and leeks. With this unseasonal warm weather we can expect to see the fruit spotting bug and hawk moth active early. Spray fruit with diluted citronella or eucalyptus oil every few weeks to protect it from damage. Never water the vegetable garden in the late afternoon: wet leaves at night will almost certainty become infected with powdery mildew. Vegetable plants need water early in the morning to set them up to face the heat of the day.

June in the Vegetable Garden

Thursday, June 17th, 2010

June is the first month of winter and the start of the serious vegetable growing season in north Queensland.  Broccoli and cauliflower have a small climate window for growing in the wet tropics and June is the best month to get them started.  Broccoli and cauliflower need to flower [the flower is the part we eat] during the coolest and driest months July and August. As seedlings take two months to flower in north Queensland, we must plant now, otherwise once the strength of the sun increases the flower heads will burn.  You can protect the flower from sunburn by covering the head of the plant with reflective paper like alfoil but once the daytime temperatures are over 29degrees you have lost the battle and the plants will burn. Providing there is good drainage in the garden bed, rain does not affect collards in their early stage i.e. before flowering, so they can be planted in late April or anytime in May however with early plantings insect control will have to be persistently maintained; insects like the cabbage month are very active during autumn. Regular foliar fertilizing with fish and seaweed will promote strong, healthy growth and helps to repel insects.



Broccoli has the advantage that once the large central flower has been harvested the plant will produce small, sun hardy side shoots for many months, this means that one planting of broccoli is all that is needed to produce this vegetable for the growing season. Carrots need cool weather to develop and June is the month to plant carrots so remember to rotate carrot plantings with Chinese cabbage or lettuce to avoid disease build-up in the soil. Carrots need well drained, deep, friable soil that has been rested since the last fertiliser application.  Plant carrot seeds direct into the ground in shallow furrows and cover with sand, keep the soil moist and the seed should germinate within ten days, thin seedlings out to 20mm apart around the fourth week.  Regular applications of compost tea watered into the soil every five days will improve the growth of the plants, the flavour and size of the carrots. Beetroot is best planted from seed direct into the garden. Enrich the soil with compost and dust with lime as beetroot like a pH of about 6. The large seeds are easy to handle and should be spaced about 30cm apart, in rows. Beetroot leaves can be used as a substitute for spinach and like spinach grasshoppers and caterpillars enjoy eating the young leaves. Fish and seaweed foliar fertilizer will deter grasshoppers but sometimes you need to use pyrethrum or derris dust on a weekly basis to protect the leaves. Other vegetables to plant this month are celery, silver beet, radish, zucchini, cucumber, beans, snow peas, tomatoes, Asian cabbage, sugarloaf and ball head cabbage, eggplant, capsicum, corn, leeks, lettuce and pumpkin. This week in my vegetable garden I am harvesting, pak choi, choko, beans, zucchini, cucumber and pumpkin. In the orchard the citrus is hanging on and lots of pummelo are ready now, the breadfruit, sour sop and dragon fruit are almost finished for the year but soon I will be harvesting star apples, Abiu and black sapote. The old favourites pawpaw and sugar banana are in full production; let’s hope for fine, cool winter weather.

May Vegetable Garden Planting Guide

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Can you believe it? Only two fine days in April? In spite of the weather it is amazing to see the resilience of some vegetables. I have been eating Dwarf French beans, pak choi and tat soi for the last month and the new choko vine is covered in fruit. A few degrees less in temperature and you can grow a much wider range of foods such as peas, carrots, tomatoes, capsicum and lettuce.

Success in growing vegetables is no different to anything else in life; it’s all about preparation. Before planting seed or seedlings add compost, manure and dolomite to the garden bed and after planting cover the soil with mulch.

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden

Legumes: Beans and peas, need a free draining soil. Mound enriched soil up against a two metre high trellis. Plant peas and bean seeds roughly 6 cm apart and cover with 2 cm of soil. To deter cutworm sprinkle dried crushed eggshells on top of the bed. Cover the soil  very lightly with hay to prevent erosion. Bean and pea seeds should be up in five days.

Carrots: Prepare the carrot bed by adding 25% of soil volume of river sand and ensure the soil is friable. Make shallow furrows 30 cm apart and lightly sprinkle seed in the furrows.  Cover  the seed with more sandy mix and seed should germinate within ten days.

Tomatoes: Plant tomato seedlings against the trellis in the soil from last years beans. Hill up around the new tomato plants. Cabbage and broccoli seedlings can be planted in front of the tomatoes, they will benefit the tomato plants by inhibiting soil borne disease; these plants contain sulphur in their roots; a natural fungcide.

Capsicums & eggplants: Prepare the bed for capsicums and eggplant with additional manure as these plants are gross feeders especially liking large quantities of nitrogen which is found in animal manure. Each seedling should be supported with a stake to hold the plants when they are weighted down with fruit.

Lettuce: Enrich the soil of the lettuce bed with sulphate of potash and mulch around the lettuce seedlings with hay to prevent soil splash and leaf rot.

Watering the vegetables early in the morning provides plants with moisture for the warmth of the day.

Beans Are Easy to Grow

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

At this time of the year you can plant a wide range of beans however the most important requirements are full sun, good drainage and a strong trellis to hold the beans. Build the trellis with dog wire as it is strong and makes it so easy to harvest the beans; you can put your hand through the trellis and pull the beans from either side.

What a variety to choose from; winged bean, snake beans, dwarf bush beans, climbing beans, New Guinea beans, French beans; whatever you try they are fairly easy to grow and highly nutritious.


Good drainage is essential for all beans because beans will not tolerate wet or heavy soils. Most beans like a slightly acidic soil with a pH of about 5.5. Added compost or manure must be well broken down as too much nitrogen from the manure will promote leaf growth at the expense of fruit production.


Redland pioneer is tolerant of heat and is the best of the traditional beans for early planting. Cherokee yellow wax, (a stringless butter bean) is a vigorous, prolific producer over a long season. Climbing princess is also high yielding over a long period, and also has a superb taste and is stringless. Children love the purple king bean which turns green when cooked. This variety is a prolific producer over the full season. 


Plant bean seed direct into raised garden beds to a depth of two centimetres and six centimetres apart. Water seed with a seaweed fertilizer on planting and immediately after seedlings emerge; to improve the vigour of the plants.


Spray bean plants with a compost tea or a fish and seaweed fertilizer on a weekly basis; i.e.healthy plants resist pests. Side dress bean plants with enriched compost every three weeks and loosely mulch around the plants to prevent leaching of nutrients in rain events.


Cut worm can damage small seedlings so set cut worm traps for monitoring. Dried crushed egg shells spread around seedlings will deter cutworm. Cut worms are active at night and hide during the day, sheets of damp newspaper can trap cutworm but these must be inspected every morning.

Bean fly can also be a problem in some years but regular applications of fish oil will repel the adult fly from laying eggs on leaves. The bean fly eggs hatch into small maggots that tunnel into the stems of the plant and cause swollen and cracked stems which often wilt and die. 

Rust in the form of yellowish orange pustules on the leaves can be a problem in damp weather. Mancozeb or wettable sulphur will control rust however regular applications of fish and seaweed foliar fertilizer will protect the bean plant from fungal problems.


Dwarf French beans, in warm sunny weather can be ready to harvest in thirty to forty days from seed. Beans are highly productive vegetables and daily harvesting will produce sweet, crisp beans over an extended period. Most climbing beans will be ready to harvest in two months if planting seed. With regular care a packet of bean seed, about $3, will produce several kilos of beans every week for six months.