So, everyone has told you that growing your own fruit and vegetables is the best way to go, where possible. But how do you even begin to make the transition from walking into the local supermarket, to your own backyard? Keen vegetable enthusiast? Phil Giblin, lets us in on some of his simple gardening secrets to get you growing.
Easiest vegetables to grow:
Radish, Beetroot, Pumpkin, Lemons, Beans, Corn, Swede, Peas, Zucchini, Garlic, Potatoes and Tomatoes.
Some basic tools you should own:
Spade, Fork, Hoe, Blood and Bone, Snail Pellets, Seasol and Water.
Vegetables which give the most value for money? i.e. regenerate:
Spinach, Mesculin, Silverbeet, Kale and other leafy green vegetables.
How to go about it:
To begin, you should create your own composting system to get your garden off to the best start possible. Do this by adding anything that has once lived for example; vegetable scraps, grass clippings, leaves, straw, animal manure and paper etc. to a bin (you can buy compost bins from your local hardware store or build your own). You are at an advantage if you have two bins side by side because then you are able to turn the compost from one bin to another in order to aerate it and enhance the composting process. Adding water every time you transfer between bins, approximately once a week and by the end of the month it will break down into an earthy compost.Once your compost is ready to use, section of some of your garden bed for your growing area. Dig up the soil to aerate it, and dig in your compost using the fork to sprinkle it over and then dig it in with your spade.
Add some blood and bone following the instructions on the packet, and hoe the soil to a fine consistency.
It’s getting a bit late now to start from scratch for your summer garden, except for lettuce seedlings, but why not prepare the soil and plant some cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, parsley and brussel sprouts which will be ready for winter. These are easier plants to grow as seedlings which you can get from garden centres and even some supermarkets.The first vegetable you should plant should be carrots as they need some warmth before their growth slows in the cooler weather. The soil must be kept moist for them to prosper.Beetroot can also be sown now in a 1cm trough, 2cm apart. Spring onions can be planted 1cm deep, also in rows, covered in soil and compact. Radishes can be sown in a similar way, if sown every fortnight you will retain a consistent crop as they sprout within about 4 days of planting. Once they germinate, start adding some seasol to help it prosper.Other seeds to be grown for winter include Turnips, Swedes, Kale, Leeks and Spinach.
Weeds are great competitors for all plants so try to keep on top of pulling them out. Mulching is a good way of keeping them at bay, as well as keeping the moisture in the soil.Watering is best to be done early morning but who has time with showers and clothes washing etc. Evening watering is better than not at all. A couple of deep sessions a week is better than a little every day as it allows the roots to penetrate deeper into the soil.
If you are limited by space then you can grown many vegetables in pots using new premium potting mix, changed annually.These tips are centred around the southern states, please consult local garden centres for specific local vegetable growing information.