I have very romantic views about things…it’s just the way my DNA works, and weirdly enough growing my own vegetable garden has been top of my list since I started thinking about leaving a corporate career.
As a young child I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in the garden and some of my best childhood memories involve gardening with my Granny Ayris. She taught me so much about gardens and plants, and yet somewhere along the path of growing up, my green fingers dwindled to a pathetic fight to keep even the hardiest of plants alive.
Since moving house and once again having a proper garden, this love has returned. And whilst it’s far too early to say if the green fingers have returned, it is safe to say that everything is still alive (although in some parts, its touch and go!). There is something incredibly therapeutic about working in one’s garden, watching it grow, planning new spaces and being creative with a whole new medium…one that lives. I can honestly say that some of my best days in our new home have involved gardening gloves on, my love mowing the lawn and kids creating havoc around us.
So, here are some easy steps to get you on the path of harvesting your own food too (how romantic is that?)
- Plan your space.
Whether you have acres of land or a teeny urban balcony, decide on where you wish to plant that will give your plants access to lots of sun, and easy access to water. Trust me, you do not want to be walking back and forth with a watering can for miles unnecessarily and if you can put irrigation in, do it.
This is a great way to utilise an unused nook or cranny and literally bring some life into it. Being near a window is handy too, so that eagle eye can track progress come rain or shine.
- Plan your ground.
For the urban apartment dwellers you are sadly limited here to pots and planters, but for the rest of you, decide on your medium carefully. My advice is to go with raised beds or custom planters, you can control your soil quality and drainage and weeding is far more controlled.
- Start small.
Enough said, you are not trying to feed a small village (or are you?)
Start with something less intimidating and easier to control, understanding what works, and what doesn’t, and grow from there.
Its straight forward, think about what you like to eat, what’s in season, what herbs you cook with, what vegetables or salad items are always in your fridge and start with growing these.
DON’T be like me and get so excited about being surrounded by all these amazing plants and come home from the nursery with things you quite frankly have never nor will ever eat!
To begin with, I suggest using seedlings to start your garden and once you have the hang of things start planting from seeds.
When planning quantity, keep in mind that vegetables such as peppers and tomatoes keep providing throughout the season, whereas carrots and radishes produce only once.
Start with your laying your vegetable into the space first, and then inject herbs in and around to fill the gaps.
If you have tendencies towards order then stick to straight lines, no judgement!
You can also find out what to plant when by consulting with your local nurseries.
- Know the basics.
Be familiar with the basics of what you’re growing, such as sun and water requirements, and best soil and fertilizers to use.
Your local nursery should be more than happy to assist here too.
Rule of thumb – 6 hours of sun a day, daily water and a little love and care should get you started on your way.
Some vegetables work well next to each and some just don’t….bizarre really to think that some vegetables just don’t get along….there are some great charts available, but in short…beans and peas don’t like garlic and onion (or their cousins leeks and chives), plant dill and carrots far away from each other, no one from the cabbage family like beans and tomatoes and corn are enemies. Tomatoes also weirdly don’t like coriander, cucumber, cauliflower or broccoli…a little picky?
- Pest control
Aaaaah! There is nothing more soul destroying than staring at your beautiful little seedling one day, to its being destroyed by an army of caterpillars the next!
There are many natural garlic insecticides available from your nursery that you can use to spray or follow online recipes to make your own. Natural solutions include growing hot chillies, peppers and garlic or marigolds around your plants, which apparently detract bugs.
If your neighbour’s cat has a habit of venturing into your garden then I suggest sticking bamboo poles into your bed or fencing it off, to prevent your pride and joy becoming a litter tray.
If birds are a problem, then you might want to consider hanging some wind chimes above or near the bed which might deter them with the noise.
- Never admit defeat.
Accept now that some plants just won’t make it…it’s the circle of life. Learn from it, shrug it off and carry on. Farmer Brown wasn’t made in a day.
Full board on Pinterest.