Growing your own kitchen garden is a hugely rewarding experience.
Not only does it provide fresh organic produce for your table and help reduce your grocery bill, there is also that unbeatable sense of satisfaction you get from eating something that you grew yourself.
Growing your own vegetable garden is also a fantastic way to teach kids about nutrition and food waste. So what are you waiting for? Here is everything you need to know to get your basic vege patch up and growing.
You generally have two options here:
- In-ground garden beds are simply dug into existing soil at ground level and are an easy option if you have a bit of space to work with and good soil quality.
- If your soil has a bit too much sand or clay in it, then a raised garden bed is the perfect solution. You can buy raised garden bed kits from your local gardening store, or DIY a simple rectangle frame using treated pine.
- For balconies and super small spaces, pots and vertical gardens are a great way to efficiently pack in lots of vege.
Whatever type of garden bed you go with, make sure that it is positioned somewhere that receives around 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Great produce starts with great soil so take the time to create a balanced mix. You want the soil to be loose and fertile so that it will drain well and warm up earlier in Spring. There are lots of prepackaged soils available that have been specifically formulated for vegetables. To add an extra nutrient hit, you can also mix through a fertilizer such as blood and bone and it’s also a good idea to cover the soil with mulch to help it to retain moisture.
Now for the fun part! When choosing which vegetables to plant the most important thing to consider is what you want to eat. Beans, lettuce, zucchini, carrots, sweet corn and tomatoes are all easy vegetables to get started with this Spring. If you have kids then strawberries and cherry tomatoes are sure-fire winner for bite-sized snacks that they can pick themselves.
If you have limited space then make the most of it by growing up rather than out with plants such as truss tomatoes and beans.
Different varieties of vegetables work better in different climates and growing conditions so do a bit of research on what types will work best for you.
Vegetable root systems grow better if you soak the soil deep, not frequently. To see if your plants need watering, use your finger to test the top inch of soil. If it is dry, then give them a water. A soaker hose with a timer is an efficient way to get the job done without wasting water, and you can use it for garden beds and pots.
Taking it further
Now that you have mastered the basics of the vege patch, your imagination is the limit! Expand your garden, try different varieties, start a worm farm, experiment with crop rotation and companion planting. We love the addition of flowers to the vege patch, such as marigolds and rosemary, which help to add nutrients to the soil and act as a natural pest deterrent.