Tips for your own venture into veggie gardening.
Observe and interact
- Look at the space you have and the resources at hand. Will you grow in pots or in the ground? Think outside the square: can you use your nature strip, a balcony or perhaps even a friend or relative’s garden (while still maintaining social distancing)?
- For those growing in the ground, your time is limited as we head into winter, so start small. Remove as much of the existing grass and vegetation from the garden bed as you can. Dig in some quality compost, such as mushroom compost, to improve soil quality.
- No-dig gardens sit above the ground, with layers of organic material forming the perfect growing environment for veggies and herbs as they break down. These can be started with very little investment.
- You can look to buy (or build) some raised planter boxes that wick up moisture from a reservoir built into the box. Raised garden beds are great for growing small plots of veggies and flowers. They keep pathway weeds from your garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage and serve as a barrier to pests such as slugs and snails.
- Never reach for a chemical pesticide to solve a bug, weed or disease problem. Build up your soil. Add organic matter, side dress with good compost, use good organic fertilisers. If you pay as much attention to building up the soil in the garden as you do tending the vegetables, your vegetables will practically grow themselves.
- Check on your garden daily. The more time you spend there – even if it is just five minutes early in the morning – the more you learn about it.
Look for community
There are mountains of Facebook groups, blogs, websites and community organisations providing resources for basic vegetable gardening. Find one in your area that is suitable for the weather, soils and conditions, and learn from other’s experience.
Local networks will be able to tell you what’s best for planting, how to make a garden if you’re renting, or even share seeds with you!
Even a small balcony box can be rewarding
So what if your spacing is a little off, or you are a week or two late in planting? Or maybe you’ve just started with one tomato plant? A vegetable garden doesn’t require perfection to produce food.
As a way of getting outside, or into nature, or just having a moment to yourself, gardening may be just the reprieve you’re looking for.