21 Mar The Basics Of Bushels – How To Start Your First Vegetable Garden
Growing your own vegetables is a fun, cheap way to exercise your green thumb, while also providing tasty, healthy things to eat. Although growing vegetables can be easy, it’s best to first arm yourself with a bit of knowledge. A little bit of careful preparation and planning can be the difference between a bumper crop and a fatal flop.
Don’t Be A Drip
One of the basic necessities for growing a bounty of healthy, happy vegetables is adequate water and drainage. It’s important to have access to a supply of fresh water which is able to penetrate the surface of your garden in a way which promotes growth, and doesn’t cause the under-surfaces to rot or stagnate.
For this reason, it’s a good idea to plan your garden around your ability to deliver hydration and irrigation (click here for a trusted source of irrigation supplies in Australia). If you’re putting in raised garden beds, it’s essential that you create an environment within them which encourages drainage and water permeation.
Not all garden beds are designed equally — if you’re able to, choose one which features moisture wicking and allows for direct watering into the lower soil via a tap or attachment.
Positioning your vegetable garden is another important consideration. The amount of sunlight, heat, shade, moisture and wind your garden receives will al moderate what is able to be grown – and how healthy any crops are likely to be.
For flowering plants, it’s worthwhile creating a space with adequate sunlight. Flowering plants usually require the assistance of bees and other pollinators to be able to produce fruits and edibles, and bees are attracted to the warmth and light or sunnier spaces.
For delicate, leafier crops, a more moderated location with a focus on drainage may be necessary. Excess heat and light can burn and wilt their leaves (which have a high moisture content) and can prematurely kill any harvest before it’s ready to be picked.
Creating a few separated ‘micro-climates’ within your space may be the answer to organising your garden, especially if you’re intending on growing plants with differing climatic (and soil) requirements.
Selecting vegetables to grow in your garden is one of the most exciting parts of the process. Before purchasing any seeds or seedlings, and before preparing the soil and fertiliser, it’s important to get a clear picture of what can be grown in your area at any given time of year.
Consult a planting calendar (there are a multitude available online) which details when to plant a given crop, including when it needs to be grown as a seedling (covered) and when it is able to be transferred or transplanted to its final location.
Having a garden which is planted according to a seasonal calendar will ensure that your garden is able to most effectively harness the power of the climate and natural weather events.
The amount of available daylight hours will also influence your crops, so it’s important to follow any guidelines available in order to minimise any risk of disappointment or frustration.
Consider Adding Cover
If you’re intent on growing vegetable from seeds (or using heirloom stock) it’s important to create a space which is sheltered from adverse weather conditions and any potential predators (even cats and dogs).
A great way to do this is by installing a small greenhouse. Greenhouses can be kept either indoors or outdoors, and allow you to keep seedlings and delicate plants in a controlled environment where they can develop and flourish.
Greenhouses also allow careful, methodical gardeners to grow crops which are out of their climate comfort zone or season (such as growing tomatoes in winter, or keeping tropical orchids in non-tropical locations). They require careful foresight and meticulous care, but can be the solution to any sourcing woes – especially if you’re growing something that’s hard to find or procure locally.
Growing your own vegetables is easy. With a bit of careful planning, climate consideration, and seasonal selection, you will be well on your way to enjoying a tasty, natural harvest – fresh from the garden!