HOW TO BECOME A GREEN THUMB
6 tips for starting a veggie garden
Autumn (and May in particular) is one of the best times of the year to start a herb and veggie patch here in South East Queensland, and with social distancing requiring us to spend more time at home, it’s a great project to tackle alone or with kid-helpers in tow.
But where to start? We’ve put together a few things to consider when it comes to earning your green thumb status.
Finding the right spot
Finding the right spot is vital to helping your veggies grow. Sunlight, air flow and water drainage are all important in finding the perfect place for your new veggie patch.
Vegetables love the sun, with most types needing about six to eight hours of sunlight a day. As we enter the colder months, we usually see an increased amount of shade, so check to see if your plants will still get ample sunshine throughout the colder months.
The ideal spot for your new garden should also be protected from the wind and slightly elevated. This will prevent strong winds from drying out garden beds (which equals droopy plants!) and from heavy rain waterlogging your crop.
Choosing your plants
So you have found the perfect spot, next comes the fun part - choosing your plants!
Nothing tastes as good as freshly grown produce; from salad greens and vegetables, to fruits and herbs, the options really are endless. Focus on what you and your family like to eat - what do your children (in particular) enjoy? Getting them involved in the planting process is a tried and tested way to see them finishing their plates come dinner time.
If you want fast-growing veggies and herbs you may want to try loose-leaf lettuces like spinach, Asian greens, snow peas, and herbs including dill, fennel and mint. Slow growing veggies include asparagus, pumpkins and melons, so take into consideration how soon you’re hoping to enjoy the fruits of your labour when choosing your seeds.
For the super garden newbies, some of the easiest veggies to grow are perennial herbs (rosemary, mint and oregano), leafy greens, spring onions, zucchini and radishes. All of these are fast growing and will be salad ready in just a few weeks.
Finding the perfect planter
Now you know what you want to plant, it’s time to pick your planter. You can find the perfect planter no matter your garden size.
If you have a small garden area, vertical gardens, wall planters and pots may be the best choice. For others with larger areas, garden beds may work better for you.
Find a planter that works best for your space and the veggies you want to plant; you may even wish to get creative with milk cartons and other containers
Planting your veggie garden
It’s time to get your hands dirty! Growing in the ground will be slightly different to growing in pots so it’s important to know how to prepare your chosen garden bed.
For growing in the ground you’ll want to prepare the soil with good quantities of compost and manure, while pots will need good quality potting mix to help your seedlings grow.
When planting seedlings, work out how much space your veggies need to grow. Keep taller plants towards the back of your garden and be conscious of the shade they may throw onto your other vegetables.
Watering your plants will also depend on whether they are in pots or in the ground. Plants growing in the ground will need watering every second day or so, whereas pots may require more frequent watering depending on the size of the pot and plant.
Keeping them alive
Now your veggie patch is planted, the hard work is keeping everything healthy so you can reap those delicious rewards.
Keeping your veggies hydrated is important throughout the growing season, especially for fast-growing plants. Regularly water your garden, making sure not to drench the entire plant.
Do your best to remove weeds from your garden (aim for about once a week), as they compete with vegetables for food and water.
And don’t forget to fertilise your veggies. Compost, manure, or purchased fertilisers are all good choices to help with soil and plant health.
Bonus tip: Compost, Compost, Compost
Compost is a great way to fertilise your garden and is another project you can get the whole family involved in.
Composting is a way of recycling organic matter like banana peels, apple cores and cucumber ends, as well as bread, cereal and pasta.
It can be fun to get the kids involved in collecting scraps, but make sure they don’t include animal products like meat, butter and yogurt in the compost heap.
Gardening is a fun and rewarding activity the whole family can enjoy. We’ve shared with you just a few things to consider when starting your own veggie patch but make sure to also do your own research, especially once you have chosen your specific veggies.
Now get out there, get your hands dirty and share your journey with us using #everleighgreenbank. We can’t wait to see your veggie gardens grow!