Growing fresh vegetables in your garden is both rewarding and enjoyable, especially if you love fresh, healthy forage. Aside from keeping you busy and productive, running a vegetable garden can also save you money. Below is a deep dive of how you can maximise the productivity of your Australian garden.
Designing your gardenWhether you are starting a new garden of upgrading an old one, using dedicated beds for each type of vegetable will give you better results. When you plant your vegetables in narrow beds you will have enough space for paths which is necessary for garden care. Using dedicated garden beds allows you to be creative on how you arrange the crops. You can design your garden in a way that accentuates your existing landscaping. Using dedicated beds also boosts healthy root zones, which will increase the productivity of your crop.
ApproachesYou can prepare your garden bed using two approaches. The first approach is to lay the bed at soil level. This arrangement makes it easier to mark the edges separating the garden path from the growing area. With the addition of organic matter, the soil level of the garden will eventually rise. The second approach is to laying your garden bed on a raised surface. This approach is more useful if you wish to prove the drainage of your plants. It also makes garden paths more visible, which comes in handy if you have kids who love playing in the garden.
Garden LayoutSet up your garden beds in a way that makes it easy to reach the centre without straining. Normally a width of about 3 – 4 feet is ideal. With narrow beds, you can maximise the number of veggies you will grow in the available space. Of course, you can choose the length of the garden bed according to your preference. In most cases, the length of the bed is determined by the size of your garden and how far you are ready to trek to reach the other side. Everyone has different preferences on the way they lay out their garden beds on the ground. Some people like arranging their beds in parallel rows, while others prefer a more relaxed style. You can adopt your own unique style. For better utilisation of garden space, engage the services of a garden landscaping professional.
Inner city gardeningFor people living in cities like Sydney where garden space may be limited, creativity is important. One of the best ways to grow vegetables in a constrained environment is to set up a no-dig garden. In this arrangement you can create garden by laying hay, newspaper, compost and fertiliser to achieve a raised bed. This way, you can create a nutrient rich soil on any surface. It may even be possible to set up a no-dig garden in your apartment using a planter box. Another viable option is to set up a community garden. These gardens are usually created from public land. Several people come together to create a huge communal plot where they garden and farm together. Within this large plot, there are several individual plots that people pay for. Before coming up with this arrangement, check with local authorities.
Growing healthy vegetables in your garden
Add OrganicsTo maximise the productivity of your garden, enrich the soil with organics. Add manure or compost to promote healthy growth of your vegetables. Organic matter also helps to hold excess water, thus improving drainage. Add dry substance like leaf litter or newspapers to your compost bin if it smells. Expedite the composting process by turning the compost with a fork. You can also try worm farms.
Water Vegetables ConsistentlyTo prosper, most crops need a substantial amount of water. The timing and frequency of watering your crops will depend on the condition of the soil. If the temperature is high, your vegetables will require consistent watering and mulching, otherwise they may die. Setting up a garden irrigation system will reduce the need to water your plants daily. Also, use good quality mulch to prevent water evaporation and to keep the soil cooler for longer.
Control Pests and DiseasesSome garden care best practices like watering and feeding will support healthy and fast growth of your vegetables. Healthy crops can withstand pest attacks. However, you will still need to monitor any signs of infestation and address it before damage occurs. Common garden pests can be avoided with homemade organic pesticides. Some popular options you could try include garlic, ground chili, sawdust, and beer traps. Planting complementary crops can also control pests and improve the productivity of your garden. For example, carrots and onions are a good pairing for the soil. The sharp smell of the onions keep away pests that may target carrots.
Choose Your Vegetables WiselyBefore designing and setting up your garden, create a plan for the vegetables you will grow. Choose cost-effective vegetables that will do well in your area. Alternately, select vegetables that will grow that season. It is also important to consider succession planning to ensure you have a constant supply of fresh vegetables. Here’s a few tips for choosing cost effective vegetables:
- Choose fast growing vegetables, such as spinach. This will ensure you will have quick returns from your garden.
- Choose crops that are high yielding and will give you multiple crops. A bean seed for instance, will let you harvest over one crop in a season.
- Grow vegetables in your garden that are resistant to pests and require fewer resources to grow. A crop that uses a lot of water and requires constant feeding is less cost effective.
- Choose vegetables that you love and especially ones that are expensive to buy at grocery stores.