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How to start your very own vegetable patch

As the seasons change, lots of delicious new fresh fruit and vegetables come into season, which means they are available in abundance at the supermarket and many of us believe that this is when we will get the best version of our produce.

But have you ever tried fresh, home grown fruit and vegetables? Most of us have not, but the difference is huge! The flavours are more intense, the colours more vibrant and everything is readily available – no more last minute trips to the shops!

You may think that gardening is not for you, but fear not, you can make it work! It’s all about choosing the right location, the right seeds to plant and having a plot size that is appropriate for your home. If you don’t have the luxury of a spacious backyard (or any backyard at all), you can opt for a planter to use as a small herb garden instead!

To ensure a successful garden (even if you don’t have a green thumb), there are three main things to consider:

First, the size of the plot matters. Don’t go too small, as you could cause crowding, but don’t start huge because this will more than likely lead to some frustration. It’s better for your peace of mind and for your wallet to nail the basics with a small garden before you branch out to bigger and better things.

Next, you need to consider where you are planting. Your plants will need plenty of sunlight, at least 6 hours per day, and the soil environment needs to remain consistent (it cannot rapidly shift between being wet or dry). Also consider opting for a sheltered location, where your new sprouts are going to be safe from the elements (and curious pets).

Last, but certainly not least, comes the soil quality! Make sure you use fertiliser and allow for proper drainage, so your plants don’t drown.

To plant your garden, you can explore lots of different options including wooden planters, vertical gardens or traditional garden beds. Explore your options and choose what is right for your space and the vegetables you are thinking of planting.

Now that you’ve sorted out the logistics, it’s time for the fun part – choosing what veggies you want to plant! In Australia, Spring vegetables include beetroot, broccoli, carrots, spinach and pumpkin. Bear in mind that as the seasons change, you’ll have to make some adjustments to your planter if you want to be able to harvest fruits and veggies year-round. Otherwise, if you prefer to harvest seasonally, you can leave your planter bare in the interim.

If you are replacing your seedlings as the seasons change, it is a good idea to rotate them around your planter so that you are not consistently planting the same things in the same spot.

Planting seems like one of the easier parts of the process, but in actual fact, it is still challenging and does require some planning and thought. You need to consider the space available in your planter, and then consider how far apart you’ll need to plant specific crops you are hoping to grow. For example, if you are thinking of growing something like corn which needs a lot of space and grows quite tall – you’ll need to consider that this may hinder the growth ability of the other crops you’ve planted alongside. You will also need to consider the best time to plant, as not all seeds can be planted at the same time, so if you want to knock out a full day of planting you’ll have to select carefully.

It is certainly not a task for the faint hearted, but it is so worth it!

Having your own vegetable garden is not only a great way of ensuring you’ve always got fresh produce on hand, it’s also a great way of de-stressing, spending time with your children and getting to know yourself (who knows, you may uncover a hidden talent you had no idea about!).

If you’re considering starting your own vegetable garden, head to your local nursery of gardening supply centre for any extra advice you need.

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Emma

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