The most impressive homes today not only boast of a landscaped lawn but have vegetable and fruit gardens as well. Flowering plants can be challenging to grow, but edible ones can be doubly difficult.
In addition, families that can get their produce from their own garden are definitely enviable since they have access to fresh, tasty vegetables and fruits when they are in season. Plus, they know for sure that they are safe and healthy to eat since they did not use harmful pesticides in growing them.
If you want to start a vegetable garden in your home (and throw in some fruits, too, if possible), here are some tips you can follow:
Create a planting plan.
Since you’re just starting a garden, come up with a plan first and find out which plants will work best for you and your area. Take into consideration the type of soil you have, its pH level, typical weather condition, etc. Seasoned gardeners, however, say that it is best to start with seasonal planting. You can use a gardening calendar specific to your area to work out which vegetables and fruits grow in which months, and when to harvest. Succession planting, or the practice of staggering the sowing of seeds, will also help ensure that you have a continuous supply of produce instead of being overwhelmed by their number when it’s time to harvest them.
Plant cost-effective vegetables and fruits.
Aim to grow garden plants that you can get the most out of. For instance, did you know that your garden can hold all the ingredients you need for a fresh salad?
You can start by planting tomatoes – they grow nearly anywhere in Australia. If you’re looking for a particular kind to plant, opt for cherry tomatoes since they grow quicker than the larger varieties — that means that there is less time for them to be eaten by bugs. They also have longer yields as well.
Other green leafy vegetables you can include in your salad are lettuce, perpetual spinach, and silver beet. Again, go for heirloom varieties because they tend to have longer yields, maximising your harvest. Also, they are not too resource-intensive (they require less water, sunlight, etc.) to grow.
In addition, when choosing which seeds to buy, choose plants that give multiple crops and are high-yielding. Beans are perfect examples of this. Consider planting crops that grow quickly such as radish, lettuce, and spinach since you can turn over what you’re growing very quickly.
Of course, it is best to select vegetables and fruits that you like to eat. You can preserve or store them and eat them at your pleasure.
Practise organic pest control.
Whether you have a large or small garden space, you can make the most out of it with the use of companion planting. This means growing complementary plants beside or near each other to act as natural pest control.
For starters, gardening experts say that planting tomatoes and basil together can help protect the tomatoes since the basil’s powerful scent repels aphids. Growing onions and carrots beside each other can boost the productivity of the soil beds because the roots of both plants will use the nutrients found at different soil levels. The pungent smell of onions is said to confuse pests drawn to carrots as well.
Lastly, to deal with stubborn garden pests, use homemade organic pesticides, such as ground chilli and garlic or coffee mixed with soap water.
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