Want to be a green thumb and grow your own veggie garden? Here are some tips to help get you started….
Location: Choose a location for your veggie garden that has ample space, plenty of sun and is close to your hose or water source. The last thing you want to do is overcrowd your veggies! If you live in an apartment or have a small garden, think about planting in pots instead!
Soil: If you’re planting your veggies in a garden, mix some garden soil mix and compost with the soil already there. If you’re planting your veggies in a pot, just mix some potting mix with compost to plant your veggies into! You can get soil from Bunnings, department stores (e.g. Big W), some supermarkets and gardening stores. Your local gardening store might also have some in-house mixed soil varieties that they could recommend to you.
Planting in pots: The bigger the pot, the better! Large pots hold more soil and thus hold moisture for longer, so you don’t have to water your plants as much. You can even opt for any other type of container with drainage holes, as long as it is at least 25cm wide and 30cm deep.
Biodegradable pots: Think about planting in biodegradable pots instead of traditional ones, such as these ones from Bunnings. If you choose this method, you can directly plant your veggie into a garden bed once it’s grown into a seedling, without needing to take the pot off! The pot will quickly break down in the soil and in the meantime, the plant’s roots can push through the pot sides if needed. If you use a traditional plastic or clay pot instead, be sure to reuse them in the future!
Seeds vs seedlings: If starting from scratch with seeds is too intimidating, buy seedlings from your local farmer’s market or garden shop. Seedlings are young plants that have already sprouted, giving you a head start on growing! However, if you have more patience and want to opt for the cheaper option, use seeds instead. Buy your seeds or seedlings from local farmers markets or gardening stores!
Tools: Apart from a pot, seeds/seedlings and a watering source, other handy tools include a trowel (a hand-held shovel), gardening gloves and pruning shears. You can get these tools from Bunnings, local nurseries or even online from eBay.
Watering: The amount and frequency of watering depends on the weather, type of soil and type of veggies you’re growing. A good rule of thumb is ensuring that the soil at the root and below the root of your veggies is moist to encourage your vegetables to form deep roots. The best time to water your vegetables is in the early morning as less moisture will be evaporated, allowing the water to run down into the soil and reach the roots. If you don’t have enough time in the morning to do this before work/school, the second best time to water your veggies is in the late afternoon/early evening.
If you’re a beginner, consider growing vegetables that are easier to grow, such as carrots, green beans, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes or capsicums. Or click here for a vegetable planting guide that suggests the best time of the year to plant certain vegetables.
An alternative to growing a veggie garden is planting an easy-to-grow indoor plant such as chives, mint, parsley or rosemary in a pot! They’re easy to maintain, handy for cooking and don’t require as much soil. If you are still keen on the veggie idea and don’t have the space to pull it off, search for local Community Gardens near your home or workplace. Community Gardens are a great way to meet new people, have access to home grown veggies and satisfy your Green Thumb desires.