Growing your own fruit and veggies is one of the most satisfying things you can do, for a number of reasons. It’s a great way save a bit of money and it’s also good to know that you’ve got some fresh, healthy food for the table… and it’s hard not to think that vegetables that you grow yourself just taste better.
With a bit of planning, it’s easy to start a sustainable veggie patch that will be productive for a long time. Here are our five top tips for setting up a veggie garden
- Pick the spot
Try and choose a level spot that gets plenty of light. Most veggies love up to 6 hours a day of sunlight. Pick a spot that isn’t a thoroughfare. Identify the area you’d like to dedicate to your new garden plot and outline the boundary using your garden hose. A length of string will also do the trick. If there are wandering cats, dogs or wildlife in your area, you may need to consider fencing off the space you’ve chosen.
- Eliminate the competition
Remove any existing plants or weeds… then start digging! Start in a corner and move across the entire plot, digging, lifting and turning the soil. Don’t worry if you’re turning over grass or turf with an established root system – it will soon turn to compost.
- Prepare the soil
It’s important that your soil bed is as rich and nutritious as possible so that young plants or seeds can get a good head start… and then thrive! Add rich organic matter like compost or manure – this will add body and nutrition to your garden bed. Once you’ve added the organic matter, start turning the soil over again, but this time add fresh garden soil into your organic matter and mix the new soil with the old. Let the bed settle for a couple of weeks – the more time you give your compost to break down, the better – and make sure to pluck out any weeds that appear in the meantime.
- Make your bed
The best way to increase your yields from the word go is to create a raised garden bed with a deep layer of fertile soil. A vegetable garden with clay soil or excessive water may struggle – a deep layer of soil allows water to drain more effectively and an extra 30-45 cm of fertile dirt can work wonders. You can create a raised bed with a simple timber border, otherwise sleepers, corrugated iron, bricks, blocks or even piled rocks or bails straw all make great boundaries. Many hardware stores sell ready-made beds and borders. Get creative! Just ensure your garden bed is at least 30 cm deep so that the soil can be packed securely inside.
- Install a water tank
Rainwater tanks are essential for the long-term success of your garden, especially if your area is prone to drought or water restrictions. A high quality rainwater tank will save you a lot of money over the lifespan of your garden and will ensure that your veggies don’t go thirsty. There are plenty of options available from Slimline tanks through to round tanks, modular tanks and even clever deckpods if your space is at a premium. Gone are the daggy old corrugated tanks from your uncle’s farm – you can get a tank ina variety of colours and sizes to suit your garden space.
Once you’ve prepared a rich, juicy soil bed for your veggie patch and ensured a water supply, get planting. It won’t be long before you’re enjoying your first tasty harvest!