You may not have a spacious yard or a green thumb - but as long as you have the enthusiasm, it is possible to create a simple kitchen garden that will provide you with some decent vegetables and herbs year round.
Here’s a startup guide to creating a garden that will nourish and sustain you.
Assess your location
Establish the optimal location for your little patch by considering factors like sunlight, shade, dampness and exposure to wind.
Depending on which Australian state you’re living in, this will differ significantly. If you’re living in tropical Queensland, growing conditions will obviously be very different to high country Victoria. It will be a constant battle if you grow a particular crop in the wrong location.
Examine your soil
The quality of your soil is everything. Alison Eastland, a yoga teacher and food grower from Tasmania, said people will think about growing, feeding and nurturing the plant but it is always about the soil.
“I get my inspiration from regenerative agriculture, which is broadscale but in a home garden you can still apply the principles - like not disturbing the soil microbes and thinking about feeding the biological life of the soil rather than feeding the plant,” Alison explained.
“If you feed the soil with compost and organic matter then you don’t have to feed or water the plant as much."
“It’s a similar philosophy with your health - like with yoga you’re feeding the foundations and the surface takes care of itself a bit more.”
It’s better for the environment not to disturb the soil because soil stores carbon and regular digging releases this carbon into the atmosphere.
Plant for the seasons
Do your research before you plant, then select the right crops for the right season.
Spinach, lettuce and Asian greens for example, are great growers in winter while cucumber, tomato and squash thrive in the summer sun.
Consider your eating habits
You can’t eat it all at once, so don’t plant everything at once! Plant a smaller amount of vegetables at regular intervals so you have a variety of crops to harvest at any one time.
Alison advises to grow “cut and come again” vegetables like spring onions that grow back after being cut at the base. Lettuce is another example - if you plant the type of lettuce that you can pick off the outside leaves rather than a heading lettuce, this will last a lot longer.
“If you’re planting from seedlings, plant a punnet of lettuce once a month which will then stagger the harvest time. The Portuguese cabbage is also one you can pick off the leaves as you need. You can have vegetables that serve you all year round this way.”
If you’re planting from seeds and you plant the entire packet, thin them out across a garden bed once they sprout.
With tomatoes, which can be abundant, Alison suggests picking out strongest ones and discarding the weakest ones.
It pays to do your research. Watch some gardening videos, read up and perhaps talk to your local gardening shop owners before you get your hands into the earth.
Finally, here’s a guide to what to grow.
Easiest Vegetables For A Home Garden
- Tomatoes (especially cherry)
- Spring Onions
- Zucchini (you’ll need space)
- Pumpkin (also needs space)
Easiest Herbs For A Home Garden
- Basil (easy in pots)
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