Do you want to reduce your weekly grocery bill? Do you spend a lot of money buying locally grown, organic produce? Then starting a vegetable garden is a good way to save money and eat well. Keep these handy tips in mind when setting up your first vegetable garden and it will be easier and more rewarding that you think.
Deciding what to plant
Start small when setting up your first vegetable garden. You don’t want to end up wasting food because you have an oversupply and you don’t want to end up feeling overwhelmed with the maintenance and work you have to do to look after your vegetable patch.
Some plants like tomatoes and capsicums produce throughout the season and others like carrots and potatoes only produce once so you may need more of these depending on what you and your family regularly eat.
Tomatoes, ginger, onions and bok choy can all be grown indoors so it is worth thinking about what you can grown in your garden shed and what needs to be outdoors. The Riverlea Group New Zealand offer a wide range of garden sheds to suit your requirements and budget. Their range includes large, small, timber and steel garden sheds that are made in New Zealand and provide a great space to grow vegetables and store gardening equipment.
Making the best of your location
Contrary to popular belief you don’t need a large section to grow vegetables and herbs. Many vegetables grow very well in pots as long they are the right size and have adequate holes for water drainage.
If you have the space for an outdoor vegetable garden there are two basic designs you can try; row cropping and intensive cropping. Row cropping is where you place plants single file in rows, with a walking path between each row. If you want a large vegetable garden this format makes it easier to weed, water and harvest.
This type of vegetable garden has the plants laid out in wide bands, generally 30 cm to
120 cm across and any length. Your plants will be closer together so this usually means you have to weed by hand. Remember not to make the bands wider than you can comfortably reach because with intensive cropping there are no walkways between the rows.
Looking after your vegetables
Keep your plants hydrated, but not too wet, and embrace the rain because then you won’t need to manually water your vegetable beds too often!
When you are using fertiliser follow the instructions on the bag and make sure to keep on top of the weeds as they will fight with your plants for nutrients.
Ready to eat
If it looks good enough to eat then it probably is so don’t be shy about picking your produce. That is what it is there for! Often the more you pick the more your plant will produce so dive on in.
Reducing diseases and pests
Once you have set up your vegetable garden use fencing and netting to keep birds and small pests out. You can remove insects by hand, if you aren’t squeamish, and this works well for small numbers of caterpillars etc. If you do use a pest control product follow the instructions to the letter to make sure that you don’t potentially harm any people or pets.
For more tips on how to grow vegetables speak to your local garden center or visit www.riverleagroup.co.nz for information on their gardening products including garden wheelbarrows, BBQ pizza ovens and garden sheds in New Zealand.