Expert green thumb and gardening book author Meredith Kirton reckons anyone can grow veggies, so long as they follow a few basic rules.
These are Meredith’s top five tips for successful veggie gardens…
1. Find the right spot
Every veggie patch needs a sunny spot to succeed. Try and choose a plot that receives at least half a day’s direct sunlight (6-8 hours), which is ideal for most vegetables and fruits. If your site is shadier, opt for leafier plants rather than fruiting crops.
Creating a good soil base is vital for a healthy veggie patch. Make sure your garden soil is up to scratch by removing rocks, rubble and roots and adding in compost. Almost all vegetables need good drainage to grow, so if necessary raise your garden beds to allow for this.
The fun bit is undoubtedly the actual planting. Be careful to read the labels so that you adequately space plants and provide them with trestles or supports if necessary. Feed your plants regularly with liquid fertiliser and mulch with manure to ensure adequate nutrients are supplied to your crops. The faster they grow, the better they’ll taste.
Think ahead and come up with a basic crop rotation by considering when different crops are harvested. Try and grow plants from different families in the same spot each season for the best results. A good example is to have peas followed by greens, then fruits (like tomatoes) and finally root veggies, like carrots.
5. Start small
When starting out, small really is beautiful. Containers that are 300mm or larger in diameter are perfect for growing a wide range of herbs and veggies, even some small fruit trees. Larger beds come into their own when you are feeding the family (or neighbourhood) and have the time it takes to maintain them.