While there’s no denying how convenient it is to buy fruit and veg from the supermarket, there are few things more rewarding than cooking food that you have grown yourself.
When it comes to buying things like herbs, it’s also a lot more cost effective to grown your own, too.
The New Daily chats to Mat Pember from The Little Veggie Patch Co., a business that installs edible gardens, on the things to plant in your garden in the lead up to spring, and how beginners can have a flourishing garden in no time.
Things to plant now
Despite winter coming to an end, soil temperatures don’t warm up until late September, so warm season produce shouldn’t be planted yet, warns Mr Pember.
“In the lead up, you’re still planting a lot of the leafy greens, lettuces; you can plant kale, silverbeet and spinach,” he says.
“At the moment, you’d want to be fairly conservative and just keep it to basically lettuces and a few herbs.”
In terms of what to plant in September, Mr Pember says that you can basically plant whatever you’d like.
“You can plant cucumbers, zucchinis, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes, capsicums – any sort of fruiting vegetable that you can think of you can plant in spring.”
“The only cool season vegetables are broccolis and cabbages, and your peas and broadbeans. If you take all those aside, you can really plant anything in Springtime,” Mr Pember advises.
Tips for beginners
While gardening can be exciting for beginners, it’s best to always start off small and do things properly.
“When people start a veggie garden, they throw in everything together, things start growing over each other and they don’t space them out correctly enough,” says Mr Pember.
A good garden is also an investment, so don’t skimp on potting mix and small pots.
“You certainly get what you pay for in terms of better quality potting mix.”
“We always say get the most that you can afford and invest in it, and it will have a lot more natural animal fertilisers and nutrients. That will then help the plant to grow,” he says.
A pot that’s too small will also see any vegetables, fruit or herbs dry out quickly and most likely die.
“You always want to get a pot that’s big enough for the plant to realise it’s potential. Something that’s 20 centimetres wide and deep is the minimum size pot for a plant.”
No yard? No problem
Being limited to a balcony or courtyard shouldn’t necessarily stop you from having your own edible garden.
“Even for a tomato plant or if you wanted to grow cucumber, or anything, as long as you’ve got a pot that’s at least 20 centimetres deep and wide, you can really grow any plant,” says Mr Pember.
“Even a pumpkin that sprawls everywhere, you could grow on the balcony, as long as you’ve got a pot that’s big enough for it to root into, and you can let it grow over the balcony or trellis it up a wall.”