Last year (how odd to say that now) one of my partners (Scott) and I landscaped the back yard (finally) and built a vegetable garden from raised garden beds. We’re situated on an old flood plain, so our soil is clay – which although full of nutrients, isn’t the best soil for growing vegetables in necessarily, so is great for going squelch, squelch, squelch in when wet – so we covered that which doesn’t have raised garden beds with mulch to avoid tracking more mud into the house.
I joined Diggers, a gardening group which gives free seeds to members twice a year, and who specialise in heirloom seeds and plant varieties to ensure diversity in foodstock. I also joined because I love the idea of growing things that seem odd like Purple Dragon carrots, or striped eggplants.
I have learnt a whole lot of things while gardening and I want to share them so that when it comes to setting up the gardens next year, I don’t forget the lessons – and hey you might enjoy it too.
- If you don’t cover the garden beds with a form of mesh, the cats will be so excited that you have provided them with the biggest litter tray ever – and any seedlings or seeds you have planted will be dug up
- Even in winter, unless it has rained, you need to water the garden every other day – this will still take 30 minutes
- Watering the entire garden takes 30 minutes, this is a problem in summer, because that’s enough time to start sunburn
- Peas are tasty, but need to be on sturdy trellises so they don’t get blown down. Also six pea plants per trellis is too many – you end up with a pea forest that way.
- Planting corn in a square is a great idea, but not with any corns in the middle – they don’t get any sun and don’t grow
- Planting beans or peas around the corn stalks works really well
- Eggplants like the sun and should be planted on the north side of the garden beds
- Rockmelons like the heat and should be planted on the north side of the garden beds – they also have corners in their stalks, so they droop down over the garden beds easier – they LOVE water
- Pumpkins on the other hand grow straight and aren’t happy about drooping over the edge of the garden bed
- Plant WAY more broccoli, and plant them with nasturtiums to avoid them being eaten by caterpillars
- LABEL YOUR SEEDLINGS. Capsicum, tomato, and eggplant seedlings all look the same (how surprising given they’re all nightshades), as do leeks and onions
- Nigella/Kalonji doesn’t seem to like sun so plant on the south side of the garden beds, probably behind corn
- Don’t plant 7 tomatoes – they take over the whole garden, and having 1 metre between each plant is not just a nice recommendation
- Pay attention to how far plants should be planted apart
- Don’t leave seedlings on the top level of the greenhouse in summer, stop growing seedlings in the greenhouse after the first 30C day
- Celery and Celiarac are hard to grow, as are Paprika and chillies (this season anyway)
- Carrots only grow properly when they have enough soil to grow in – put more soil in the garden beds
- Eat the herbs you planted
- Fertilise the garden beds with seaweed solution every two weeks
- There is only so much room in the garden beds
- My mother calls spring onions, shallots – which they aren’t
- Carrots also like sun, so without that they don’t grow much, especially in winter
- Corriander likes sun and the heat – plant in sunny spots
- Once the tomato plants have taken over the garden beds, the ones you’ve also filled with marigolds, just keep watering them until they ripen – don’t worry about anything else in the bed
- I don’t eat lettuce
- If companion planting tomatoes and onions, leave room for the onions to not be crushed by the overenthusiastic tomatoes
- Snails will eat lettuce seedlings and attempt to munch on your strawberries. Snail pellets are a saviour here.
- When it is over 35C on any given day, water the garden twice a day.
- Raspberries really need well drained soil – this is not clay. If they do decide that they like where you’ve planted them (one of the 8 plants I bought is thriving) then it will take over and become a little bramble patch – this isn’t a bad thing where I have planted them. Keep them watered well in hot weather.
One thought on “Things I have learnt: Garden edition”
Number 25 made me lol, I can so imagine myself planting veg that I don’t eat just because they seem like the sort of thing you should plant. You know, if hell ever froze over and I took up gardening!
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