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Urban Farming | Hydroponics Garden | Vegetable Gardening | Container Gardening | Growing in Pots
Growing Your Own Vegetables At Home
You don't need a degree in agriculture to grow your own vegetable garden. In fact you don't even need a garden - you can grow vegies, fruit and herbs in your kitchen or courtyard in pots. Your own homegrown vegetables taste much better and are fresher than any that you buy in the shops. Fruiting vegetables, like beans, tomatoes, capsicum and sweet corn, have the best flavour if they’re eaten as quickly as possible after harvest; leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, lose water and rapidly become limp, and all vegetables are more nutritious if they are consumed when as fresh as possible.
Growing your own vegetables can save a considerable amount on food costs and will also give you a wider choice of vegetables. Unusual vegetables are often difficult to buy in shops, but are easily grown in the home garden. Lots of vegetables are ornamental so can be grown for their good looks as well as their produce. The benefits of growing vegetables are clear. Apart from saving money, growing your own vegetables has nutritional benefits too - a study from the Institute of Food Research in the UK found that fresh vegetables from your garden can contain up to 45 per cent more nutrients than the 'fresh' vegetables you buy at the supermarket. To get your vegetable garden started, here are some tips for a bloomng aswesome edible garden !
If you have a yard...
Plant hardy produce. Easy vegetables to grow are, asparagus, tomatoes, fennel, parsley, rocket, spinach, silverbeet, potato, pumpkin, basil, rosemary, dill, corn, zucchini, cucumber and radish.
Companion Planting - plant "companions" together. Planting certain things next to each other is known as "companion planting", and it's natural pest control. For example, basil is a companion for tomatoes and beans. Never plant tomatoes without planting basil close by. The herb is crucial as part of prevention of white fly. Plant rosemary near beans and swiss chard (silverbeet). Chives and carrots are good companions.
Stagger your planting - to spread out the season. How to grow tomatoes ? Instead of growing tomatoes all at once, plant some tomatoes now and some a few weeks later. You don't want to end up with hundreds all at once. Unless your're going into competition with Dolmio.
Opt for organic pesticides - the safes deterrent is [Yates] Natures's Way Dipel, an organic bacteria that's sprayed on to vegies. You can spray, pick, wash and eat your vegetables immediately. Or make your own organic pesticide : Steep 2 - 3 cloves of crushed garlic for several hours in hot water. Strain and spray on leaves.
If you don't have a yard...
Plant in pots in a sunny indoor spot or balcony - Get a container at least 40cm deep. Pumpkins aren't exactly pottable but broccoli, celery, leeeks, beetroot and strawberries are. Make sure you plant in at least 23cm of soil for herbs/leafy vegetables; 30cm for most vegies and at leas 40cm for vetables like potatoes, tomatoes and cumcumber. Vegetables like potatos do well in grow bags or a bin with drainage holes on your balcony (if they get sun). Mint and parsley are superior indoor plants - they'll grow in shade.
Plant spounts on your kitchen bench - You can grow vegetables from alfafa and broccoli sprouts to mung beans and lentils.
Create a hanging-basket garden - Plant shallow-rooted vegies like herbs and silverbeet, warrigal greens, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, strawberries, zucchini (they'll trail out of the basket) and snow peas (if you plant them around the edge of the basket, they'll also trail) Important: make sure you keep the soil moist.
Grow microherbs in old punnets - Fill with soil, plant seeds then water, put the lide on, leave on a sunny shelf and water when the soil's dry. Although you could transplant the seedlings to a pot to grow to maturity, you can pick the baby leaves and use them to garnish meals or canapes.
Get a potted fruit salad tree - It's miraculously bear up to 8 differnt fruits - eg: oranges, mandarins, lemons, limes, grapefruits, tangelos and pomelos - with staggered ripening times.
When to grow vegies ?
Vegetables can be loosely grouped according to their growing season.
Cool Season Vegetables: Grow best when temperatures are between 10-20 degrees C or even lower. They include: broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, onions, peas, spinach and turnips.
Intermediate Season Vegetables: These are best between temperatures of 15-25 degrees. Include: beetroot, carrot, parsnip, celery, leek, lettuce, radish, silver beet.
Warm Season vegetables: Are grown best when temperatures are above 20 degrees C. Include: Beans, capsicum, eggplant, potato, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato and cucurbits (including cucumbers, zucchini, pumpkins etc.)
Soil – Soil is often the easiest thing to adjust to your growing needs. In fact, strictly speaking, soil is not absolutely necessary. Vegetables can be grown in potting mix or in a hydroponic set up, but the most common medium is still good garden soil. Soil must have good drainage and a good structure. Regular incorporation of old organic matter (such as compost) will keep the soil functioning well.
Nutrients – Vegetables, more than most other plants, need to be supplied with adequate nutrients.
Mineral fertilisers: are reliable sources of good quantities of nutrients. Mixes with a balanced NPK ratio are suited to a wide range of crops. Balanced, all-purpose fertilisers, such as Thrive All Purpose, can be mixed into the soil before planting. Soluble fertilisers, such as Thrive, can be applied in liquid form to plants during their early stages of growth. Additional dressings of Sulphate of Potash and Superphosphate may be necessary, especially for fruiting and root crops.
Organic Fertilisers: are derived from once-living material. They’re excellent for improving soil, but their nutrient levels can be very variable. In recent years, however, increased interest in these products has led to many improvements, with fertilisers such as Dynamic Lifter organic pellets now having guaranteed nutrient levels.
The Hydroponic Garden
Hydroponics is the system in which plants are grown without soil. Using hydroponics to grow plants can be beneficial for many growers. Hydroponics allows plants to be grown faster and with less of a hassle. In hydroponics plants are grown in a solution consisting of water and nutrients required for a particular plant, or within a system that uses a substrate or growing mix medium. There are several hydroponics techniques and systems that exist for producing plant crops. Read More...