Have you always wanted to grow your own food, but aren’t quite sure how to get started? Home-grown food has never been trendier — and for good reason, as it’s tastier, fresher, healthier, and a lot better for the environment.
As it turns out, growing your own food is easier than you may think. Whether you’re starting your first veggie patch or looking to brush up on your gardening skills, we spoke to Simon Holloway from Vegepod – an Australian-owned company that sells raised garden bed kits – about everything you need to know about growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs at home.
When it comes to growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs at home, sunlight is a must, so where you’re going to plant your garden is super important. Simon says most fruit and vegetables grow best with plenty of sunlight, while leafy greens, like lettuce and baby spinach, and herbs don’t require as much sunlight.
“So, [for] fruit and veg, we’re talking a minimum six to eight hours a day,” he says. “[While] leafy greens and herbs can get away with probably four hours or so of direct sunlight.”
It’s a no-brainer that choosing good quality soil is key to a successful veggie patch as the soil is a major source of nutrients needed by fruit and veggies for growth, but it’s something most people often overlook. Not sure what to start? Simon recommends opting for a premium potting mix. To know if a potting mix is of good quality, he says to look out for a logo printed on the bag with a series of ticks. These ticks can be either black or red and mean this potting mix has passed a series of stringent tests.
When it comes to choosing the right fruit and vegetables for your veggie patch, Simon says it comes down to three things. “I always say one for yum, one for done and one for just a bit of fun.”
First things first, plant what you and your family like to eat. Simon says there’s no point planting some exotic vegetable or fruit if no one’s going to eat it. He also recommends planting some fruit and veggies, like tomato, bok choy and baby spinach, that take little to no time to grow. And for just a bit of fun, Simon says to go out and pick something out there, like a vanilla bean orchid, to grow.
Simons says water is one of the most important things for your veggie garden. Too little water can cause plants to wilt and die, while too much can be just as bad and impact the overall health of your plant.
“Not only can you underwater, but you can [also] overwater,” he says. “For example, if you’ve got a sensitive plant like coriander, as soon as you start overwatering, bang down she goes.”
If you’re short on time, Simon reckons a wicking bed, like a Vegepod, is the best way to go as it takes care of the watering for you.
When it comes to choosing a location for your veggie patch, Simon recommends planting closer to the house. This will make it easier to check up on your plants and pick fresh produce while cooking. He also recommends choosing a spot that’s raised like a terrace so you won’t be bending down as much.
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