You may remember my recent post about starting my own veggie garden. Well, with the help of my friend Chippi (or Philippa as she’s officially known) we’ve been digging and composting and watering and weeding for the past two months. And I’m proud to say that we ate our first home-grown salad a few nights ago, using rocket from my very own garden.
There’s nothing more satisfying than eating something you’ve grown yourself and it’s been wonderful watching Rachel learn and discover new things. At the moment we’re nurturing radishes, carrots, cabbages, broccoli, celery, green beans, broad beans, spinach, lettuce, spring onions, chives, coriander, thyme, rocket, edible flowers and one rogue potato plant!
I wouldn’t have had the know-how to do this all by myself but with a little guidance and research, having your own abundant garden is well within most people’s grasp. And you don’t need loads of space to do it in either, there are lots of creative ways to grow things if space is limited.
I thought I’d ask Philippa to share some advice on starting your own garden, for anyone who’s keen to do a similar thing themselves. Below are her top five tips:
1) Plan, plan and plan some more. Sun is vital for veggies to grow and if they don’t have at least six hours of sunshine a day, then you’re wasting time and money. Pick the spot you want to grow things in, do a sun map and see where you have full and partial shade.
2) Check your soil type. Make sure you have the best medium possible for any seedlings or seeds being planted. Add compost, manure and fertilizer (depending on the plants you’re growing) before you plant. Water in your soil well, so that seedling roots don’t get burnt before they have a chance to take hold.
3) Think about what you eat and base your choices around that. It’s great having beans in your garden but if you don’t like beans, you’re wasting valuable soil for something that you’ll never enjoy.
4) Be seasonal. Some plants are season-specific. There’s no point growing cucumbers in winter for instance.
5) Get creative. If turnips aren’t a major food source in your household then experiment with a few. Grow a smaller crop and search the Net or recipe books for interesting cooking ideas. It might open up new vegetable doors that you hadn’t thought of!
But most of all, Philippa says it’s important to experiment and have fun. She says that “a veggie garden is a living organisim in itself that will grow and mature and change over time. It develops as any relationship would – so you need to spend time seeing what works best and what you value most from it”.
If you’d like help setting up your own garden (only for Joburgers- sorry!), Philippa can be contacted via email at email@example.com. Her veggie garden business is called “How Splendid” and her website will soon be up and running.
(Pics of how our garden looked before and after…cool hey?)