This post is by regular contributor Kyrstie Barcak of A Fresh Legacy.
My vegetable garden is my sanity. I get a great feeling of achievement and satisfaction when I pick produce from my garden for dinner. I love to feed my family from our garden. I also love to spend time with my two children in the garden watching things grow, caring for the plants and talking about the smell, look, feel and growing habits. I have found that having my children involved in the garden pays great dividends at the dinner table. My 4 year old will eat anything that has come from the garden. Being outdoors also helps my boys to burn off the excess energy they seem to have an abundance of! Some of the activities we have enjoyed in the garden together include: making a worm farm, scarecrow, and garden markers.
I encourage you to take advantage of any space available, no matter how small, to grow fresh vegetables for your family. If you do not have room for a defined vegetable garden you can easily plant vegetables between regular plants in your garden or in pots, anywhere you have some space.
Despite having decent space in my yard and great sized raised beds, I am also slowly taking over the backyard to squeeze in more and more vegetables! The picture below shows onions in a pot amongst ranunculi flowers. Last year I made some Onion and Chilli Chutney and this year I want to make at least double the amount as it ran out way too quickly! I have onions squeezed into every spare pot and space I could find.
When deciding what to plant in my garden I take into consideration:
- Will my family eat it when it grows? There is no point planting cabbage in my garden as I don’t like to eat it.
- How did that vegetable yield last year? Do I need to plant more or less?
The plan below outlines what I am planting this season (Spring in Australia). Use it as a guide if you are at a loss for what to plant at the moment. You do need to get started NOW if you have not yet done so, in order to reap the rewards in the coming warmer months.
There are so many variables that influence how successful your crop is (or isn’t) such as:
- Position of the garden beds or pots
- Quality of the plants and soil, and amount of water received
- What you had planted in the space in the previous season
Take notes each time you plant something and make your own adjustments next year based on the results. Take note of what worked well and what did not. You can also reference this useful site that outlines a planting guide for the different climate zones in Australia.
In my garden we are currently growing;
All year: Lettuce, rocket, spinach. Carrots can be grown in all seasons except Winter.
Plant: Beetroot, carrot, peas and beans. Mid to end of spring plant – tomatoes, capsicum, chilli, sage, chives, mint, pak choy, potatoes and pumpkin.
Activities: Plant as many seeds and plants as you can find space for as it is perfect growing conditions at this time of year – not too hot and not too cold. Fertilise at the start of spring as everything has a growth spurt and then again at the end of Spring. At the end of Spring also weed and mulch in preparation for the hot days.
Get out into your garden and plant as much as you can to ensure that you and your family reap the rewards in the coming months.
Have you started planting yet? What have you planted?