Saturday, October 17, 2009

How does your garden grow...

Well, mine is just starting out. I've never had a vegetable garden before, and with all this money saving milarky I thought that it would be a logical first step. I also wanted to teach Grace about how things grow and that a garden is like a team — with the dirt, bugs and plants all working together. I think that she is more into the flowers than anything else.

I geeked out a bit with the planning of my garden, but I really want it to be successful so I jumped on the computer and did some research, as like any project, the more research you do the more successful it (should) be.

First: I figured out what I would like to grow and decided on things that we actually eat and would normally buy at the supermarket. There was no point growing masses of Aubergine because we don't eat them and it ends up being a waste. I thought about what I would like to do with the stuff too — so we'll be eating most, but I also wanted to make chutney, relish and jam from my harvests so that comes into play when planning the next step...

Second: Now I have my list I found this AMAZING site, Grow Veg, that you can sign up for a 30 day trial (and they don't spam you so it's all good to try it out) and here you can draw out your garden beds — all to scale — then drag and drop your veges into it from the menu bar above. That doesn't sound all that great, but the best part is that each vege has a coloured circle around it so you can figure out how much space you need! Amazing. It also has tips for companion planting which is mega awesome and very helpful.

Marking out where I will begin digging, almost
a shame to dig up my lovely grass!

Companion planting is when you plant things that like to be next to each other and they sort of help each other out, like what herbs to plant next to the veges so that the bees come along, or so that you're planting the same families together — beans with peas, but away from broccoli. It all gets very confusing but it's really interesting!

Third: ok, so now I know what I need to grow and how big my garden is going to be. Next I needed to find out WHEN to actually plant the stuff. I found this site, Garden Grow, which lets you put in your New Zealand location and it will give you the best times to plant everything based on where you live. You can sign up for reminders too if you're anything like me and life gets busy....

Fourth: This is the fun bit, buying all the stuff you need! I decided to plant my garden out all from seed. I purchased all my seeds from Eco Seeds who sell heirloom/non-hybrid seeds — they're seeds that you can collect seeds from the things you grow and re-grow them, so it makes things even more cost effective. The people that run the nursery are REALLY helpful and so nice, and you can pay by Internet banking which is nice. I purchased Basil, Beans, Broccoli, Capsicum, Carrots, Celery, Lettuce, Italian Parsley, Peas, Spring Onion, Sweet Pea, Thyme, Tomato Roma and Cherry Tomato's and including shipping it came to $52NZD which I thought was very good.
I also took a trip to Kings Plant barn for some bamboo poles, sunflower seeds and flowers to attract those bees!

My little seeds sprouting!
CW from Top Left: Peas, Sweet Peas, Beans, Broccoli.

Pest Control: for my pest control, I'm going to try a product called Neem Granules, it's ground up neem tree bark. You add a teaspoon full when planting out your seedlings so that the plant sucks it up as it grows and it makes the plant deter the bugs. We'll see how it goes! I also of course have some pellets and things to get rid of the slugs and snails. I'm trying to keep my garden as natural as possible, so the pellets are where it stops.

Next involved A LOT of digging. I did it all on my own — which was so satisfying! I had my dirt delivered by Central Landscaping Supplies (very cheap, all up $90 including it being delivered on a tipper-truck, much to the delight of Grace). I didn't have a wheel barrow (you really DO need one when gardening...) so had to shift a cubic metre of soil with nothing but 2 buckets and perseverance.

Top: Halfway there!
Bottom: Shifting all the soil, only half was left to go... it took me AGES

I've just planted out my seedlings into the garden after looking after them for around 7 weeks inside, we had a good downpour of rain this week which I think has wiped some of them out, so fingers crossed they don't all die! Now the waiting begins....

Here I have listed some links for the helpful sites that I have found:
NZ Gardener: handy for tips and advice
Ooooby: like facebook for garden people, it's pretty weird but kind of cool
Love to Know: tips and advice on almost anything
Square Foot Gardening: Once you get past his moustache, it's quite helpful
Kings Seeds: Seeds and supplies
Eco Seeds: Heirloom/Non-Hybrid seeds that all come with very helpful packets An article on raised garden beds e.g. how to build them, how they work etc.
Urbanmac: pre-made garden boxes, if you're so inclined
Allotments UK: cool gardening in small spaces, tips, advice etc.


Jen G. said...

Brilliant Jess!! I want to go out and dig up all our lawns now Johns finally mowed them!! Veggies!!

Lynne said...

A*W*E*S*O*M*E Jess and yes you are a superwoman =)

Ruby in the Dust said...

well done you; shifting all that dirt by yourself without a wheelbarrow!! great blog, I'll be back (said with Arnie's accent).

R.W. Scissors said...

Next time we're chatting let's arrange a time for a visit! Paul and I will come round for a quick cup of tea and impart our seedling-raising wisdom upon you :P You still have time for several more sowings in that lovely new dirt, even if the first lot doesn't survive :)

Bam Bam Creative said...

thanks everyone! I'm thinking about the next post and what I'll write about already! I have lots of goodies up my sleeve...

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