Yum yum yum! Over the last few years the selection of veggies and herbs to grow at home has grown exponentially as the "Grow your Own" trend became the norm and continues to be popular. Edible gardening can also be fun with new selections of seeds ready to be sown now. Tomatoes are red... or are they? This season we have Pink, Green, Orange and even Brown Tomatoes. How about growing some pink stemmed celery?
Spring is the time to plant the first crop of summer edibles. Every garden or balcony has a spot for some herbs or veggies. Besides the cost savings the taste is always better and it is so rewarding when you put a salad on the table that is truly home made.
To grow the best you need to prepare the soil and make sure there is enough organic material and fertiliser to give you the best tasting crop. As any gardener knows, growing vegetables is more than about saving money. Growing your own vegetables is healthier for the family because the produce is fresh you can control which chemicals if any are used. It is better for the environment by reducing the cost of food transport, there are educational benefits for the children, and besides that the vegetables will taste so much better!
The general rule for growing food is if you are going to eat the leaves they will take a bit more shade, if you are going to eat the fruits or flowers give them more sun. The best tip on growing your own is to grow the produce your family will eat. Don’t grow pumpkins if only dad will eat it, it is easier to maintain interest if the whole family can share in the spoils. As your experience grows start to look at unusual varieties to add an element of discovery to your crop.
What do edibles need?
By giving the correct growing conditions a plant is produced that is more diseased resistant. Plant in a sunny position with at least six hours sun a day in well drained soil with plenty of compost. Good healthy soil will ensure good, healthy plants so this is probably the most important step you will take in growing your own vegetables.
Apply BioGanic at planting and again every six to eight weeks till harvest, this will give you strong plants that are less susceptible to disease and as organic produce, have the best flavour. Fruiting veggies, berries and trees need BioOcean as a feeding through summer to encourage flowers.
Feeding with an organic fertiliser is an on-going process and regular applications are required for best results. Veggies and herbs grow with stronger structure when fed organically instead of being forced with a chemical fertiliser which results in plants that have better colour and stronger flavour.
Care and Tips
- Water at least once a week in dry weather
- Plant a intervals to ensure a season long supply to avid an all ripe at once situation
- Use a liquid organic fertiliser, Nitrosol when growing veggies in containers.
- Harvest spinach and lettuce leaf by leaf to ensure a summer long supply
- Consider the need for crop rotation. Crop rotation is simply not to grow the same vegetable in the same bed for two seasons in a row to try to prevent depletion of nutrients in the soil.
- Don’t plant too many of the same. It won’t help if the tomatoes take over everywhere or you end up with only lettuce or Basil. Mix your choice and plant new supplies every 3-4 weeks to ensure continued supply.
- Plant seeds as well as seedlings to increase the selection. Seeds are a great way to introduce kids to gardening and for little ones let them try Radishes, they germinate in 4 days!
- Leafy crops are mostly "Cut and Come again" crops and are incredible value for money.
Two of the most popular veggies to grow from seed are the Tomatoes as well as Chillies here’s some extra tips for them.
Tomatoes do best in an area that gets full sun or at least 8 hours of sun, or they will get spindly and produce little mature fruit. They also produce well if you ensure a good soil at planting buy adding liberal compost and organic pellets. Crop rotation is one of the best way to ensure better quality fruit so we would recommend planting them in a different spot every year alternating with non related veggies such as beans or lettuce. Tomatoes do best with Bio Ocean
Chillies come in all shapes, sizes and colours ranging from tiny extremely hot chillies to the larger fleshy peppers. This is the best time of the year to select as you can harvest almost immediately. In our family it's always a challenge to see who will eat the hottest but somehow afterwards they always make it into the meal.
Chillies will grow in some light shade but grow best in hot sunny spots in a well-drained soil. Chillies do not need much water at all. Water them once or twice a week and keep them slightly dry between watering. Feed with an organic plant