Growing vegetables in your garden is a rewarding hobby – not only does it promote healthy eating and save you money on groceries, it keeps you in touch with nature’s earthy delights.
Guildford Garden Centre Owner Joanne Harris spoke with New Homes on the benefits of starting your own vegetable patch and offered some helpful tips for those who wanted to get their plot off to a good start.
“Growing your own vegetables has a number of positive outcomes,” Ms Harris said. “The quality of the produce is generally better and knowing that you have grown your food with little-to-no chemicals applied is certainly a benefit.”
Firstly, healthy soil is paramount if you want your vegetables to be at their finest quality.
“Soil is one of the most important ingredients in your vegetable patch,” Ms Harris said. “Buying a good quality soil improver is the key.
“I always use soil from The Green Life Soil Co because its vegetable concentrate is excellent.”
The next step is to invest in a raised garden bed.
“The raised garden bed can assist in keeping vermin such as rabbits out and, for those gardeners with mobility issues, the raised bed makes gardening easier,” Ms Harris said.
“After the initial investment of a raised garden beds and soil, vegetable gardening becomes easier with more productive crops.”
Ms Harris advised gardening neophytes to start with easy vegetables like carrots, spinach and lettuce.
“With winter coming on, think about trying your hand at growing potatoes, garlic, cabbage or broccoli,” she said.
Winter aside, Ms Harris said heat was going to be your main source of consternation when growing your garden, especially in Perth.
“Make sure you deep water your garden and add a good thick layer of mulch to keep the water from evaporating,” she said. “I use a 40cm layer of Lupin Mulch in my vegetable garden year-round.
“Yates Waterwise DroughtShield is a product that many Perth gardeners use to protect their plants.
“This is applied to the entire plant and will assist in preventing water loss by up to 50 per cent.
“It forms a clear polymer film over leaves, protecting them from damaging environmental conditions, including heat, water loss, drying winds and light frosts.”
During particularly hot weather, Ms Harris said it would be a good idea to avoid pruning.
“Avoid pruning during the heat, you don’t want to encourage new soft growth because it could burn and, unless two-thirds of the plant is burnt, don’t prune off the damage,” she said.
As far as keeping your vegetables safe from pests, Ms Harris recommends a couple of home remedies.
“If you prefer to stay away from chemical pest control, there are a number of home remedy methods,” she said.
“Soapy water for aphids, beer traps for slugs and snails, citrus peel can also assist with slaters.
“However, the most effective way to prevent pest and diseases is to have healthy plants from good soil and adequate fertiliser.
“The healthier your plants, the less pest and diseases you will need to battle.”