As we are taking time to appreciate the earth during earth week, I thought it would be a great idea to write a blog post about growing your own vegetables and flowers, and as I come from a family of "Green Thumbs" this blog post is actually written by my mum who has taught me a lot about plants, growing vegetables and the importance of it too.
I always like to have some form of produce growing at home, herbs in my kitchen or in pots on the deck to use in cooking to make my meals more flavoursome and a vegetable garden with fresh produce to use for meals, especially salads!
My favourite plants to grow are thyme, mint, basil, chives, kale, lettuce, spinach, peas and beets! My mum would always have something growing when I was growing up, and these were not just small vegetable garden boxes in your backyard, I am talking rows and rows of capsicums (bell peppers) lettuces and fennel.
I remember helping her to pick these vegetables and then we would go to the markets on a Sunday and sell them to the locals, it was such a memorable part of my childhood that I am so grateful for because I learnt so much, that is why I have brought her on the blog to tell you more on what you can do to grow your own vegetables and flowers.
A few tips for growing vegetables:
1. Make sure you choose an area that has adequate sunshine, at least 5 - 6 hours per day. Some vegetables such as cabbage or spinach can survive with less.
2. Use a good garden soil and add some compost to give it a boost of nutrients but leave it for a couple of weeks before planting into the soil to avoid any damage to the young plants.
3. Attend to your garden regularly and get rid of any unwanted weeds. Use a hoe in the lanes but hand weed around the plants and be careful not to disturb the growing plants.
4. Water thoroughly at least 2 times per week as opposed to a light water as this will encourage the roots to grow deeper to find moisture and making them stronger. But in the drier weather you may need more.
5. Use Organic seedlings or seeds (depending if you are raising from seeds) when you can.
6. Having organic fertiliser to feed your plants (chemical free is best) You can make your own if you are super keen. I use a fish fertiliser which encourages great growth. This can be sprayed on anything in the garden including flowers and fruit trees.
7. Do not forget to put some slug and snail bait out but not too close to the soil as the water will wash the pellets into your food. Organically you can collect some slugs and snails and squash them around your area.
8. Place Mulch on top on the soil to help slow down any unwanted weeds and helps keep the beds or garden from drying out.
9. Plant flowers such as marigolds around your vegetables which are well known for repelling insects (strong smelling kind) and they look pretty. Collect the seed heads for future planting.
10. Planting Calendula, sunflowers, fox gloves to name a few will help attract the bees. Also herbs such as basil, English Lavender, fennel, mint, rosemary and sage.
11. Have fun creating your garden and enjoy eating your organic vegetables.
MUMS IMPORTANT TIPS:
- Growing Home grown vegetables and flowers that you can pick when you need them so there is no waste involved is the key and how fabulous would it be to say the Salad or vegetables we are eating tonight are from our garden!
- There are plenty of ideas for everyone and every situation, being a back yard vege and flower grower or just using pots on your deck or balcony because lack of space ....there are really no excuses not to give it a go and master the art of GROWING YOUR OWN!
- Creating your own vegetable and flower garden is great for your mind, physical health because you are spending time outdoors and health benefits from the sunshine or fresh air..not to mention playing in the dirt.
- If you are growing your vegetables and flowers in troughs or containers due to lack of space, that is ok, go for a walk after planting your garden for a reward and in the fresh air. (love the fit tip here from mum!)
- There is nothing more rewarding than a fresh bowl of freshly picked spinach, editable flowers, baby beetroot leaves, fancy lettuce - greens and reds, spring onion, kale to name a few from YOUR garden. Not to mention the nutrients packed in your fresh produce that you get which is amazing for your health and body of course.
- It's important to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, in as many different colours as possible as they are loaded with vitamins and minerals, eating a salad a day will also increase the level of powerful antioxidants in your blood. The basis of any salad, leafy greens, offer a huge nutritional benefit.
So come on lets go, lets grow.....and enjoy a healthy garden made by YOU!
Here are a few you tube links that you will get great benefit from watching and remember stay safe in your bubble, NZ we have got this...happy planting and healthy eating everyone!
Organic Slug & Snail Controls For Vegetable Gardens: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcFUXvff4fU
How to Build a Raised Vege Garden | Mitre 10 Easy As:
Natalie and Renee xx