BACKYARDS ARE BEING TRANSFORMED AS AN ORGANIC FOOD BASE
THERE’S a revolution happening in our backyards.
Trampolines are being replaced with raised vegie patches and greenhouses are taking the place of cubby houses, all in the name of growing fresh, organic fruits and vegies.
Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a novice, growing your own veggies is an easy way to round out meals with some fresh produce and healthy nutrients, David Hardie of Bunnings says.
What’s more, gardening can be enjoyed as a therapeutic hobby on your own or as a family.
If you choose your plants wisely, growing just a few of your own vegetables can help offset the relatively high cost of buying them from supermarkets.
To start your winter garden, think comfort food, Hardie says.
“Cabbage, carrots, celery, cauliflower, garlic, leeks and onions that grow well in the colder months are all perfect additions to hearty soups, stews and casseroles,’’ he says.
To complement these, Hardie suggests planting herbs such as parsley, rosemary, oregano, and thyme.
Asian greens, rocket, lettuce, spinach, mint and shallots also perform well in winter.
To get your winter garden going, Hardie suggests the following:
MAKE A COSY BED: Raised veggie patches keep soil warmer and allow water to drain easily.
Portable greenhouses also keep produce sheltered. For small backyards, plant vegetables and herbs in pots, planter boxes or invest in vertical gardening kits.
REMOVE WEEDS AND DEAD PLANTS: This prevents the buildup of disease and insects from previous seasons. Don’t throw away dead plant matter which can be a valuable addition to your compost.
REJUVENATE SOIL: Mix soil with fertiliser
and compost to promote healthy plant growth. MULCH: The primary reason for winter mulching is to protect plants from the harsh conditions of winter freezes, thaws and winds.
About 3-5cm is a good amount for most mulches; make sure to pull it away from the trunks of plants and small seedlings to keep them dry.
WATERING: There’s no need to water as much as in summer.
If you’re using an automated tap timer, consider turning the tap off after rain and turning it back on in dry spells.
Starting an edible winter garden isn’t hard, it just requires time and a commonsense approach, says David Hardie of Bunnings.