Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE - Janita Singh

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.

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