Vege Gar­den Know-How

Latitude Magazine - - GARDEN -

Noth­ing beats the taste of fresh veges straight from your own gar­den: you can grow ex­actly what you want and know ex­actly what you’re eat­ing. Mitre 10 MEGA Ash­bur­ton of­fers some in­spi­ra­tion when it comes to get­ting started on your home­grown jour­ney.

The first step is de­cid­ing where your vege gar­den is go­ing to be. Con­sider prox­im­ity to the back (or front) door, sun and shel­ter. While for some trans­form­ing a sec­tion of the gar­den into an ed­i­ble space might be the way to go, for oth­ers the ad­di­tion of raised beds will be more de­sir­able.

The next step is then de­ter­min­ing what you want to grow and when the best time to plant it will be. A vege grow­ing plan will help you de­cide what, when and where to plant (you can down­load one at mitre10.co.nz/veg­e­grow­ing-plan) and of­fer in­spi­ra­tion for what to grow next.

As far as plant type goes, mod­ern hy­brid va­ri­eties are typ­i­cally higher yield­ing, bet­ter tast­ing, and more dis­ease-re­sis­tant. If you are start­ing from seed, start ger­mi­nat­ing in a mini­glasshouse in a seed tray, and then trans­plant into the gar­den. For those ner­vous about their green thumb (or two) start out by buy­ing seedlings. It will save time, and of­ten only a small num­ber of plants are needed. Look for good-qual­ity seedlings around 5–8 cm in height, with 6–8 fully-formed leaves.

Pre­par­ing your soil is best done with a vegetable mix. A high-qual­ity nat­u­ral-based plant­ing mix with the right blend of nu­tri­ents will give your veges the best pos­si­ble start, and sus­tained growth through­out the sea­son. You can also boost your soil with a liq­uid fer­tiliser like sea­weed tonic. Also make sure you are con­sid­er­ing the con­di­tion of your soil. If it has a lot of clay in it, or al­ka­line, your veges won’t grow well.

Be­fore you start plant­ing make a plan – di­vid­ing your space into sec­tions, or grow­ing zones. Lay out your plants ac­cord­ing to your grow­ing zones, leav­ing space for suc­ces­sion and com­pan­ion plant­ing. Stake or frame any veg­eta­bles, such as beans, that re­quire a struc­ture to grow around.

Adding a layer of pea straw mulch to pro­tect your plants against the el­e­ments will also keep the roots moist, and keep the weeds at bay. Stag­ger your plant­ing and sow a lit­tle, but of­ten.

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