Vege Garden Know-How
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.