Whether you are growing a garden full of flowers, a vegetable patch teeming with all sorts of produce, or a simple but thriving apartment garden on your back deck using pots. Whatever your gardening approach may be, I think we all collectively believe and know of the magic that exists in gardening. This magic exists in discovering and meeting little insects that you wouldn’t normally cross paths with, the bees that zip, and butterflies that dance with their wings around your plants. Also, the more unfavourable garden guests such as the grasshoppers, caterpillars, and other creepy crawlies (that you don’t know the names of) are all still so interesting, especially if you have a curious little child by your side to show them to…. and then shoo the insects off after, hehe. There is a whole new world that comes alive when you have a garden! The magic lies in discovering how therapeutic and relaxing it is to work the soil and coming back inside with dirt shoved up beneath your nails knowing how much love has gone into it all. This magic is also found in watching vegetables and fruits form in ways you did not know of and watching their journey from being so small to being ready to harvest. It is watching your garden bloom and grow. It is being part of nature doing it’s thing and realizing how amazing it all really is.
I haven’t been a long time gardener, but I did grow up with a vegetable patch and chicken coop in my backyard as a child that my parents tended to and that I always admired. This had always been my vision for my own family, long before I even had a family. Now, we do have a veggie patch which has been a delight and it has really enriched our lives. There have been some things that I have picked along the way and I would love to share them with you.
Love your garden and spend time in it. There are many tips and tricks to discover and learn, which are all fabulous, but I really do believe that the more time you spend in your garden, loving it and caring for it, the more you start to understand it and get to know it. You can more easily recognize its needs and you pick up on things that perhaps you would have missed if you hadn’t spent that time in it. It’s not just about operating a successful veggie patch, it has to be about enjoying it too. You can’t just stand back and watch a garden expecting it to just do it’s thing, (although, it is lovely getting caught up in a daydream watching my garden from my kitchen window), you also have to be part of your garden and I believe that by doing so, our gardens give us more back – more produce because we have been there to tend to it and also more wisdom in knowing a garden.
Start off small. I know that for me before I started my own veggie patch, I had in my head my dream veggie patch and sometimes it was really overwhelming even trying to think of where to start because there seems to be so many different aspects to it. When I did decide to start my veggie patch I pushed that dream picture in my head aside and decided it was just best to start somewhere, no matter how small it may be to begin with, even if it’s just growing a patch of silverbeet (I do recommend growing silverbeet if you have never gardened before). The good thing about starting off small is that you can always grow and expand from that. If you start off big all guns blazing, sometimes that high can turn to a low really quickly once you realize how much effort is involved on a large scale and it would be sad to see a garden never come to full fruition because you got burnt out early on. I started off clearing out a section of my garden to grow a small amount of veggies, then I cleared out the next section and grew more. It’s okay to have a small beginning.
Be open. If you are a parent you would have heard the saying ‘no child is the same, they all do and learn things differently’. I really do believe that this also applies to gardeners. Of course, there are always fundamentals, the things that definitely work, and the things that definitely don’t work in gardening. But be open to finding out who you are as a gardener. It’s okay to experiment and to try different approaches or different ideas. Don’t let people just tell you how to do it. If you really want to find your own grooves as a gardener, always be open to taking on board ideas from others, but also learn from your own mistakes and journey, get creative and discover your own techniques.
Some practical tips for a veggie patch are:
- Make sure your plants have plenty of sunlight. Gardens need quite a lot of sunlight each day to be able to grow and produce. You can water your garden all you like, but if it doesn’t have the right amount of sunlight as well, it just won’t be able to flourish. (A minimum 6 hours of sunlight a day is required, some plants may need more)
- Flowing on from the tip above. Before you start your garden, really think about where it should be. It’s not just about easy access or being able to see it from you kitchen window. Think…where is the best spot for it to receive the most amount of sun? Do I need to move any shrubs or other plants for it to create more sunlight and air circulation in my garden? Is it in an area where water collects and sits when it rains? Plants need good drainage. Is the soil too rocky? Roots and root vegetables can’t grow out properly if there are rocks/pebbles underground. Also, ask yourself, do you have enough time to tend to the size of garden you want?
- Know your seasons and when to plant. Here where I am in QLD, get your seedlings in the ground in the first part of spring if you want the most harvest from them. If your garden has awesome exposure to sun (which is ideal) it is just way too hot to be planting seedlings any later than that. They basically die and shrivel up from the heat of the sun (been there, done that, eep). I’m not saying it’s impossible, as I have helped seedlings get through the heat before. I’m just saying, it’s a lot easier going on you and the plants if you pick the right time to plant. Do your research.
- Plant bee and butterfly attracting flowers throughout your garden. We need these guys around to pollinate so our gardens can keep producing! Plus, it’s good to help those guys out, too, giving them a bit of a haven.
- I have learnt this next tip the hard way: water the root area and not the foliage. This is a way to keep diseases at bay. Also, make sure your garden is always free of weeds. Space your plants out so that there is enough air circulation in and around the plants to avoid a build up of humidity, especially in the warmer states like QLD. Too much humidity can lead to mold and bacteria growth and contribute to the spreading of it, especially if plants are in super close proximity to each other.
- Choose an organic mulch for your garden like sugarcane mulch. None of that plastic stuff. Not only is this better for the environment because it naturally decomposes into the ground, it also provides the soil with extra nutrients while doing so, it keeps the ground cool and the moisture in so your garden doesn’t dry out too quickly, and it suppress’ the growth of weeds.
Well, that’s it folks. I’m sure I could go on and on about gardening, and there is still so much more to gardens than I have just written here. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, do an adequate amount of research so that you can confidently start your garden, and if you have any other buddies who also have a garden, draw inspiration from one another! I hope this has inspired you in some way also!
Hi, I’m Jess. I live in sunny Queensland with my husband and son. I have been in love with nature for as long as I can remember and this love lead me to start my own veggie patch for my family & I to enjoy in our everyday life. You can find me on Instagram and follow all of our nature and gardening adventures at thesebeautiful.fleetingmoments.
If you would like to get started on your very own garden, we have a variety of flower, herb, and vegetable seeds available as well as seed bombs. Our seeds are buy 4 and get the 5th free, so what are you waiting for? Head over now and grow your own garden in 2019! Don’t forget to tag us on Insta so we can share your beautiful gardens with our community!