Studies suggest that 52 percent of Australian households enjoy growing some food independently. If you also dream of growing your vegetables, fruits, and herbs at your home, you are at the right place. You might think you don’t have a green thumb, but don’t worry. There is a beginning to everything. With knowledge and some practice, you will grow lush vegetation at your home in no time. But as they say, the key to gardening is attention to detail and patience. So, follow this guide to begin your gardening journey.
- Determine your garden’s location
You might think you want a sunny backyard with big garden beds to start, but it is not. For starters, even a windowsill or a balcony is perfect. Additionally, you can check out options for community gardens in your area and become a part of them. However, ensure your chosen place has a lot of direct sunlight; otherwise, your efforts won’t bear fruit. Though you can grow certain vegetables in partial shade, five to six hours of sunlight is necessary for fruits to grow. You can try growing root or leafy vegetables if your garden is mostly shaded. Remember that your gardening spot should be accessible to you easily as you must regularly water the spot, weed the area, and harvest.
- Decide what to plant
Once you choose the gardening space, pick what you will plant there. First, understand what sort of plants will survive in your climate. You must also check the kind of sunlight available for every season. When growing edible plants, make sure you plant only those you or your family enjoy eating, or the harvest will go to waste. You can also consider vertical gardening if you are short of space. Vegetables like cucumbers, peas, and tomatoes grow well in vertical gardening trellis or fencing.
Now, here are some other easy-growing garden vegetables that you can consider.
- Green beans
- Swiss Chard
You can plant transplants or seeds. Seeds are the cheaper option. Transplants are young plants that can be bought and planted directly on the garden bed.Though planting an already growing plant is attractive as you stand a lesser chance of failure, know that some plants don’t transplant well. Also, consider planting some flowers that would attract pollinators. It will help your plants grow and is also good for the environment.
- Prepare your garden space
Your soil and space should be well prepared to start a garden. You can grow directly in your yard or use containers. Food containers are great for growing plants. Containers are great for wet areas as the plants need a lot of watering. When planting in the yard directly, the patch needs to be clear of weeds, and the soil should be loosened. You must also have access to fresh compost; your garden would need a dose of that every year.
- Buy gardening supplies
To begin a garden, soil, seeds, and fertilizers are needed. You would also need to get some tools before you start your garden. Before buying garden and power tools in Australia, you must consider the scope and size of your garden and the plants of your choice.
Here are a few tools you need to consider buying:
- Watering can: If you are starting a balcony or indoor garden, you will need a watering can as you won’t be able to use a hose.
- Gloves: Get a durable and thick pair, but they should not be bulky.
- Garden fork: This is like a big fork used to turn compost piles and the soil.
- Hand trowel: This small tool is for weeding and planting herbs and crops in containers.
- Pruning shears: You need them to prune your plants in fixed intervals. Bypass shears are the best, though many styles and sizes of pruning shears are available.
- Garden hose: If you have a big garden space, you need one with an adjustable nozzle to water your plants.
- Hoe: These are used for turning soil. A wide hoe that’s sturdy is good for a vegetable garden. More delicate and thinner ones work well in flower gardens.
- Rake: When making your compost, you need a standard leaf rake to gather debris while cleaning your garden area.
- Spade: It helps to dig deeper holes in hard soil.
- Fencing: You might want to fence your garden to keep animals away.
- Lawn mower: This will help you clear weed growth. You can also invest in a robotic mower to reduce your job!
- Get your soil tested and improve
The health of the soil determines the health of the garden. Begin by examining your soil. Check what kind of soil you have. Is it silt, sand, clay, rocks, or a combination of all of those?
Examine the pH level of the soil. Ideally, it should be neutral, with a value of around 7. Check for lack of nutrients and contaminants. Seek a lawn care company to test your soil.
- Get your planting beds prepared
Before you plant your garden, you must prepare your area a few months before the planting season starts. There are two seasons for gardening- fall, and spring. If you have a lot of time, use the no-dig sheet composting method known as “lasagna gardening.” This will help you turn organic waste – coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, and leaves – into the soil and nutrient-rich compost.
Follow the four steps given below to prepare your plant beds or soil.
- Lay down a cardboard box or newspaper as your garden bed.
- Make a one-inch thick base layer of small pieces of carbon materials like freshly cut grass, vegetable scraps, and peat moss.
- Add a layer of nitrogen materials like dry leaves, coffee grounds, and straws.
- To create at least four inches of organic compost, you must repeat the method.
Fertile, deep, well-drained soil is the prerequisite for most plants. Depending on the plant you want to grow, you can also buy worm castings. While you buy your products, make sure everything is organic and check if they have any harmful chemicals. After all, chemicals are hazardous for your soil, for you, and also for the produce.
- Start Planting
Most plants should be planted in fall except the ones like root vegetables which can withstand cold. You can also nurture your seeds or transplants in containers indoors before the season begins. Or, use grow lights or place them on the window sill. You will find instructions for planting on most of the seed packets, along with spacing and depth guidelines. Before you plant the seeds, moisten them lightly. Then, plant them three times as deep as the seed’s diameter. When planting transplants, push the plants from the bottom to loosen them. Massage tangled roots gently. That will loosen them up. and then set them into holes. Then, gently pat the soil around the roots and soak it in water.
- Nourish and keep your garden maintained
You should be aware of the maintenance and time commitment needed depending on the weather and what plants you have. With practice and observation, you will be able to find out the right amount of water your plants need. Ensure you don’t overwater or underwater, as both are deadly for your plants. Generally, around one inch of water is needed by plants every week during the growing season. You must also observe the weather, like rain or temperature drops, so water and cover your plants accordingly. Consequently, keep pests away from your plants and eliminate weeds regularly. You can get a nontoxic weed killer from a good lawn care company if you face the problem of intrusive weeds. If you see any dying, dead, or diseased plants, you should remove them immediately. Otherwise, they will affect your other plants and make them weaker.
- Harvest and Enjoy
Each plant has a different harvesting schedule. Study the ideal time to pick the plant you have planted in your garden. The harvest of some plants might be based on colors, like you would know by the color of berries or tomatoes the ideal time to pick them. They must ripen and sweeten off the vine. In other cases, like if you are growing peppers, you would like to pick them while they are a bit green. If you have planted leafy greens, you will have a different harvesting schedule. You will have to clip out the leaves simply, and then the plant will grow back for harvesting again.
With these tips in hand, you can begin your growing journey confidently. Consider reaching out to local professionals in case you’re having any trouble. Visit your local plant nursery or join community garden groups to get gardening advice and motivation from other gardeners. However, don’t be disappointed if you don’t get good results immediately; you will become a successful gardener if you keep at it.