Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Starting your first backyard vegetable patch - part 1

A herbal garden at Beernem, Belgium

Decide on the plants to grow in your garden
The very first thing you need to do, before you even go outside to your backyard, is to decide which vegetables, fruits and nuts that you wan to grow. So make a list of them all - your wish list of plants.

Your location is important in determining what you can grow
While you may want to grow tropical fruit in a cold, mountainous climate, it may not be possible without a greenhouse and very specific conditions, before the plants can grow which is very energy-draining. It would be more beneficial for you and your garden, as well as being cost-effective to plant the vegetables, fruits and nuts that are the best for your climate.

ABC Australia has produced a very nice gardening guide about what to plant where, depending on where in Australia you live. This planting guide is based for Australia and its various regions - tropical, subtropical, arid, temperate, cool - you can find out what to plant in each month, depending on where you live in Australia. It's an excellent tool.

Decide if you want raised beds or to plant in the ground
You need to determine if you want to plant in the ground, creating garden beds in your space in the backyard, or use raised beds to plant your vegetables and fruits. There are a number of factors you need to consider, including the space you have, your finances (it does costs more money and more effort to set up the raised beds than conventional gardens), the quality of your soil and how much time you have to organise your garden.

I have written an article about the advantages and disadvantages of raised garden beds vs traditional gardens, which should help you decide.

Find out where you can buy heirloom organic seeds or seedlings
It is really important for people who want to have an organic garden that they use only certified organic seeds or seedlings that are heirloom. This means the seeds/seedlings coming from good stock, that is naturally pest resistant, provides a good crop on harvest and the seeds can be collected when the plant flowers to be used for the next season. In addition, being organic means that no chemicals have been used in conjunction with the seeds/seedlings and this is better for you and the environment.

Heirloom seeds (most of which are usually organic anyway) can normally be purchased from a lot of organic grocery and food stores, but they are also available online. Only seek out a genuine provider to ensure you get the best quality seeds and seedlings. You can find some great organic heirloom seeds at Amazon.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Grow your own foods - to save money and your health

Useful vegetables and fruits to grow

There  is nothing better than picking your own fresh vegetables and fruits from your own garden, especially when they are organically grown. They taste just delicious and are so good for you.

There are a number of vegetables and fruits you can grow in your own garden, whether that is outside in your backyard, on your balcony or even on your kitchen windowsill if you only have an apartment and not much room.

Backyard garden
If you have a house with some form of backyard, you can grow a number of vegetables and fruits to ensure you have fresh produce daily.

Some easy-to-grow fruits and vegetables are (but you can try others too):
  • Herbs - there are a number of great herbs to grow: basil, parsley, coriander among others
  • Lettuce - try the more exotic varieties in lots of different colours to get more antioxidants
  • Onions - spring onions, shallots or scallions are all different varieties of onions and are so good for you
  • Strawberries - they grow well in most gardens
  • Tomatoes - try the different varieties in different colours
Balcony garden
You can grow all the fruits and vegetables that are recommended for the simple backyard garden.

Window sill pots
If you are short of space you can still grow tomatoes and herbs in pots on your windowsill in the kitchen.

Here are some heirloom and organic seeds to try for your own organic garden (you can also search Amazon.com for heirloom seeds - which includes organic seeds - to find other seeds than the ones below):