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Monday, 19 September 2011 13:05

The Secret to Fresh Home Grown Vegetables

Tired of vegetables from the supermarket that are tasteless and deteriorate within days of purchase? Have you always loved the idea of building your own vegie garden but aren't quite sure how?

Growing your own fresh vegetables is easy. Warm weather and frost-free nights mean the vegetable gardening season is in full swing. We've put together some tips on creating the perfect vegetable garden.

Step 1 – Choosing where to put the vegie patch

Vegetables need a spot that is in full sun and protected from strong wind. It is also important to separate the veggie garden from other big plants or trees, so the roots do not get in the way. You can use a patch of grassed area, or put some pots on the verandah.

Step 2 - What to Plant

Personal preference decides what vegetables to plant. However, the following vegetables are best grown in Spring:

Carrots Tomatoes
Spring Onion Silver beet
Peas Ginger
Potatoes Rocket
Asian Vegetables Lettuces
Cucumbers Capsicum
Eggplant Cherry Tomatoes
Zucchini Cabbage
Herbs Beetroot

Step 3 – Preparing your soil and planting

The secret to a successful vegetable garden is in the soil preparation. This needs to be done one month before planting. The soil needs to be well-drained with a good structure (nice and crumbly) that allows rapid root growth and easy access to nutrients, water and air.

Add compost, organic matter and manure to ensure that the soil is rich and nutritious. Add some plant tonic, soil conditioner and slow release fertilizer. Leaf vegetables need fertilisers that are high in nutrients, while fruit and root vegetables need a good supply of phosphorous.

The degree of soil acidity (i.e. the pH) can affect nutrients available to plants. Most vegetables thrive in soil with a pH between 6 and 7. A simple pH test with a soil testing kit will indicate if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline.

Planting is the easiest bit! Seeds are the cheapest way to buy the plants. Follow the instructions on the pack regarding seed spacing and depth, ensuring you water daily (but do not drown the seeds) for the first few weeks.

In no time you will be cooking with those home grown vegetables. To turn everyday vegies into flavour sensations, add a liberal pinch of sea salt and a sprinkling of fresh rosemary, thyme and olive oil. Cook them up with a succulent roast at your next dinner party and be sure to show off your vegetable garden!


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