Tips To Start An Edible Garden
This post is written by Natasha Kuperman. Natasha is a keen novice gardener and owner of an unruly backyard slowly being transformed into an edible garden. She is Founder of Swap Shuffle Share, the website connecting food gardeners across Australia. I am thrilled to have Natasha visit and share her wisdom. Her site is one of the ones I visit most often, I find it informative, interesting, and social. I love reading the tips on the forums and browsing the interest groups. There is a constant stream of new information.
Hi I am Natasha, a self-confessed passionate practical gardener, and what I like to plant most is an edible garden. To me it makes sense that most of the garden space I have should be used to feed me and my family. I would encourage others who are thinking about planting edible plants to take the plunge -you won’t regret it. Even committing to grow a few of your favourite herbs in a few pots by your back door can be a rewarding experience.
So where do you start? There are so many options that it can be confusing, but don’t lose heart! It’s important to focus on what works for you and here are my suggestions:
Where do I plant my garden?
Selecting a site for your edible garden is often based on the space that you have available, but it is worth noting that full sun is often recommended for vegetables and fruit trees, but most also do well in part shade. Herbs such as coriander, will actually do better in shade over Summer, otherwise they can quickly bolt to seed in the warmer months, limiting their harvest period. You can also sneak edibles into established ornamental gardens, there is no need to separate the ornamental and the edible.
Seed, Seedlings or plants?
Selecting to grow from seed, purchasing seedlings in punnets, or more advanced plants in pots often comes down to budget and patience. I like to grow from seed, but I also purchase seedlings, and I’m also happy to give an advanced plant a new home if a fellow gardener is wanting to give one away!
Five simple guidelines on what to plant
Here are some ideas on helping you choose what to plant when you’re starting out:
- Choose items that you want to eat and cook with-nothing fuels your enthusiasm like cooking your favourite recipes with home-grown produce
- Choose items that suit the conditions and the area that you live. I may be able to grow a Mango tree in Melbourne but it would need some special attention. It’s a better choice if I plant something that is more suited to Melbourne’s temperate climate, like a heritage apple, pear or fig tree
- Be selective. it’s better o start with a few different items and then expand your selection as your confidence grows
- Choose something that you want a small amount of, often. Herbs and spring onions are a good example of these types of edibles
- Choose items that you can’t readily buy at the local supermarket. There are many varieties of fruit and vegetables that aren’t ‘supermarket-friendly’ as they don’t store or transport well, that make wonderful backyard edibles
When do I plant?
Working out ‘when-to-plant-what’ is an essential step. Online resource Gardenate has a seasonal calendar that provides a useful guide on establishing a basic planting calendar. There are also many garden reference books that feature details on the climate areas around the country to get to you heading in the right direction. All seed packets usually have details on the best time to plant and I store my seeds according to season for easy reference.
Connecting with other practical gardeners
Once you’ve committed to starting your own edible garden, or if you have one already, join the Swap Shuffle Share website . Our purpose is to connect you with food gardeners local to you, and to those gardeners with similar interests. We do this by providing an active online community where you are welcome to post your questions, read through the forums or check out the articles and recipes (including some from A Fresh Legacy) that we have available for inspiration.
*Note: Swap Shuffle Share is now: My Home Harvest
Enjoy your garden, enjoy your produce and rejoice in the fact that you have grown it yourself and know that it’s the freshest food you can be providing for yourself and your family.
Thank you for visiting A Fresh Legacy Natasha and for the fantastic tips on getting started with an edible garden. Providing my family with the freshest possible food is my main reason for having a garden. I also love to see the wonder and excitement on the face of my 4 year old as he picks something from the garden to eat.
Note: All images on this post are copyright and provided courtesy of Swap Shuffle Share.
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