A guaranteed way to get more from your vegetable garden
October 10, 2017
YOUR vegetable garden is unique. It is different to mine, and different to the neighbours. Each garden has a unique set of growing conditions, soil, orientation, infrastructure, time available be spent in it and expectations and requirements placed on it by the owner. As a result, the plants that grow well in it may not do well in another.
I experienced this recently in the context of my own garden. Pest issues arose in one of my garden beds. The same issues were not evident in the neighbouring garden bed that had been treated the same. The soil is the same, the soil additions and compost were the same, added on the same day. The beds are planted with different vegetables but of the same family. Despite these similarities, the results of the two beds have been markedly different. One garden bed has thrived and one has struggled.
I know why. I can make sure both beds thrive next year.
I keep a record of the planting in the garden beds each season and any soil additions and issues. Monitoring and recording varieties, planting and timing allows me to work out why there is a difference between the two garden beds. The companion plants in the garden bed that has thrived were the key difference between my two garden beds. I will add them again next year when I plant those vegetables. I know that the timing was a little too early for the plants when they first went into the space. Next year I will adjust the planting to a later date.
Keeping a record of what is growing well, and not growing well in your garden allows you to identify the specific variety of plants suited to your conditions. You can plant these each year with a level of certainty. I have tracked and identified my favoured Summer varieties of vegetables here. Keeping a journal has allowed me to identify these varieties and get great harvests every year.
Used consistently, a garden journal is a powerful tool. It provides a place for you to record the details of your gardening year. At the very least it is a way to record and monitor the variety of plants you add regularly to your garden. It is a record of YOUR garden, the results, good and not so good.
Keeping a record of your garden is THE guaranteed way to get great harvests from your vegetable garden. Watch, record and learn from your garden each season and the following one and all future ones will improve if you act on what you learn.
Helping you to move from the supermarket aisle to shopping the backyard for meal ingredients.
When you haven’t yet started a vegetable garden the thought of keeping notes about it sounds like a ridiculous task. I would not have contemplated doing so when I began my first vegetable garden. Now I wish I had started one earlier. My harvests and my routine would have been great and more refined earlier than they were.
Get your garden started and up and growing first. I created a journal originally because:
1. Vegetable gardening is addictive
2. When you are achieve your first successful harvests you will want to have more
3. You will NOT remember what variety you planted at what time of year.
4. The pride and satisfaction achieved from growing your own fresh food provides momentum to learn and grow more
Establishing a key set of items to focus on when you start, or grow a vegetable garden leads to great harvests. Over the past few years I have been testing, researching, working with and listening to my customers. I have worked in various spaces and backyard sizes, using different resources and materials. The result is a consistent set up process I now use for every garden set up I complete. I am currently using the same process in my own current garden renovation. The key process followed and set of principles used consistently delivers garden harvests for meals in a short period of time. I have outlined the steps I use to set up a vegetable garden in the Vegetable Garden Workbook.
It is designed to help you set up a new garden, or improve and existing one and guide you with tools that allow you to discover your own seasonal routine, the key items and plant varieties to focus on as part of your planning that can be repeated – year after year with little effort. Minor adjustments can be made as needed. A sample planting plan of a garden bed across the period of a year is included to help get you started.
This Workbook provides guidance on these commonly asked questions (and many more) I get asked regularly such as:
The workbook complements my book Grow Just One Thing – The first step in a fresh food journey. The book is about starting a vegetable garden with your children and experiencing the lifestyle changes that this can bring, including how you source, plan and cook your family meals. The Workbook is a practical guide to work through. You can save by purchasing both together as a bundle.
The ultimate outcome is a vegetable set up to in a suitable location, with great soil and planted with the correct seasonal plants leading to fresh harvests for your meals. It is perfect for someone moving to a new home or a family wanting to begin to add more fresh ingredients to the meal table from the backyard.
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