Unlock the Potential of your Garden during Lockdown!
When you're stuck at home for 3 weeks, you will be looking for something to do, so why not get out into the garden and start setting up a vegetable garden or herb patch.
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Staying at home for 3 weeks is bound to drive plenty of people mad, especially when you can't go anywhere. Rather than look on the negative side of the situation, put on your gardening gloves and grab your tools... it's time to get started on that vegetable garden or herb patch that you have been wanting to do for you don't know how long.
There's a reason why so many people love gardening, and it's not just about being able to stand back and enjoy the beautiful blossoms in full bloom. A love of gardening stems from being able to get in touch with nature, getting your hands dirty, breathing in the scents and aromas of fresh flowers, lush green grass... it's the scent of a herb garden as you brush your fingers over the stems or the aroma of a sun-kissed tomato growing on the vine. Yup, getting stuck into a few gardening tasks over the next 3 weeks will not only be good for the garden - it will also be good for body and soul.
Growing your own vegetables
- Sunshine is essential
Every vegetable garden needs plenty of sunlight - at least 6 hours a day. But if you have an area that receives 4 hours of sunlight and 2 hours of dappled sunlight, that should still be fine. I have managed to grow tomatoes, butternut and onions in an area that only receives sunlight for 5 hours a day, and the rest of the time it is full-on shade.
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- Easy to reach but out of the way
If you have pets, particularly dogs, you will want to set up your vegetable garden in an area where dogs won't trample everything flat. I prefer to make cheap raised planting boxes out of Nutec cement fibre board and PAR pine so that I don't have to bend down so much, to keep my veggies away from my furry friends, and also to keep snails and slugs away. If you're serious about setting up a vegetable garden, think seriously about this, as you want your garden to flourish without too much effort on your part and raised beds take the backache out of gardening.
- Only plant what is suitable
When you buy seeds for your vegetable garden, only plant what is suitable for planting in that particular season. The seed packets themselves will have a guideline to the best planting time, and for good reason. These guys know what works best in certain seasons, and following their advice will yield the best results.
Temperature, rainfall, frost... all of these have an effect on whatever will be planted, so if you're not one hundred percent sure and the seedling pack doesn't provide enough information, search online to gather as many details as you can. However, having said that, only refer to regions that have a similar climate to ours, such as Australia, so that the information you collect is suitable.
- Daily routine
Seeds need moisture and warmth to germinate, so it is important that you water regularly in the early stages. Once placed in the seedling mix or soil mix, the seeds should only take a week to start showing some growth. Continue to care for these regularly until they reach the stage where they need to be removed and placed in the containers or raised beds.
Once the seedlings are in their soil beds, continue to water regularly and also to apply an organic fertilizer to ensure good growth. It is also important at this stage to be on the lookout for pests. If you check on the seedlings once a day you will immediately see pests before they become a problem. Watch out for aphids, mealiebug, snails and slugs, or wilting, yellowing or browning of leaves. There are a lot of pests and diseases that can affect your nursery crop, and Google is on hand to answer almost any query you throw at it. But don't take the first answer, sometimes a bit of extra research may yield more honest or reliable results.
- Vegetables to plant in Autumn
Many vegetable varieties can be planted in Autumn, particularly veggies such as Cauliflower and Broccoli, as well as Kale, Beetroot, Onions, Carrots and Spinach or Swiss Chard. These are vegetables that will grow during the colder seasons but there are many more that you can search for on Google or Yahoo.
Herbs are not as fussy as vegetables but still do not like frost, but it is far easier to cover small herbs to protect them should a cold snap occur.