Update on Home Vegetable Garden
It has been just over a month since setting up my home vegetable garden and I wanted to share how much has grown since then.
At the beginning of September, the raised garden beds were completed and filled with an assortment of vegetables for the home garden. Most of the veggies planted were seedlings that had been cultivated in seedbeds during the lockdown and a few were bought seedlings to get the garden established. Since then, the garden has grown to unexpected proportions and I'm looking forward to harvesting what has grown in the near future.
It has been so exciting to see how everything has grown in the past month. Below is what the vegetable garden looked like a month ago and since that time everything has exceeded my expectations as can be seen in the image above. All the plants are doing well and the seedling beds (vertical and gutter gardens) are producing healthy seedlings for the next crop.
Sowing seeds for transplanting seedlings
So that I have continuous garden produce that can be harvested for the kitchen, I established three different methods for sowing and growing seeds.
1. Gutter garden
The first method, and one that I have had in place for many years, is the gutter garden. The gutter garden was set up about 5 years ago but hasn't been used much since then. Now I am using it to get seedlings growing to a height where they can be transplanted into the vegetable garden. I'm generally sowing cauliflower, cabbage, lettuce and a few other assorted veggies in this area.
The soil in the gutter garden is seedling mix and it is watered once daily.
Hubby and I do a fair bit of shopping at Checkers and I have been collecting their little seed gardens, which I have also been planting in the gutter garden. My first radish seedlings are now starting to show.
2. Recycled HTH and plastic paint buckets
Remember my recent post on how you can recycle HTH and paint buckets?? I am using both as containers for larger vegetables such as butternut and baby marrow.
I planted the seeds about 10 days ago and they are already showing a substantial amount of growth. The containers are filled with potting soil and some seedling mix and there are 3 bamboo poles in each pot, fastened together at the top so that these will have something to climb up and be secured.
The HTH buckets are filled with potting soil and potting mix.
3. Self-watering containers in vertical garden
The final method for growing seeds to seedlings is in the self-watering containers that form part of my vertical gardening set up and explained in this article. The system works as planned and I only need to top up the base with water once a week, or not if it has been raining.
Self-watering containers in vertical gardens are filled with seedling mix as the soil.
Controlling pests in home vegetable garden
I am sorry to say that I lost a few of my cauliflower seedlings to aphids. These grey, waxy bugs appeared almost overnight and I had to throw the destroyed seedlings away. I now use Neem oil to control any infestation and it is working well. Haven't had another infestation since then.
You may have also noticed that I have planted marigolds in the main vegetable beds, as well as basil alongside the tomatoes. Crossing my fingers that companion planting works as it should.
Protecting seedlings from the weather
After the first rains we had last week, I noticed that my lettuce was suffering from the after-effects. The rain would flatten the leaves and they would get damaged. This problem was fixed by making flexible 'collars' using plastic cold drink bottles.
The recycled plastic 'collars' protect the lettuce from being damaged by heavy rain and keep the plants whole.
Here are some more images to show you how well the vegetable garden is doing - after only a month!
I cannot believe how fast the beetroot is growing. From seed to plants about 30cm in height has only taken just over a month.
The tomato seedlings I planted a month ago are now close to 50cm in height and are already starting to flower. We should be able to harvest almost all the tomatoes we need for summer once the new seedlings are planted. The plants show no disease or pest infestation and are lush and green.
Despite their small size, we already have around 11 green beans on the seedlings. Not quite a meal for one but definitely great for adding to a salad!
Another surprise as far as growth is concerned, the seeds sown during the lockdown are full of lush, green leaves and can't be far from harvesting.
From insignificant seedlings to large heads, the broccoli I'm growing is the largest crop and every single plant is showing a beautiful head of florets.
The broccoli seedlings were attacked by aphids at the same time as the cauliflower, but they managed to pull through and do very well.
I know that not many, especially kids, enjoy Brussels sprouts be we love 'em. They are packed full of minerals and vitamins and one of the healthiest veggies you can grow. I must admit to being a bit off about how Brussels sprouts grow. I was under the impression that each plant is one Brussels sprout; how wrong I was.
Did you know that Brussels sprouts are picked from the stem when the plants reach a height of about 60cm? I didn't. Knowing that I have now transplanted the Brussels sprouts so that each has its very own container (HTH bucket) to reach its full growth potential.
I plan on keeping you updated on the happenings in my home vegetable garden and passing on helpful tips I pick up along the way, as well as any failures. Stay tuned!