I have always been really interested in sustainable gardening and growing as much of my own food as possible and in our current economic situation it only makes sense to produce food from home.
Producing fruit and veg from home is beneficial for so many different reasons primarily you can obtain the freshest produce whilst monitoring what actually makes contact with the food. This means you can control the pests and diseases in a manner that suits you, so if you want to eat organically producing your own is a great way to do this. My favourite organic tip is to mix ground chilies with water to produce a spray that can be used against all manner of insects especially aphids. Just apply to the leaves of an effected plant.
Secondly, it is a great way to help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. The less a product has to travel to get to you the less of an effect it has on the environment. Try to think of a carrot in a field: not only does it need machinery to remove it from the ground, but it then has to go through various ports of calls along its travels to get to you... all of which pollute the environment in some way, not to mention you driving to the supermarket to buy it!
Thirdly, it's a great feeling to grow, harvest and consume food that you have produced by yourself. Clients of mine that I have installed veggie patches for call me to let me know it's their favourite part of the garden and that it is a great way to get the kids involved with the garden. Strawberries are at the top of the leader board for a favourite kid friendly plant at the moment.
I understand that growing vegies and fruits can be time consuming and a bit daunting so I recommend starting with herbs and a few fruit trees as these can all be grown in pots.
There are a few tips for starting a veggie patch and I have listed them below:
1. Start with a raised bed - all fruits and veggies need good draining soil and a raised bed will aid this.
2. Use a top quality potting / soil mix with a high organic content.
3. Pick a spot in the garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day as a shady spot will lead to a poor harvest.
4. Mulch well with a sugar cane or pea straw mulch - this breaks down quickly and helps feed the plants as well as all the other benefits mulch provides.
5. Rotate your crops - constantly growing one type of plant in the same place can lead to a build up of a certain pest or disease, rotating can help to lessen the effect of this.
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