How to grow your own veggie patch

Ever wanted to grow your own nutritious heirloom veggies? Rightside presents five top tips from professional gardener, botanical guide, garden consultant and author, Simon Rickard.

1. Learn to grow from seed

It’s not easy to grow from seed, but neither is driving a car or knitting a jumper, and plenty of people can do those things! Growing from seed just takes practise. It vastly expands the range of heirloom vegetable varieties you can use and will make you a better gardener, which is something to be proud of.

2. Buy quality seed

Only buy the best quality heirloom vegetable seed. It should be strong, true to type and batch-tested for viability. Of course, this will make the seed more expensive but it is worth every cent because it gives you the best chance of success. If you save your own heirloom vegetable seed, make sure your strains are properly maintained and true to type. Old, weak and untrue seed is a recipe for frustration and unjustly gives all heirloom vegetables a bad name.

3. Feed your soil

Well-structured garden soil is the magic bullet that fixes pretty much every problem in the vegetable garden, from water absorption and retention to plant nutrition and crop health. Well-structured soil is not made by human hands but by fungi, bacteria, worms and other tiny creatures that live in the soil.

Your job is to give the soil critters what they need in order to build up sufficient numbers to do their job. They need three things. The first is organic matter – compost, manure, straw mulches, worm castings – whatever is available to you, and be generous. The second ingredient is water and lots of it. The third ingredient is time. It takes several years to build well-structured vegetable garden soil. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts, so you will just have to be patient.

4. Set your sights low at the start

You need to learn to crawl before you can run, right? It’s the same with gardening. Start your gardening endeavours small, practising on simple crops, such as silver beet, rocket and broad beans. By starting out small, your successes will outnumber your failures and you will feel your confidence grow. As your gardening skills improve, you can expand your growing area and your vegetable repertoire.

5. Just do it

Stop procrastinating and get into your garden! Those vegies won’t grow themselves. Good gardens are not theorised into existence on your Pinterest board, or purchased online. They are earned with physical labour and patience. So, stop poring over seed catalogues, perving at dreamy websites and blogging about your garden, and go outside and get your hands dirty doing the real thing.

We love a good veggie patch here on the Northern Beaches – so why not get started!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Right Advice:

We know the right questions to ask to unearth the true potential in every property, and the advice we share is always insightful, invaluable and reliable.