Monday, August 29, 2011

Set for Summer

Today I am very stiff and sore and tired.  But also feeling quite a sense of achievement.  Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and as the weather is starting to get warm and the frosty mornings are behind us we decided to plant our summer garden.  This is remarkable because usually we leave it until the end of September and don't end up with home grown goodies until after Christmas.  This year we are organised and should see the fruits of our labour much earlier.

There are many websites you can visit to figure out the best place to plant your garden, how to treat your soil and what will grow best in your area.  We are lucky enough to have quite good soil on our block so we just turn it a few times in the weeks before planting and then mix some compost or organic potting mix through it when we plant.  Once we have put in our seedlings they get a squirt of organic seaweed fertiliser and away they go.  We probably fertilise once a week and water a little each day, more when it gets warmer.  We also need to put some snail and slug pellets around too so that they don't eat our veggies.  Sounds easy doesn't it?  Well it actually is!

The hardest part is digging up and getting your garden ready.  Then choosing what you want to grow.  We have planted lettuce (gourmet and iceberg), carrots, snow peas, apple cucumbers, tomatoes (roma and cherry grape), basil, parsley and chives.  That will pretty much be our salad most nights throughout summer.  We buy ours as seedlings and plant straight into the ground, but it's even cheaper to buy seeds and raise your own - although this requires a bit more work.  Carrots are the fiddliest - you need to separate each plant or you will end up with carrots all twisted around each other.  Not very user friendly! You will also have to set up a stake system for tomatoes, cucumbers and peas - but this can be as easy as a few wooden stakes or some old lattice secured in the ground behind the plants to tie them to.

So now we just need to watch the days get longer and warmer and watch our little plants grow into something we can harvest and enjoy throughout Summer.  We'll save so much money from not having to buy the veggies as well, so it's win win.

If you want to start your own veggie patch for summer salads, now is the time!  It doesn't even have to go into the ground if you don't have much room, many lettuce, capsicum, tomatoes, etc can be grown in pots, go along to your local nursery and have a look around.  It's really satisfying.

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