Ready for a Healthier. Happier. lifestyle? Check out these tips and hints to make your adventure into gardening a runaway success.
Pick the right plants
Be smart about what you put in your garden and choose plants that suit the local climate and environment. Saline, dry or wet conditions might effect what you can grow – so do your research to avoid withered corn stalks and rotten potatoes. Here’s a site to get you started.
This is a method of grouping certain plants together to promote healthy plant growth. The benefits can range from attracting just the right insects, to repelling predators, or simply providing shade and cover. Find more information about companion planting here.
Make it beautiful
Don’t forget that your garden gives you more than a tasty feed. It should be a feel-good zone for the senses. Think about how you can create a feast of sights, sounds, smells and tactile experiences for a richer, more relaxing experience.
Think outside the planting box
Cucumbers are cool, but taking a step outside ‘traditional’ fruit and veg is cooler. Use your garden to connect to other food cultures – try fruits and vegetables from Indian or Asian cuisines, or try your hand at bush tucker.
Make maintenance easy
Smart design can minimise ongoing maintenance issues. Start your garden small and don’t over invest too soon. Maybe test your green thumb with a few pots to begin with, or if you are more ambitious be sure to use low maintenance and recycled building materials where possible.
Setting up a garden should be fun, but if the going gets tough, it pays to remember why you started your project to begin with, and find ways to enjoy the bumpier parts of the journey. Celebrate achievements in the garden, share your produce with friends and just relax in the beautiful space you have created.
Little green thumbs
If you’ve got kids, get them involved! The trick is to start simple and make it fun. Think worm farms, watering, digging, fast growing produce, aphid hunting, pot making and more. Depending on their age, try giving them their own patch to look after. It’s a great way to spend more time together and teach them about nature, food and responsibility.
Community garden tips
If you’re thinking of joining or starting a community garden, here are some extra things to help you reap the rewards.
Get in touch with some local gardeners, and visit their projects. Gardening communities are usually excited to share their knowledge, especially with newbies. Find local gardens at Australian City Farms & Community Gardens Network garden directory.
Grow to give
What happens when a bumper harvest gives you more pumpkin than you know what to do with? Consider getting in touch with a local food sharing project, or donating it to other community groups or locals in need. Check out the local harvest website.
A place for teaching
One of the greatest things about gardening is the new skills and knowledge you learn every time you plant. So, take the time to share your smarts with the wider community. Turn your garden into an outdoor classroom – and invite local students and community groups in for a lesson in permaculture.