There’s nothing more rewarding than harvesting your own vegies. If you want the best vegetables in the street now’s the time to build a patch from scratch!
Location of veggie patch
• Sunshine: Find a spot that gets at least 6 hours a day.
• Shelter from wind: wind is the enemy of vegetables as it dries out the soil.
• Drainage: Raised beds for well drained soil
The design of the annual veg gardens is a 4-bed system. This helps with the rotation of crops as different plants need different nutrients and it reduces the number of pests and disease. Divide sections into beans and peas (being legumes, their roots add nitrogen to the soil), followed by leafy greens (which love nitrogen to grow healthy leaves), followed by fruiting veg and lastly root/stem crops.
Materials for planter bed construction
The annual vegetable garden is divided into four main garden beds, building each up with a different retaining wall. Increasing the height of a vegetable garden has many benefits; it increases soil depth, increases soil drainage and allows you to sit on the edge to plant and harvest whilst saving your back.
Don’t skimp on size, big beds are best but make sure you can reach everywhere within the bed and you are able to harvest and plant from all sides.
Our beds are approximately 1.8m square and approx 500 high.
1.) Timber sleepers are a long-lived option, hard wearing but a little expensive. Eco sleepers are preferable, as they do not contain arsenic. They are secured together with long 150mm screws through into short corner posts. Cost $265
2.) Watertank beds are movable and lightweight, great if you are renting and you want to take your garden with you, and are the perfect height for children to plant and harvest. They come in all colours, round or slimline shapes and 2 different heights 500mm and 1m high. We choose the plain galvanised tanks. Our round tankbed is 1.5m in diameter Cost $235
3.) Besser blocks are easy permanent, yet a cheaper option. Build them 2 high, and mortar them into place. The top coping course will be old common brick. The outside of the wall is bagged with sand colour ochre included into the mix. The inside wall is sealed to prevent water seeping into the brick and ruining the outside finish. Cost $170
4.) Straw bales are sustainable (by-product from the sugar cane industry in NSW and QLD), ultra cheap and is wide enough to sit on as you plant and harvest. No need to tie into place, just make the walls of your garden and fill with soil. Cost $120
Soil types for vegetables
All soil be it clay, loam or sand will benefit from the addition of compost, soil conditioners and aged animal manures. This will provide most of the nutrient the plants need throughout their growing season, negating the need for commercial fertilisers.
• Organic soil - Organic soil mix is preferable for edible plants. You have a couple of options. Bagged ‘organic’ garden soil is the easiest way to fill up your beds (such as this Osmocote Garden soil) but you could also buy in bulk soil form the landscape supply yard. I ordered a specially formulated ‘veggie garden mix’ from ANL which includes all the soil goodies such as cow manure, gypsum, blood and bone and potash. Cost $72/cubic m.
• Composted cow manure - Adding composted animal manures (cow, horse or sheep) injects your soil with beneficial micro-organisms that will add nutrient to the soil to help your vegies grow.
• Garden goodies - Add sulphate of potash at the rate of one tablespoon every square metre and water in well. For acid soils, add a dressing of lime or dolomite – one cup per square metre - to sweeten up the soil and provide the best conditions for vegetables. Add blood and bone (1 cup per sq m) as this will break down over 4 months slowly feeding your vegetables as it goes.
www.anlscape.com.au - (soils, eco-sleepers, besser blocks)
www.diggers.com.au - (vegetable garden labels, beans)
www.gollandra.com.au - (sugarcane mulch)
www.oasisaustralia.com - (seedlings)
www.scottsaustralia.com.au - (fertiliser, Osmocote garden soil)
www.watertankteam.com.au - (tankbeds)
www.diginvegetablegardens.com.au - (construction of gardens)
Read How To Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden Part Two
Read How To Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden Part Three
Read How To Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden Part Four
Read How To Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden Part Five