Dan and John live in an inner city terrace with some friends. Despite having a small back garden, they have hosted some great parties already and are looking to make better use of their space for the upcoming party season. Inspired by the famous La Tomatina Festival in Spain, they want to grow their own tomatoes in time for their own annual tomato festival. Charlie gives them tips on how to grow the best tomatoes and other produce on the block, along with how to make use of their small garden by introducing a hanging wall garden. To kick off the celebrations, Juliet offers them some creative tips to recreate their own Spanish style tomato festival that the whole neighbourhood can enjoy. Their secret tomato sauce recipe will be revealed.
Tips and tricks on getting the most out of a small space:
• Soften a deck or paved area with pot plants
• Attach vegies and fruits on wires against walls to ensure they don’t overgrow onto lawn or decked areas
• A hanging wall garden is the perfect way to soften hard landscaping and make the most of a small area. It enables you to save space but still incorporate all the foliage that you want!
Living Green Walls
• Green walls or plants growing in vertical arrangements are perfect for softening landscapes and can be easily constructed:
• Using plastic crates cut holes and space for the plants and fill with a light soil mi that contains pertlite for drainage.
• Stack the crates and ensure you have installed a drip feed irrigation system to help water the plants and provide essential nutrients
• Plant your plants in the holes and there you have it – the living green wall should not need much looking after, only requiring watering and fornightly feeding with Yates Thrive Soluble Plant Food.
• On north-facing walls grow heat tolerant plants like succulents.
• On south-facing walls grow shade lovers like trailing ferns.
Tips and tricks on how to maintain your herb garden all year round
• Make sure you keep the area weed free
• Prepare the garden bed by mixing new soil with the old, then mix in some Yates Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food to add organic goodness.
• Blend in some Yates Blood & Bone Professional with Potash into the top of the soil.
• Popular herbs for dry, well drained, sunny spots are: oregano, thyme and sage. Popular herbs for well watered and fertilised spots are: basil, parsley, rocket, coriander, mint and chives.
• Feed the seedlings or seeds with Thrive All Purpose Soluble Plant Food for the quickest growth.
• Control leaf-eating grubs with Nature’s Way Caterpillar Killer Dipel which is low toxic and based on a naturally occurring bacteria.
• Pick your herbs regularly to prevent them going to seed. Change where the plants are growing every now and again – if the plants remain in the same place, they can become susceptible to certain pests and diseases
Create your own Tomato Festival
Tomatoes are one of Australia’s favourites and are some of the easiest plants to grow in the garden. Inspired by the La Tomatina festival in Spain, a tomato festival is the perfect way to celebrate the fruit and get together with neighbours and friends to create your very own tomato festival this summer.
Tips and tricks on growing tasty tomatoes
• Choose a sunny spot that hasn’t been used to grow tomatoes for at least four years. Prepare the soil by removing all weeds and grasses and then digging in some compost or manure.
• Before planting, mix in some Dynamic Lifter Organic Plant Food to add some organic goodness. Then plant the seeds or seedlings.
• As the seedlings grow feed them every couple of weeks with Thrive Soluble Plant Food. Mulch with a layer of organic mulch to retain moisture.
• Remember, some tall-growing tomatoes need staking, so it’s best to put in the stakes before planting or grow them next to a wall or fence.
• For easy control of caterpillars, leaf spot and other insects and diseases use Yates Tomato Dust.
Recipe idea: Tomato Sauce
Tomato Sauce couldn’t be easier to make and you can use fresh tomatoes, vegies and herbs grown in your own garden. You will need:
• Fresh Tomatoes – lots of them!
• Basil and Parsley – straight from your herb garden
• Olive Oil
To prepare the tomatoes, remove the core and score at one end. Blanch in hot water for 4 mins then remove and place into cold water to stop the cooking process. Remove the skins and seeds and place the remaining tomato flesh into a bowl.
Next, fry off the onion and garlic in the olive oil, then add the remaining ingredients, including the tomatoes. Simmer the sauce and taste to check the flavour. Serve with meatballs and spaghetti and bottle any leftovers for another day!
Creating the Spanish theme
In order to help to create the perfect Spanish atmosphere, you can dress your space with the following:
• For an authentic piazza feel, a stone bench helps create the perfect atmosphere. Stone can be expensive but fibreglass stone-look is a much cheaper option. Scour local home wares and furniture shops for items like this – inexpensive, yet great for helping to bring the mood and setting to life
• Tie red balloons around furniture and throw a red and white table cloth over your table
• Write the recipe on a chalk board to give the vibe that your backyard is an Italian cafe!
• Scour ops shops and flea markets for wooden boxes to dress the area and make sure you have a BIG SALT and PEPPER shaker for flavouring your food!