The chilly winter months are the perfect time to think about planning a vegetable garden of your own. Spring is the time to begin planting and preparation, so having a plan in place before then is ideal. Of course, there are many different vegetables that will come into harvest all year round, but for those just starting out spring is a good starting point.
For those practising a vegetarian lifestyle, planning a vegetable garden is convenient and makes financial sense. It may take a while to get going, but soon you’ll be in the habit of nipping down the back for a bit of lettuce rather than out to the store. It also means you can control the substances used on the produce, and can choose to make it completely organic without paying a hefty price tag. Most Kiwis have a bit of a green thumb, but even if you don’t there are plenty of easy-to-grow vegetables around.
Selecting a space is the first step in planning a vegetable garden. Ideally it should be close to the house to make it easy to go out to collect bits and pieces as your cooking requires, but this isn’t necessary. What is necessary is plenty of sun to help those veggies really grow. Sunshine sweetens the crop, so the more you can afford the better they will taste.
The size of your vegetable garden depends entirely on how much of your back yard you want to set aside for veggies, and what you want to grow. For those looking to actually depend on their own harvest for food as much as possible, a very large space is required. For those just wanting to supplement their weekly shop there is a lot more flexibility, and you can also select certain vegetables for their space-saving qualities. Potatoes for instance require a large amount of room to spread their tubers out, while beans and peas can produce a high yield in a much smaller space. Tomatoes are also economical, but unless you are living in the north of the country they will require a greenhouse.
Once you’ve allocated your space, it’s a good idea to divide it up into sections as much as possible – once things start sprouting, it’s amazing how quickly you can forget what they were.
If you’re already an active gardener, chances are you won’t need any new or special equipment for your veggie ventures. A hose, a trowel and hand rake are all that’s needed for most vegetables. For beans, peas and tomatoes you may want to invest in some dowel rods and twine to keep them upright, and for veggies that prefer a warmer climate you can buy a plastic covering that will keep them insulated.
Planning a vegetable garden is easier than most people realise, and for vegetarians it can quickly become a staple part of your weekly diet.
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