Good Vegetable Garden

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The vegetable garden shown in our segment looked attractive, even though some of the vegetables had finished cropping and some of the beds were empty. The beds, which were edged with treated pine, were set out in a grid pattern in the lawn. Mowing the grass between the beds was easy, because the spacing between each section was exactly mower width.

Don’s tips for growing vegetables

  • Vegetables need full sun and shelter from winds – a north-facing situation is best with at least six hours direct sun, including morning sun.
  • Vegetables should be grown rapidly for best flavour – this is achieved with regular, usually daily watering, and regular applications of liquid food (every fortnight).
  • Vegetables need a well-drained soil, with a loose, crumbly structure – digging well-rotted manure in to a spade’s depth before planting will improve the structure of any soil.
  • Use additional fertiliser to encourage good growth – leaf vegetables need fertilisers that are high in nitrogen, while fruit and root vegetables need a good supply of phosphorus.
  • Spread your harvest – make repeated plantings (or sowings if growing from seed) every few weeks, also eat some vegetables when they are small and succulent, but leave others in the ground to develop further.
  • Protect your vegetables from snails and slugs by using snail baits – but take care as snail baits are toxic to pets, especially dogs and native animals (follow the directions on the packet). Other methods of snail control include collecting and squashing, and traps such as beer traps or barriers.

Further reading

Yates Garden Guide (2002, HarperCollins, ISBN: 0207198209, $34.95)