Growing Food

There are lots of benefits to you and your family if you grow your own fruit and vegetable garden. 

  • Growing your own vegetables is cheaper than buying them.
  • Gardening is a healthy and enjoyable activity providing exercise and relaxation.
  • It has been shown that children who are involved with the growing process are more likely to try new fruit and vegetables.
  • Home grown fruit and vegetables can be picked at the optimum stage, generally giving a superior taste than bought varieties.
  • Many vegetables and fruits can be successfully grown without the use of synthetic pesticides.
  

You don’t need a farm to grow your own food

Many vegetables and even fruit trees grow well in pots, clean food containers, tin cans or Styrofoam boxes. All you need is a container with holes in the bottom for drainage, soil or potting mix and some seeds.

Start with a Salad

Start with a saladSalad greens and herbs are the easiest and quickest vegetables to grow.

There are two main groups of salad greens:
The type you can keep cutting leaves off and the hearting varieties of lettuce.

  • Varieties such Mizuna, Rocket, English Spinach and tasty Mustard Greens grow from the centre and allow you to keep cutting the outer leaves without harming the plant. Herbs can also be used like this. 
  • Hearting lettuce include types such as Cos and Butterhead. You need to allow enough room for the lettuce to ‘heart up’ and so need to wait until they are ready and then harvest completely. They need more space too.

Other Tips

  • Vegetables like full sun and shelter from winds - a north-facing situation is best to get the most sun.
  • Vegetables should be grown rapidly for best flavour - this is achieved with regular, usually daily watering, and regular applications of fertliliser.
  • Fertiliser used regularly will 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.

No room for a garden?

If you don't have room at home for a garden, then why not join a community garden? Some community gardens are open to everyone or you might need to be part of a group to participate. Either way, community gardens are a great way to get involved in gardening, grow your own produce and learn from others.

Visit the Australian City Farms & Community Gardens website to find a community garden in your area.

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