Veggie Patch

All good Easter Bunnies need a vegetable patch, so I thought it was a good time to tackle the topic of growing vegetables.  Well, I bit off more than I could chew,  so consider this Part One.

Let’s start with the easy bit.  Some inspiration.

Wood planters.  Source:  Remodelista.

Wood planters. Source: Remodelista.

Photo by Anna Fasth at  Tradgards Design.

Photo by Anna Fasth at Tradgards Design.

Concrete kitchen garden.  Photo source:  Skarp Agent (unverified).

Concrete kitchen garden. Photo source: Skarp Agent (unverified).

Source:  Style Room

Source: Style Room

(Header photo source:  Victoria Skoglund.)

Good looking, hey?  Looks are important because our vegetable garden is going in our front yard.  I like the simplicity of several black boxes in a row, but I’d also like to soften the look of the front yard so gardens with varying heights and angles appeal to me too.  There are plenty more swish vegetable gardens to see in my Pinterest file.

I’ve grown herbs and a few veggies before but on a very small scale.  The more I read, the more I go round in circles considering aspect, soil, garden bed material, climate, pests and even who’s friends with who in the vegetable world.  So I’ve narrowed my plan of attack down to these three options:

  1. Continue to study up and plan a technically correct vegetable garden.
  2. Bribe my Dad with an airfare, give him a budget and let him loose in my front yard.
  3. Wing it.

I’m currently favouring the last option.  In the mean time, here are a few resources that I’ve found interesting:

  1. Yates – my hard copy of Yates Garden Guide is in storage, so I had to resort to the web.  This site has a lot of Australian based information.  I signed up to trial their virtual garden, but it lacks the detail to be useful.
  2. Garden Angels – How to Grow Your Own Vegetables video series.  These cheerful and short videos start right from the basics of building your own garden bed.
  3. Online Garden Planner.  The trial version is free.  You can map out your garden space, getting an idea of scale.
My veggie plan as drawn on  the Online Planner:  work in progress.

My veggie plan as drawn on the Online Garden Planner: work in progress.

And because I’ve failed dismally so far to put together a “This is how I’m going do it” plan, I am referring you to the talented Steph from Saltbush Avenue.  Not only did Steph do her research and develop a great vegetable garden plan that included the most adorable illustrations, but she’s harvested her first crop and is now teasing me with photos of home grown veggies.

Have a great Easter everyone and don’t forget to leave a carrot out for the rabbit.



26 thoughts on “Veggie Patch

  1. joan55555 says:

    Mr Green Thumb, Mr Compost aka ‘Your Dad’ is currently harvesting, asparagus, capsicums, tomatoes, potatoes, egg plant, carrots, broccoli, spinach, rhubarb, zucchini, butternuts and Queensland Blue Pumpkins, broad beans , parsley and chives, silver beet , garlic,……..and he still consults his Yates Garden Guide.

  2. trixee says:

    I love this post! I like to believe that I’m good with plants, but my indoor ones seem to keep dying and I have to give them to my mum to revive them, Nevertheless, I persist. I love the veggie planters, we’re going to get some too. Current front-runner is the wooden planter box – I love the one from Remodelista, it’s very neat and tidy.

    I think you should take option 2 – bribe your dad. Although winging it comes a close second. However as an experienced procrastinator, I also find it hard to avoid the allure of thorough research on the topic.

    Our current gardening efforts consist of a variety of plants in pots, namely tomatoes (most of which were eaten by animals other than us), chillies (which proved bountiful, great success), and various herbs (most of which we couldn’t harvest fast enough so went to seed). For the life of me I can’t figure out how to grow thyme, it keeps dying on me!

    I look forward to your next post in the series 🙂

    • Thanks Trixee. I felt this post was a bit of a flop because I spent a few weeks reading up (and getting sidetracked) and didn’t come up any wiser. Thyme I can do, coriander is my nemesis. Gotta fix that because I love to eat it daily.

      • trixee says:

        It’s a daunting subject as there are so many things to consider. I can totally relate to getting side-tracked, I’m yet to do my rainwater tank post too. Unfortunately I have the anti-coriander gene so can’t abide the smell, let alone eat it. Which is unfortunate because I keep hearing so many people saying how great it is!

      • I’ve never been able to grow coriander either, and I love it too. It either bolts or gets destroyed by aphids. Tragic.

        (Please plant some chilies for me Jo, my heart breaks over struggling to grow chilies during mild Tassie summers.)

      • We are currently failing chilli growing due to neglect while on holidays! Must have a reticulated watering system at our new house.

  3. Nicole says:

    Check out gardenate too! They send you emails every couple of months on what you should be planting out and even break it down into if you can sow direct or need seedlings. Seriously handy

  4. Awesome plans Johanne. We have been grow I odd veggies but have decided that we will reduce our crops now to herbs and chillies. Maybe some garlic. The rest we have found a local veggie shop that is bringing in local produce cheap and very tasty. Looking to use something like this on the north side of our home: MeGrow microfarm revolutionary food growing appliance on Gumtree
    Just for the herbs. All the chillies will just go in pots we already have. I love to grow the super hots.
    I grew up with home grown greasy fruit and veg so it’s great to see people still growing their own produce!
    Great plans Johanne.

    • Thanks Tom & Sandy. Will check it out. I always used to stop by Vergones for my fruit and veg, and was very happy but there are some things that are just better straight out of the garden.

    • Just checked out the MeGrow thing. Looks like a cool little system. Needs a lick of paint though! Part of the reason we went for double storey was so we have plenty of garden room, so we’ll have the luxury of space for veggies, fruit trees, compost, etc.

  5. Ooooooooh I really like those black boxes. I still can’t decide whether to oil mine in black, merbau brown, or grey-look wash (once the timber greys out). I like black the best but it’d probably just look muddy and dirty all the time in our climate. Real tough decisions.

    I like options 2 and 3 for planning your patch, but it’ll still be fun and rewarding no matter what. 🙂 The family photos are cute.

    (And once again, thank you for the shoutout! I’m chuffed.)

  6. It’s on the list for us too. Although ours is probably not going to be as impressive as our neighbours or inlaws! Our neighbours grow almost anything you can think of, in addition they have bee hives and chickens. So far from them we’ve been given a big box of figs and mangoes – I think we are living next door to the right people! Our inlaws have a rather large vegie patch and they’ve just started with a range of fruit trees – I always get sent home with all kinds of fabulous produce. I can’t wait to have one of our own – the quality, price and origin of the produce in Supermarkets seriously annoy me. But I’m not a natural gardener – so I feel there’s going to be lots of trial and error.

    • Mmm… figs… Have you seen the new bee hives? Not available in Australia yet, but you don’t need to get in with the bees to extract the honey from the hives. Could be nice for your bushy area. Then you could trade honey for veggies.

      • No, I haven’t – will investigate! Sounds ideal as I have no desire to fight with the bees over honey. They maybe small, but they are a formidable force. We had to lop our (for lack of a better word) lopsided tree and there were two hives in that. Lucky we did lop it as when it came down … it came down over the house (pre-bricks luckily) but it did smash some rows of bricks on the pallets.

  7. Hi Jo. I saw an amazing vegie garden in January which was four wood planter boxes similar to your picture, in a row but on an angle. They looked fabulous (not just because the owner treated her garden beds like children) but also because the angles looked really smart, not what was expected. They probably worked better for maximising the northerly sun too.
    V. PS I’d think your Dad would LOVE to share his knowledge.

    • Thanks Vic. I’ve seen some planter boxes similar, but not for veggies. I like the extra unexpected detail of turning the garden beds 45 degrees to the fence lines. Final decision will wait until we can stand in the front yard.

  8. We too are excited to start our veggie garden soon. We’ve got some compost brewing in anticipation. We’re thinking about recycled railway sleepers as an option for the garden bed itself.

    • I had railway sleepers in mind too Bumblebees, but a reader warned me that they can leach something ?? into the earth. Not good for eating. The garden angels used a safer alternative, eco-sleepers or something similarly named. I haven’t managed to cross-check it yet.

      • Yes some can be nasty if they’ve been treated for termites etc but there are some that are ok. You’ll need to be careful with any kind of timber, and many types of paints as well.

  9. I like the idea of veggie beds in the front Jo and I’ve seen quite a few places using their front verge.
    i think I would be inclined to fly your dad out and get him to set it up as he sounds like he has green fingers and knows his stuff then you can enjoy the fun bit of plantimg with your 3 little helpers.
    We have 2 good sized raised beds in our current garden and our successful vegies year in and year out have always been silverbeet, pumpkin and cherry tomatoes. It is always a challenge being so close to the ocean to find veggies that will tolerate the wind and soil condition. I always plant lots of basil in the veggie bed aswell and this is next to the tomatoes for companion planting. We have lots of pots around with herbs so we can move them around ie ginger which needs more shade in summer. I’ve found the coriander likes to be in a very protected position with quite a bit of shade – it is also one of my favourites in recipes.
    Check out Josh Byrne and Sabrihna Hahn as they both give great practical advice for our area and soils.
    You’ve got me thinking about my new veggie bed ☺

    • Thanks for the tips Deb. I can see that we’re going to be spending a lot of money on soil. Sand and limestone is hopeless, and yes, I think there will be some trial and error working with our climate. We used to live just 500 metres away, but the wind will be different off the water at our new place. I will look up Sabrihna, new to me. Thanks.

  10. Worth spending $ on your soil. Sabrina Hahn and Josh Byrne have posted some good soil recipes so worth checking them out.
    Will lunch be with your home grown beetroot? Lol ☺

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