N-P-K 5 - 2 - 7
The desire for fresh, healthy pesticide free food has seen a worldwide move back to growing fruit and vegetables in the home garden. Growing your own is easy, salad crops such as lettuces, spinach, radishes and leafy greens are a great place to start for new gardeners.
Establishing a traditional edible garden is an investment in space and maintenance time. Forethought into garden design, soil conditions and researching plant care requirements will help make decisions that could save time long term.
Consider the following:
- Location – is the area exposed to elements? (sun, shade, wind).
- What size and shape will the plot be? Raised beds, traditional shape, container garden or a mix?
- What will you plant? Think about what you like to eat as well as what will add colour and fragrance to your garden.
- How much time do you have to care for the garden? This will help determine the size and style of the garden.
- When will the plants be ready to eat? Keeping record of when plants were sown will help determine harvest dates.
Like building a house a good foundation is the key to success. Spend some time assessing the type and quality of your existing soil e.g. is it sandy? (most likely near coastal areas), overused? (looks dehydrated and dusty) or heavy? (clay-based and compacted).
Soil needs to be loosened with a fork down to about 8-10 inches to let air in.
Next incorporate organic matter like Tui Super Sheep Pellets, Tui Organic Compost and Tui Vegetable Mix. This will create a fantastic natural planting base that ensures your vegetables get the best possible start and sustained growth.
First time vegetable gardeners may find growing from seedlings easier, but don’t shy away from seeds as they can be more economical and allow you to have crops growing at different stages throughout the season. Use Tui Seed Raising Mix if planting seeds.
Some crops prefer to be planted where they are going to be grown (like carrots, radish and beans).
Plant seeds twice the depth of the size of the seed.
Water seeds and seedlings after they have been planted to reduce transplant shock.
Before planting consider what size the mature plants will be, they should be virtually touching at maturity to discourage weed growth.
Consider container gardening if space is limited or if you only want to grow a small variety of plants. Lettuce, carrots, beans, courgettes, peas and tomatoes all do well in containers.
The best time to plant is in the evening so they don’t have the shock of being exposed to the sun straight away.
Use Tui Vegetable Food to increase the growth rate of vegetable plants along with microbial and worm activity. This high analysis combination of fertilisers including dolomite, blood and bone and sheep dust will result in high quality crops. Tui Vegetable Food can be used for crops in the garden or in containers and pots.
Protect young seedlings from being eaten by slugs and snails by applying Tui Quash around crops.
Prevent insect and fungal damage with Tui Eco-Pest and Tui Eco-Fungicide.
Some vegetable varieties have specific requirements when taking from the plant for example garlic and potatoes need to be dug out carefully. Tomatoes should be twisted off the tree and beans snapped off. Carrots are the exception to the rule as they can be left in the ground once mature to improve taste and ‘sweeten’.