Not every Kiwi is living the quarter acre dream anymore; our survey results show on average Kiwis are growing in 301-800m² sized sections, so Auckland based Victoria Sweeney (@victoria.makes) shares some great ideas to help you make the most of your urban space.
My name is Victoria and I am an urban gardener based in Avondale, Auckland. I started my current garden about two years ago, but have been urban gardening for six years (I still gardened even when I only had about two square metres of dirt I could garden in!). The pull towards growing something has been strong ever since I first started gardening.
My little patch of gardening paradise is made up of two raised beds on either side of my house that all together is about 14 square metres, plus a whole heap of pots and small planter boxes. Having limited space means you have to get a bit creative, but this doesn’t bother me because I also love the look (and practicality) of creating my own herb garden in pots.
Being an urban gardener with limited space, I love to grow things that are fast growing – so I tend to avoid the slower growing root vegetables as this takes up too much of my space for too long. Instead I fill my garden with radishes, leafy greens and plenty of herbs (I like heaps of mint for mojitos!) and in spring and summer I always dedicate room to growing many different varieties of tomatoes as these look impressive and taste amazing homegrown.
One side of my garden gets almost a full day of sun, which is perfect for my tomatoes, cucumber and capsicums in summer. The other side gets midday to early afternoon sun, so this is where I plant my leafy green favourites including lettuce, spinach and kale. This year in my garden I have gone for a more eclectic, natural feel, with no straight lines of vegetables and with plenty of flowers dotted between all of the veges to encourage more pollination. I planted a lot more flowers than I ever have before because I love the look of classic cottage gardens and wanted to recreate that same feel in my vegetable garden. Part of this was also me trying to create a garden that didn’t require too much maintenance, as like most people these days I don’t have a lot of spare time but still want to have a beautiful vegetable garden with enough harvests for use in the kitchen.
I love that my garden gives me a space to enjoy and appreciate my hard work but is manageable enough that I don’t have to spend all my spare time looking after it! One of the best feelings about gardening for me is sharing my produce with my friends and family – especially food and cocktails that include fruit or vegetables that I have grown. This year at Christmas dinner I served my homegrown potatoes (see below photos including my potatoes four ways!) and I couldn’t have been more proud. Sharing something you’ve grown from scratch always blows people away and just secretly, it’s not actually too difficult to do!
Happy autumn gardening, Victoria.
Join Victoria Sweeney on Instagram to follow her growing journey here: