There’s something rather satisfying about growing your own vegetables, especially when you don’t have green fingers. Having successfully grown herbs and cherry tomatoes, this year I decided to see what else could survive the ‘tough love’ kind of gardener I am – plants need to be able to survive all weather conditions, erratic watering and bounce back from bouts of severe dehydration.
With all day sun, under the kitchen window was the perfect spot for a vegetable garden. It’s only about four square metres but it’s amazing how much a small space can yield - especially when you ignore how far apart it’s recommended you plant things!
So what’s been growing in my vegetable garden this spring: beetroot, celery, rocket, spinach, bok-choy, lettuce, rhubarb, strawberries, chillies, various herbs and of course tomatoes. Planting at regular intervals means you’re always got something ready to eat, but when they come in punnets of 4-6 plants they tend to all be ready at the same time. Having eaten rocket every day for what seemed like six weeks, it’s nice to now have a variety of salad greens.
Planting seedlings from the garden centre might seem like cheating to some gardeners but for me it significantly increases their chance of survival. And while last spring I couldn’t get coriander to grow, this year have had an abundance of it. It’s the capsicums that are proving a challenge – I have left them in the garden but it’s not looking hopeful.
And while there is absolutely no chance of raising chickens in my backyard, I’m open to exchanging vegetables for eggs, lemons or feijoas, even if I have to wait for the latter to be in season. Or like last weekend, export quality kiwifruit for celery and lettuce seemed a fair swap to me.
If you don’t have space for a garden, then plant herbs and lettuce in pots – you might be surprised at the results. But don’t forget - pots do require regular watering!