10 August 2012

Guerilla Shopping Part 7: Become a Vegetable Garden Grower

If you are really serious about keeping your grocery bill down you need to grow at least some of the food you eat. You can grow veggies anywhere if you use your imagination, they don’t need to be in a plot on the ground.

Not everyone is an expert gardener, which can sometimes stop a potential future gardener in his or her tracks. Gardening, however, is just like anything else that you are not familiar with – if you don’t try it, you will never know how to do it. You will never know whether you like it, or how successful it will turn out.

When you are learning how to drive, you take lessons and practice. When you begin the gardening process, it is best to start out small, read up on the subject, and talk with other people who have years of expertise behind them. Other more seasoned gardeners have little tips and tricks that you can add to your wheelbarrow of gardening knowledge.

It is best to begin your gardening endeavors with the basics. Some simple lettuce, one or two varieties of tomatoes, and a vegetable or two is just fine to begin your new hobby. Not only is gardening a great way to save money and eat fresh (with no pesticides), it is also an amazing way to get the whole family involved. If you have younger children, it teaches responsibility while the young ones can literally see the fruits of their labor.

Lettuce is nice to start with. It is easy to grow and even better it will grow all year round and with so many different varieties you don’t have to stick to good old ice berg. Lettuce will grow in a garden plot but it will also grow in pots and tubs, hanging baskets and I’ve even grown it in old guttering hung on the fence.

Prepare your soil prior to planting your lettuce. Sometimes using compost at the end of winter will better prepare your soil for planting of your lettuce. Organic soil that contains natural plant food can be found in any garden store and will keep soil moist. Choose a patch of soil that is not entirely in the sun. Part sun and part shade will work just fine.

There are many varieties of lettuce, but perhaps loose-leaf lettuce would be the best bet to begin your garden. Plant your lettuce seeds approximately 6mm down in your row, separating them by 2cm gaps. Your rows can be about 30cm apart.

When weeds begin to sprout, gently pull them by hand as roots for lettuce are very delicate and using a garden tool might uproot your lettuce. Be sure to keep your lettuce seeds watered, but do not overdo it. Your soil needs to be moist, not sodden.

When your lettuce leaves begin to sprout start picking the leaves when they get to about 5cm tall. As you pick the lettuce leaves from the outside, you will allow newer leaves room to grow. The more you pick, the more they’ll grow. Your lettuce will keep giving for months.

Growing just lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers will give you basic salad ingredients for the summer, cutting around $170 off your grocery bill for just for the summer.  Your seeds will cost you under $10 (I suggest you buy heirloom seeds) and you’ll have more than enough to keep you in salad veggies for the summer and with succession planting through into autumn, cutting even more from your grocery bill.

1 comment:

  1. Margot-deepa SlaterFriday, August 10, 2012

    Friends of mine grew their veggies in old baths. Made wooden frames with chicken wire for them to protect produce from the birds and had them each on a frame off the ground. Had plumbing pipe underneath the plug holes and keep the birds away from the product. They got everything from the local tip. Also used another old bath as their worm farm and cover it with a couple of sheets of tin. It provides all the compost to top up their no dig above the ground bath veggie beds and worm wee as fertilizer. So easy almost anyone can create this.

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