Category Grow

FULL OF BEANS – Everything you need to know to grow this versatile kitchen staple

beans

Beans are an easy-to-grow garden staple that can be eaten fresh or dried. Here’s everything you need to know for a successful crop of beans in your upcoming summer garden.

Beans are a garden favourite grown for their delicious pods and dried seeds and are high in protein. While the common green bean might be the first to spring to mind, beans come in an array of colours and growing habits and many can be eaten fresh straight from the vine or left to mature and dry. Whatever the variety, they yield a prolific harvest in relatively little space making them a valuable addition to your warm-weather patch.

SEEDLING SUCCESS – Tips and tricks to jumpstart the growing season

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Whether you’re starting seedlings off yourself or acquiring them already raised, there’s some things to know and do to ensure your small plants get the best start so that your garden produces high yields.

We’ve all been there. We have seed packets ready to start in trays and the best intentions, but somehow the weeks fly by and before we know it, spring is upon us and we just need to get some vegies in the ground. Purchasing seedlings is not only a quicker and more practical way to get your patch established in these scenarios, it’s also a great way to start successional planting. Bear in mind though, it can also set you up for disappointment if your newly purchased or grown seedlings fail to thrive or they bolt to seed. Minimising the disappointment and maximising healthy harvests comes down to a bit of know-how from selecting the best seedlings, giving them the best start and supporting them on their journey to maturity.

PRUNING FRUIT TREES – How and when to prune fruit trees to maximise your harvest

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Pruning deciduous fruit trees promotes reliable harvests and supports your trees to grow both stronger and healthier. But knowing when and how to prune them is the key to success.

Fruit trees benefit from being pruned annually, but understanding how to prune your trees can seem complex and intimidating at first glance. It doesn’t need to be. Pruning simply involves removing unwanted branches from the tree using secateurs, loppers or a pruning saw in a way that balances fruit and vegetative growth and encourages a desired shape.

While productive trees will grow and bear a harvest without any pruning, there are some key reasons why trimming them up annually is a good idea. The first is to create a good shape and structure for a young tree – a foundation that will encourage strength and stability to bear large fruit loads or endure winds without snapping – while keeping the tree canopy open to allow for good amounts of airflow and sunlight.

BIOCHAR – How to make Biochar to improve your soil

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Said to have the ability to both battle climate change and restore soils, biochar has plenty of benefits for backyard growers.

Biochar is charcoal made by burning woody materials, agricultural waste or any dried organic material like manures in a low-oxygen environment. Unlike charcoal, biochar is intended for combining with soil and has some properties that make it excel at this.

For your soils to get the most out of biochar, it should be ‘charged’, which means soaked in a nutrient-rich mix such as manures, urine, worm castings or compost. Left uncharged, it can bind nutrients and make them less available, at least in the short term. Even uncharged, biochar will eventually still improve the nutrient-holding capacity and exchange in soils.

GOING TO GROUND – Your guide to growing root vegetables

root-veggies

Root vegetables like carrots, beetroots, parsnips and radishes are staples in our kitchens and vegetable gardens. Let’s dig down into how to grow your own bunch of crunchy carrots or bountiful beets.

Root crops are versatile vegetables that produce an edible swollen root or base of stem, either below or at the soil surface. Interestingly, not all are from the same family – swedes, turnips and radishes are from the Brassica family, beetroot is a relative of silverbeet in the Amaranthaceae family, and carrot and parsnip are part of the huge Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family.

All prefer to grow in full sun (at least six hours) and have similar requirements when it comes to soil and climate. They have provided a valuable food source of minerals, carbohydrates and fibre as staple crops throughout history and, with only a little effort, could be a tasty addition to your vegetable garden too.

WELL WATERED – Finding the best way to water your garden

water

Water is the lifeblood of a garden – but should you hand-water, install an irrigation system or plug in a sprinkler? Let’s consider the best way to water your garden that will help keep our plants happy and hydrated.

Without water, plants would not survive. It makes up the majority of their cells and carries essential nutrients around the plant. Water is both used and produced during photosynthesis, a chemical process occurring in the plant’s cells to convert energy from the sun and carbon dioxide from the air into oxygen and energy the plant uses to grow.

Water also helps plants regulate their temperature by being transpired, or evaporated, from tiny pores in their leaves. Plant cells plump with water are also more flexible and able to better withstand wind and heat – cells that dry out will show up on the plant as brown patches or tips on leaves and stems.

CUCURBITS: your guide to growing zucchini, pumpkin, squash & melons

pumkins

Also known as winter and summer squash, cucurbits are warm-weather annuals that may be eaten fresh (like zucchini and melons), or stored for the cooler months (like pumpkins and squash). Now’s the time to get ready for a bumper crop from these easy-to-grow plants in small and large gardens alike.

WORM FARMING – The hows and whys of successful vermicomposting at home.

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Mysterious creatures that turn our green waste into a power pack of microbial- and nutrient-rich castings, worms are essential to both soil and plant health.

Creating your own worm farm is inexpensive, easy and a fantastic way to turn vegie scraps, coffee grounds, newspapers and even eggshells into a rich resource that builds soil and increases plant health. Low maintenance, worms require little more than a couple of handfuls of vegie scraps each week applied to their shaded home, and what they will give you in return is pure garden gold.

DOWN TO EARTH – Soil amendments

soil

Now’s the time to get your soil ready for spring seedlings and summer harvests. Let’s consider the what, why and how of the various ways of feeding your soil and plants with compost, fertilisers and minerals.

Healthy soil is the foundation every garden needs. You might always be thinking about what to provide your plants so they grow and produce abundantly, but have you considered that you need to feed your soil as well? Fertilisers and manures are great for soil fertility, and compost is king for building organic matter in your garden beds, but what about seaweed, worm castings, trace mineral rock dust, soil probiotics and more?

ANYONE CAN – Grow your own food

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It’s easy to think you need a big backyard, lots of knowledge and plenty of spare time in order to be able harvest homegrown food for you and your family. But by understanding the space you have and what you consume the most of, there’s no reason why we all can’t be reducing our grocery bills with some homegrown fruit, vegetables and herbs.

There are so many great things about growing food. Zero food miles, knowing it hasn’t been sprayed, the savings at the checkout and the real sense of achievement that comes with harvesting live, nutrient-dense produce just an hour or so before sitting down to eat it.

There are many things that hold us back from doing it, too. Many people will feel they don’t have the space, knowledge or time required to be pulling out basketfuls of lush homegrown food day after day. And while that might be true, by taking stock of both the space and time you do have, as well what you consume and spend the most money on, there is no reason why you can’t feel the same reward and enjoy the nutritional and cost-saving benefits as the vegie-growing fanatic down the road.