Where to start
Start with the soil. Healthy soil is the foundation of a healthy garden. Adding a layer of compost, or mulching your growing space with seaweed, straw or woodchips is a good way to build healthy soil – you want to see soil dark in colour and squiggling with worms!
Sun, wind, and water are three key garden site features to consider as these physical aspects will influence what crops are most productive. Get clued up on what will and won’t thrive in your growing site.
There is no one way to design a garden, but it’s important to remember to start small. Think about the activities you’ll be doing regularly in your garden – can you easily water, weed and harvest from all parts of your growing space? Think about the vertical aspect, where receives the most sun, if raised beds and pots are better suited and sketch a few potential garden designs. Walk around your growing space to help visualise what garden layout you prefer.
Planning what to grow
A happy garden is a diverse garden. Consider working towards a mix of annuals, perennials, flowers, and native plants to encourage a greater variety of beneficial insects and native birds to visit your garden. To learn more about when to plant specific crops, check out The Edible Backyard blog for month-by-month garden advice.
Planting and tending to your garden
There is an old saying that the best fertilizer is a gardener's shadow. The more time you spend with your crops, the more quickly you’ll learn what they need to thrive. Brush
up on when and how to seed, how to transplant plant seedlings, mulching your garden and weed management to get the most out of your garden.
It can be hard to know exactly when to harvest some crops – when in doubt, do a taste test! When harvesting, use scissors
rather than your hand – this protects the plants and results in a faster, cleaner harvest.
Pests and disease
Prevention is the best medicine for crop pests and diseases. Creating healthy soil and planting a diversity of crops are two of the most effective ways to prevent pests and diseases. Keep an eye out for crop-loving snails and slugs, practice crop rotation, and plant bee-friendly plants to attract beneficial insects to your garden. If you do develop a crop pest or disease, try soaking a few handfuls of seaweed in a bucket of water overnight and then watering your plants with the seaweed water. This delivers micronutrients and can repel pests.
There is always more to learn about how to garden sustainably and efficiently. Check out some of the links below for more details, ideas, and resources:
Growing fruit trees
Find out how to grow fruit trees in Wellington.
Tips on how to "bee" friendly
Want to help provide food for bees? Learn what plants you can add into your garden to 'bee' friendly.