Sunday, May 17, 2009

Grow your own and save

We are lucky where we live as we have a good sized section giving us plenty of room for vegetable gardens. I've been in this house for about 8 years and my original attempts at growing vegetables were not that successful. Over the past couple of years we've built four raised gardens and that has seen a lot more success in the quality and quantity of vegetables grown. Also, last winter we put in a greenhouse for raising seeds and for growing tomatoes. chillies and cucumbers. The greenhouse has been wonderful as we have been able to grow a lot more from seed making considerable savings.

Our garden over summer kept us well-supplied in many of our basic vegetables. We produced tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies, sweetcorn, garlic, cabbages, broccoli, peas, zucchinis, celery and potatoes. In addition, our herb garden produces mint, oregano, rosemary and parsley. We're now entering the winter months so the garden isn't looking as luxuriant and is certainly not as productive. But we do have some cabbages and silver beet nearing harvest and have onions, carrots and parsnips doing well.

We struggle with keeping the garden organic (and have failed miserably so far) and I am researching this subject all the time. We've been inundated with caterpillars and slugs. I think, in the future, we will cover the gardens with netting to reduce the damage these pests cause.

In addition to the vegetables we grow we have started to work towards producing more fruit. Currently we have lemon and lime trees in pots, a cherry tree, a grape vine, strawberries, a passionfruit vine, rhubarb and a blackberry. Apart from the grape and strawberries, all the other plants are quite new and not yet producing. Next spring I plan to expand further and would like to plant blackcurrent bushes and raspberries.

I have never calculated how much our garden costs us but, since we have started raising the majority of our vegetables from seed, I know we're saving money every week. We are lucky to have plenty of space for our gardens but, even if we were constrained by space, I would find a way of growing as much as we can. I've heard a lot of good things about square-foot gardening and also container gardening. Both these methods could be used if you have limited space.

1 comment:

  1. Your garden looks great. We found raised beds were the way to go here too. Too much clay in our soil. It was well worth the investment of building the raised beds. One day I'd love to have a greenhouse too. We'll see.