Starting a garden is one of the most rewarding things you can do! Everyone can benefit
from getting your hands a little dirty, but if you're new to gardening it can be difficult to know where to start- It doesn't have to be complicated. Here we have some simple steps to help you set up and manage your new gardening project. These steps will help guide you start from scratch and in no time you will be reaping the rewards of inexpensive, nutritionally
dense, fresh produce from the convenience
of your home.
What To Consider When Starting Your Garden
What produce would you like to grow? If you choose vegetables and herbs for their contributions to your dinner table, plant ones your family will eat or be willing to try.
How much time do you have to give back to your garden? As your garden begins to grow, you will need to help it reach its full potential by keeping up with garden chores. If you are time poor we recommend Hydroponic or Aquaponic methods. These methods basically run themselves, fully automated and are very low maintenance.
Are you growing indoors or outdoors? Don’t let lack of space differ you from starting to grow your own food. Whether you have a backyard, growing on acreage, or an urban dweller with a small balcony or even none at all, there are solutions for you! Growing vertically is the most efficient way to save space, and grow food.
Choose a spot for your garden For optimum plant health and productivity, most vegetables should receive at least eight hours of full sun each day. The more sun, the better, so it makes sense to locate your garden in the sunniest part of your yard. Avoid low, wet areas where the soil stays soggy.
Starting from seed or transplanting seedlings? Direct sowing (planting seeds right into your garden soil) can be riskier than using transplants (grown seedlings) because those seeds have to contend with weather hazards. Seedlings need protection as they are much more delicate than mature plants. We recommend seeding with the use of a propagation box for a kick start in your growing, or purchasing seedlings from your local nursery and transplanting them directly into your garden.
Indoor vs Outdoor Gardening
Outdoor: The climate greatly impacts the plants you can grow outdoors since plants must be in an environment suitable for their hardiness. This means understanding what to grow, and when to grow. This information can usually be found on the back of your seed packet. The most challenging times can be during the colder months as the produce you can grow becomes much more limited, however a green house can be a great solution to this.
The retained radiated heat within the greenhouse provides a natural source of heating for your greens, enabling them to grow better for a fruitful harvest anytime of the year!
Indoor: Indoor growing opens the possibilities to a wider variety of plants because indoor spaces can easily be climate controlled. With a simple adjustment of a thermostat and energy efficient grow light, indoor growers can manipulate the environment to suit the plants' specific needs.
Good soil is the single most important ingredient for a successful edible garden. Raised garden beds give you an advantage over a regular garden, because when filling your raised bed, you can use a blend of soil that's much more superior to the native soil in your yard. Soil that is loose and rich with nutrients and organic matter allows the roots of your plants to grow freely, and ensures that they have access to uptake water and nutrients they require to sustain healthy and optimal growth.
Hydroponics is simply described as growing plants without soil. Most Hydroponic methods require very little maintenance. It is a closed-loop system that reuses its water, therefore the only maintenance is topping up the water reservoir every 2-3 weeks. This method allows you to control more of the variables including pH levels, lighting and nutrients for optimal plant growth. Hydroponically grown plants dip their roots directly into nutrient-rich solutions, so plants get more of what they need much faster and easier (usually 5 x faster than traditional methods). Hydroponic farming can be used in locations where soil conditions are too poor to support farming, or where space is limited. It can be done anytime and anywhere!
Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture, which is growing fish, and hydroponics which is growing plants without soil. Aquaponics uses these two methods in a symbiotic relationship in which plants are fed the waste. In return, the plants clean the water that circulates back to the fish. Microbes play an important role in the nutrition of the plants. These beneficial bacteria gather in the spaces between the roots of the plant and convert the fish waste into substances the plants can use to grow!
Grow with Garden Beds
Step 1. Find a sunny location
Step 2. Level the ground
Step 3. Weed Matting - Its a good idea to put down a layer of weed mat before filling your garden. This allows water to drain freely, at the same time stops weeds from overtaking your garden. You can use newspaper, alternatively you can find weed mats from your local nursery
Step 4. Bulk Fill - Most plants only need a small layer of soil in the top of the bed (approx 300mm deep) Save on soil by filling the bottom of your garden with some less expensive matter such as old bricks, styrofoam, hay or cardboard. Step 5. Add top soil We recommend 60% top soil, 30% compost and 10% potting mix (soiless mix that contains peatmoss/coco coir and perlite) Step 6. Add Plants/seeds How you plant will depend on what your planting, however this information can be found on each seed packet, make sure to read the instructions and sow accordingly. You can use seeds, seedlings or established plants. Make sure to water well after sowing, or transplanting, and for the first few days water twice a day Step 7. Mulch and Fertlise Adding mulch after planting helps keep the soil moist and full of nutrients. You can use sugar cane mulch or small wood chips. Add non chemical fertiliser to the soil atleast once a year to promote optimal growth.
Grow with Aquaponics
Step 1. Fill your garden beds with reusable clay balls Step 2. Rinse the Clay balls using a hose and let water run out of the opening. Rinse clay balls until water runs clear. Step 3. Add the water pump and automatic timer. Set timer to turn on for 15 mins every hour. You can use electricity or solar panels. Step 4. Transplant your seedlings to the clay balls in your garden bed Step 5. Cycling Let the aquaponic unit run for 2 weeks before adding fish to complete the cycling process. (The plants will filter the water) Step 6. Add fish!
Grow with Hydroponics
Step 1. Set up your Hydroponic unit and automatic timers to run 15 mins every hour
Step 2. Fill your planters with either coco coir or reusable leca clay balls
Step 3. Fill your water reservoir with water and recommended dosage of nutrients
Step 4. Sow or transplant your produce into the planters
Step 5. Add a grow light if growing indoors to mimic natural sunlight. (can also be automated)
Step 6. Refill your water reservoir with recommended nutrient dosage when empty (approx every 2 weeks)