Re-planting our garden bed with vegies and herbs.
The other year, my sister and dad built a raised garden bed as a present. But it had languished over winter, so time to refresh and replant!
For under $100, buy some seedlings, soil and compost to grow some easy vegies and herbs. Extra bonus: if we manage to eat them before pests do!
Gardening is all about the soil. Or dirt, as I prefer to call it.
There are many books about exactly how to prepare compost, the right fertilisers, soil pH and all manner of gardening intricacies.
My approach is very simple: buy the cheapest dirt you can get your hands on, and add some organic fertiliser.
I had around $80 in gift cards for Bunnings. So I bought the following:
- 14 bags of the cheapest soil I could find ($4 each). Because its better to have a full garden bed than perfect soil.
- A bag of mushroom compost ($8). Mostly because it was recommended to my wife; I figure any compost or organic fertiliser will do a good job.
- A punnet of capsicum seedlings ($4). Our family likes capsicums.
- A punnet of beetroot seedlings ($4). My wife likes beetroot.
- A punnet of basil seedlings ($4). Herbs are easy to grow; its better if at least one thing you plant survives.
- A thyme plant ($4). Just because my wife chose it.
Total cost: $80
I also had a compost bin at home, which had been neglected for many months. And some slow release fertiliser. And some seaweed solution.
First, we (my wife was leading the effort, and kids helping too) cleaned out the garden beds. Turned them over with a mattock (because my garden fork had broken last time I attempted gardening) so the soil was loose. And then added the mushroom compost and the contents of one of my compost bins. And finally, a liberal sprinkling of the slow release fertiliser.
My thinking here is that the nutrients will be near the bottom and encourage root growth.
Then, added the cheap dirt. There was enough to fill both our beds. The one with beetroot was filled slightly higher, as beetroot (being a root vegetable) need more depth of soil.
Before planting, we sprinkled some more fertiliser, and wet the bed down.
Whenever you plant seedlings or re-pot a plant, it stresses it out. So it’s good to make sure they are well watered to make the process easier. The seaweed solution encourages root growth as well.
My wife planted all the seedlings in neat rows. And finally, she used the last of our seaweed solution to water them in.
Umm… we water it. Semi-regularly. Maybe.
That’s about it.
We probably should keep an eye out for pests, regularly top up the fertiliser and who knows what else. But our minimal maintenance works well enough.
In 4-6 weeks, the herbs should be good to pick, as we need them. And in 6-10 weeks the beets and capsicums should be ready as well.
Gardening is mostly about getting your soil right. But even then, its hard to get wrong.
Cheap dirt, a little compost, water every now and then.