Frugal Vegetable Gardening

I have been told by some people that it is to expensive to begin growing vegetables. By the time they purchase soil and pots or planters, the seeds or seedlings, fertilisers, it all adds up. They just can not afford it. Or composting is such hard work.

I was able to pick up pots of varying sizes from a gardening shop in Hobart for free. These were just plastic pots that people bought in to recycle and others could take and use. Rather than just throwing them out. Any second hand pots I suggest just a wash in hot water with dish washing detergent and dry in the sun. I have also been able to purchase from my local tip shop chipped and cracked ceramic pots and garage sales you can also pick up cheap pots sometimes with plants in them. (if you dont like the plant give it to someone and keep the pot). Also look out for hard rubbish pick up days.

However you do not have to have plastic pots or lovely ceramic pots to grow plants in. You can use all sorts of things. Tin cans, have been used by many people for a long time to grow veggies. I have used large veggie oil cans and biscuit tins. Drill a few holes in them, they are a pot.
Plastic storage boxes can be used, polystyrene boxes, I can usually get mine for free from seafood shop veggie shops sometimes my local supermarket.

Now for soil, here is a wonderful Youtube Channel Robbie and Gary Gardening Easy. Wonderful for those who want to begin to grow some veggies. Robbie grows veggies in her own soil/compost that she makes from scratch. It is so easy and involves little work. I have been doing it and it is brilliant! She saves all her kitchen scraps puts them in a plastic container, or container with holes drilled in it, uses the weeds she pulls up before they seed, and places them at the bottom of the container. She puts her scraps straight into the container, waters it a bit, and places a lid/cover with a weight on it to stop animals getting into it.

Because you have drilled/put holes in the bottom worms will make their way into the scraps and begin to break down the food scraps into wonderful soil/compost. Add dead or leaves and paper if you wish. Robbie can explain her system here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6eSaIEz2rQ

I also compost in place, meaning I will just put any leaves I pull off or that have fallen off I leave there in the area to compost in the bed. I will break up the stems and some plants such as legumes I leave the roots as when they break down they release nitrogen in the soil.

Some advice I will give you about seeds and seedlings. When I first started my vegetable gardening here in southern Tasmania, I was caught out by buying seedlings that were totally inappropriate for my location. The nurseries and gardening centres were selling seedlings, so I assumed they would be fine. Unfortunately no. Some were way to early for planting outside, and were actually for people to grow in hot houses/green houses/poly tunnels situations. Or were just not seedlings that were ever going to do any good down here.

One of the problems with purchasing seedlings from large garden centres and nurseries is that the seedlings may not have even been grown for this area. Same problem can occur with seeds. Some seed do not grow for me so well from big suppliers. I am in the fortunate position that we have a couple of relatively local seed savers who have began businesses that have seeds that they have grown and saved from the fruits, here in the area I live. I see a big difference in how they perform to how the others I have in the past purchased.

Being involved in a seed saving community group, and my local Crop Swap group has been marvelous as I get seeds and seedlings for no financial cost. Where seeds and seedlings as well as produce and anything related to veggie growing and food, can be shared. For the seed saving you grow one variety of say a bean that year, and you try to keep it pure. You can share some of the fresh peas or beans and then the majority you save for seed. Sharing and some will be saved so we have a supply of local seeds available if there is a crisis such as the bush fires here last summer (2018-2019) the crop swap group grew seeds and gave seedlings to the people who had lost their veggie gardens due to be evacuated and their veggie gardens were not watered so died. A simple thing the group did but such a welcome and unexpected thing. Others grew trees to help replace trees for free.

My growing awareness of the importance to monitor flowering of my veggies especially the brassicas, as they will cross pollinate, as will tomatoes, and other vegetables. I am also much more alert as to flowering weeds. Some I am happy to have flower as bees and birds will feast on the seeds Some such as sorrel and dandelions can be eaten. Scotch Thistle I love the flower it is wonderful as the root goes deep, I will let it flower and then take the flower off before it seeds.

Another thing that you can do is if you buy a cos/romaine/butter/iceberg lettuce is sit the base in water to keep fresh and as you use it, it will often keep growing. Cut the top of a pineapple and plant it you just may get a pineapple plant growing, spring onions place the bulb bit in a glass with some water so the roots are in it and it will grow more greens. I have even had a cabbage grow more when I sat it in a bowel with some water,

I recall a farmer saying to someone I knew that if you missed weeding one year it would take you seven to eradicate it. (he did not use weed killer) I have been working hard on a couple of weeds this year that have prickles that get into my dogs coats and my feet.

The other important thing I wish to share is You do not have to grow heaps to start with. I personally began with some garlic, and asparagus. Rather expensive to buy every year, but both really easy to grow. Garlic you can grow in pots. You may be able to grow some asparagus in a large container. I am not sure. Ginger and Tumeric I will bring mine indoors over winter. I have only planted them recently and they may grow may not.

Garlic grows form a clove, each clove will grow into a bulb. I need about 150cloves of garlic a year minimum for myself and my dogs, I also need to plant for the next year so I will be looking at growing about 50 cloves minimum. If each clove produces a bulb with 6 cloves I will have enough for the next year. hmmm Might plant more..lol

Herbs are expensive to buy and fairly easy to grow in pots. Lettuces grow beautifully in polystyrene boxes with holes in the bottom. As do spring onions, and chives. Strawberries too. If you grow lettuce grow an assortment. You can grow carrots in pots.

I really want to encourage people everywhere to be growing their own veggies, to ensure they have fresh and healthy produce.

Which does bring me to one area that can be of concern. If you do have a garden you really need to be aware of what possible sources of contamination may be or have been in your area. I had a flat in Hobart that thankfully I was not growing veggies in the ground, but neighbours in houses were. It turned out the soil in the area had been contaminated by the zinc works. It was never told to you when your were buying property in the area impacted, and the only way most people were alerted to the problem was a flyer that was put in letterboxes, saying that people should be checking for contamination in the soil, and to speak to council. We were on the opposite side and down from the zinc works but the wind blew contaminants over to our area. Apparently it was not common incident but happened several times over the years.

Similarly in Broken Hill in NSW lead levels in some children (and adults) were extreme levels the children were living in houses near the railway line and the BHP trains would go buy spreading lead filled dust as they went past. Peoples had tonnes of soil removed from their yards, their roofs, inside their homes under the roof. Yet people had been growing and eating vegetables in their gardens.

So growing many vegetables, herbs and some fruits in pots is possible, It is only as limited as your own abilities, and finances. Start with just one or two containers, think of something you really love to eat but find it to expensive to buy. Research it online and give it a try.

Please check out the Youtube channel I put above. I am not in anyway involved or gaining anything from promoting it. I just find wonderful and it worked for me.

I had my second tomato ripen and ate it today. I was so thankful to have it as it was delicious and worth the wait.

I will do an update of my Veggie garden soon.

blessings Tazzie

New Years Garden Update.

I have been attempting to get the Vegetable(veggie ) garden going well this year. I am proud of what I have achieved so far. It is a very strange summer 40dC one day down to 17dC the next is it any wonder my garden is a bit all over the place.

I have shared before I am not a organised or brilliant gardener. My garden is very much like me. A bit all over the place, so we suit each other.

When I first began veggie growing here. I chose a north west facing area. Some thing went brilliantly for the first couple of years and than it was just to much heat and sunshine for them, So that area went when I needed to put in a new french drain.

The area I now use was begun the year I had my breakdown. Over the time since then I have got things going but generally they just had to look after themselves. Understandably a lot of things did not make it. The Onions in the wheelbarrow did as did the peach and crab apple, blueberries and hazelnuts. Some of the other fruit trees have not done very well. Though a couple like an apple I planted which has never done anything has fruited this year. .

Onions, self sown and doing OK. I am finding Acqual’egia/Columbines/Grannys bonnets, popping up all over the place and I love them. They can be a little problematic when they pop up in my little veggie beds or as in this case in the wheelbarrow. I do need to do some soil building up here and I feel that it will perhaps find a new place in the garden.

These pumpkins took quite a hit with the weather , I have given them some blood and bone and charlie carp. The new leaves are looking healthy so fingers crossed they will soon take off. My neighbours pumpkins went in later than mine and are just growing so fast. I have to admit I do have garden envy. I have another veggie gardener down the road from me. He is a gentleman almost 90 he walks every day and is out in his garden. It provides all his fruit and vegetables. I know I am not a great veggie gardener. Perhaps 2020 is my year to improve exponentially and have great harvests.

(lucky I pulled my garlic last week ) it is not my best crop of garlic but I am thankful for all I have grown.

Above These two plants I have a feeling are chilies. I planted them 2018 and they have never done anything. I have to say they are looking better this year, there is even a flower on this one. So it will be very interesting to see how they grow, and if I end up with any fruit.

Now the bed above is my three sister bed. Beans zucchini and corn. It is doing wonderfully well. The corn is an experiment for me. The beans and corn (well nearly all the corn are growing thick and solid, the beans are developing tendrils and leaves. I even have some red flowers developing on these climbing beans. I have fed them some Charlie Carp today so fingers crossed that will help them become happier. (photo underneath)

One of my blue berry bushes above. They are healthy but it is not the best crop this year. I will enjoy any I manage to get. The blackbirds have been beating me to most of my berries. Never netted them before but lost red currants and jostaberries to them.

Three sisters bed again showing the healthy beans and corns. Very happy so far with this bed.

Looks like the butternuts pumpkin is taking off, I it has more leaves all of a sudden. I am crossing everything in the hope of growing some great pumpkins this year.

Oh look one of my Ollas we are back in the 3 sisters bed. The Ollas were fantastic on the really hot day. I find them really helpful.

Above and below are two capsicum plants. Both have flowers. I am quite worried about the bottom one as it is not getting any height yet there are five flowers on it already. First time I have attempted capsicums,

Below is my zucchini I think, the labels have been blown about by the wind and the birds digging up the sugar cane looking for worms and grubs. It has begun taking off this week so I am hoping for yummy zucchinis, love them.

This poor tomato is one I accidentally broke the top off and it is finally recovering It has grown taller

Above the other tomato, oh just noticed it looks like a sunflower growing right next to it. sigh.. will have to thing about it as it would be the giant ones from last year and some of them were 9foot high with thick stems. Probably transplant is. The lettuce are picking up.

Anzac peach has so many peaches on them. I am so grateful that the super hot day did not seem to damage them. I feel that by the weekend I will be eating my own peaches. They are a white one.

My half barrels are evolving , finally the corn flowers I planted from seed are flowering. Another great flower, and makes a lovely pop of colour in a vase. Also in here are parsley which looks to have gone straight to seed. Also a small nastutium, I am hoping it is the red one, I took a cutting off last year, and vaguely recall popping it in here to see if it would grow.

Another plant I could not grow up until this year the marigold. I took a cutting from out side the local library(they have a garden, with herbs and flowers some silver beet. You can help yourself). It is flowering now and growing. The borage that you can see is tiny. Self seeded. I do hope that the seeds have spread further afield. Bees adore borage flowers and great added to salads.

I love this part of my garden, it is always a bit of a work in progress, to make it better for the birds to access the bird bath. I think I will move the salvia right next to it as it is one that grows super high and bushy. It will cut my view of the bird bath. I have lovely photos I will share of the birds, that visit my garden.

Sweet peas continue to flower and they are a favourite these ones are perfumed so beautifully I put them in my toilet. Beats artificial sprays.

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