The Green Way
“I grow because it saves money and I get food fresh,” Sonia.
“I love getting my hands dirty, and I love seeing the things I plant grow into the things I eat. It makes me happy!” Deb.
There are hundreds of different ways you can grow fresh veggies. You don’t need a huge backyard with a whole lotta space – in fact, you don’t need a backyard at all!
People seem to think that growing your own veggies is a ton of work. After reading this advice from Sonia, Deb, and Next Step After Care, you won’t be able to make any excuses for not having your own veggie patch!
Why should you bother? Growing your own veggies is a great way to save cash. According to a survey released in March by the think tank The Australia Institute, 52% of Australian households grow their own food and 91% of these agree it saves them money. You spend $3/kg for carrots at Coles or Woolworths. But, if you check out www.theseedcollection.com.au, you might be surprised to learn that for $1.00, you can buy one hundred and twenty six carrot seeds.
ONE DAMN DOLLAR FOR MORE THAN ONE HUNDRED POTENTIAL CARROTS! It’s unthinkable that we
spend so much on food, when we could save it all.
Not to mention, you can grow just about anything on your own, and it’ll save you money! You can take a stab at growing tomatoes (you can grow the vines left, right, up-side down!); spring onions; cucumbers; zucchinis, and a ton of different herbs! Sonia started growing her carrot and spring onion patch almost two weeks ago to save money and have fresh food. Her seeds have already germinated and have begun to grow.
Do you live in a unit? If you want to dabble with home-grown vegetables, don’t trick yourself into thinking you don’t have the space! You can have a little carrot, cucumber, or zucchini garden on your balcony. Reuse Styrofoam boxes from fruit shops to grow your veggies in. The boxes provide good insulation from heat and cold, and retain water really well; this makes Styrofoam boxes perfect to use for every region of Queensland.
The good thing about these little veggie-growing machines is their mobility. Try keeping them on the balcony in half sun and light shade, and watered as much as possible. When you have mates around, just move them into the shower or bath-rub for safe-keeping to free up space!
Can’t be bothered dropping by the fruit store? No worries! Keep old milo and coffee tins, ice cream punnets and large soft drink bottles. All of these can be used to grow herbs or lettuce. This way, you can recycle your trash to save money on expensive ‘equipment’ for growing your veggie – all it takes is a little creativity!
Do you have a small backyard? Sonia recommends using pallets to structure your veggie patch. They keep all the goodies separated, and you know exactly what’s growing. Plus, they don’t take up much space. Sonia bought her pallets from Bunnings, but you can easily source some cheap or even free pallets on www.gumtree.com.au. Sonia chucked her pallets in a shady area that also gets good sunlight. “I put the seeds in the dirt and water them every day. Keep the seeds close the surface, otherwise they won’t grow,” she says.
Do you have a big backyard? Deb threw down palm fronds and compost to make her killer veggie patch. “The soil was pretty dry. I didn’t think anything would grow. So we fed it all the nutrients it needed and planted our seeds. Now we have corn, pumpkin, basils, fig trees and sweet peas,” she says.
Don’t throw out your leftover or wasted veggies – chuck them into a compost heap! You’ll get some of the most delicious, fresh, healthy veg ever! Plus, you’re not wasting a single thing; ultimately, you’re making every dollar count.
Realistically, the biggest cost of maintaining a vegetable garden is water. You can overcome this by leaving containers or tubs outside while it’s raining. That way, you can nurture your fresh vegetables with some fresh rain water – and it doesn’t cost a thing.
Which part of Queensland do you live in? This website will show you what you can plant each season in YOUR region!