|Helpful & Handy Hints|
Hi Veggie Grower
Placement of your Veggie Garden
This is a very important first step when establishing your garden bed for the first time. Being aware of where the suns angle is positioned at different times of the year is imperative for a successful vegetable garden. Northerly facing and a spot that receives 6 hours of morning sun is perfect. Afternoon sun, especially in hotter areas of the country can stress your vegetable crop. Be aware of any nearby trees that may throw shade or have invasive roots that may enter the garden bed. For ways to avoid tree roots use one of Birdies tree root barriers. Keeping your Birdies vegetable garden close to your kitchen is highly recommended as this allows you to keep an eye on your produce and allows for easy picking at meal times.
Recommended growing medium
There are many soils available from landscape suppliers around the country. The trick is finding a good one! Many soils are basically composted saw dust and wood chips, this can cause the soil to become water repellent (hydrophobic) plants wilt and die due to lack of water. Using a complete organic soil mix and adding plenty of cow manure to the top 200mm will go a long way to improving its structure and adding regular amounts of compost and manures each growing season will ensure your veggies receive all the water and nutrients they require. When filling our beds the top 400mm needs to be of a good quality, the remainder can be free draining river sand. Get scientific and purchase a soil Ph test kit they are a cheap and an easy way to ensure your Ph is correct for growing, veggies require a Ph of 6.0 - 7.0. The no-dig method is another great way of creating a purely organic soil medium. It involves layering manures, hays and composts to a height and then planting directly into this. It is a great way to go if your local available soils are not to standard. There is no point in placing a $5.00 plant in a 5c hole. Try using one of Birdies Premium Fill Kits.
Veggies are very hungry. They need regular amounts of Organic Fertilizer/Matter to keep your crops strong healthy and disease resistant. Organically based fertilizers are best to use as they are derived from organic sources, for example, Kelp, Bone or Manure. Types of fertilizers include Blood and Bone, Fish Fertilizers, Seaweed, Compost, Manures, Worm Castings, Worm Wee and Rock Minerals. Applying fertilizers onto the soil surface before mulching is important for maximum benefit. Quality organic fertilizers are available from Birdies please see www.birdiesgardenproducts.com.au Using a liquid seaweed and fish fertilizer on a fortnightly basis is recommended, they improve the health of your crop and soil and protect it against disease and pest attack. Use liquid fertilizers in the late afternoon as this allows the plants to absorb the solution through their leaves. Chemical based fertilizers contain heavy metals and are high in salts causing salinity, inhibiting soil microbes, which are vital for healthy soil.Feed the Soil Not the Plant! Quality organic fertilizers are available from Birdies click here for more information.
Mulching is a very important ingredient to a successful veggie crop, especially in summer. The best mulches to use are mulches high in nitrogen, these include pea straw and Lucerne hay. Lucerne is the most readily available mulch. Placing a 50mm layer of this throughout your bed is best, then on top of this place another 50mm of sugar cane mulch or straw. By adding this extra layer it prevents the green Lucerne from turning yellow, the green of the Lucerne is high in nitrogen and if yellowing occurs it means the nitrogen is being lost to the air and what you want is the nitrogen going into the soil. Mulching not only retains moisture in the soil it feeds worms and the soil, it improves the soil structure, keeps roots cool and the weeds away. I like to place the mulch into the bed first before planting seedlings. Open up a small hole in the mulch for your seedling and plant. Keep the mulch at least 50mm away from the seedling as this can cause fungal and rotting problems for your plant.
Watering is very important in the early stages of your crops life. Watering every 1-2 days in the first couple of weeks is necessary, especially if it is hot. Once established watering deeply and infrequently is best. Watering deeply encourages roots to go deep and aids your plant in surviving the hot days. Soil is important with watering, a soil high in organic matter will hold the moisture much better, if you have to water more than a twice a week in spring/summer your soil is not good enough. Watering is the most time consuming part of growing your own so why not remove this chore! Irrigating with drip lines under the mulch is a very water efficient and convenient way of watering your crop. It can be linked to a timer making watering very easy, see birdies irrigation kits.
Pests in a vegetable crop can cause havoc and can quickly turn your enthusiasm to grow your own veggies back to the supermarket! The health of your vegetable crop is imperative in ensuring the disease resistance of your crop. Using seaweed and amino grow every fortnight over your crop will keep it fighting fit. Regular watering especially in the early stages is important also. Pest numbers really pick up in the warmer months of the year when they breed and hatch. Growing in autumn and winter is easiest as the pest numbers are low. Birdies nets act as a great way of keeping the nasties away and the net only needs to be lifted to pick and fertilize, our net also throws a light shade taking the sting out of the afternoon summer sun our custom netting systems. Attracting insects that feed on your pests is a great way of controlling outbreaks. Do this by planting flowering plants and shrubs in and around your patch. Add a small water feature to attract frogs and dragonflies and place rocks and logs around the area to attract lizards. There are many organic sprays that you can make from household items or save yourself the hassle and purchase eco-neem and oil from Birdies. The important thing is not to give up and learn from your growing experiences.
Compost, Worm Farming and Chooks
Composting is one of the most important things you can do in the garden it puts back into the soil what has been taken out, it reduces landfill by recycling waste from the home and garden, and improves soil structure. There are various ways to compost and it takes a little practice however the benefits are numerous. Worms in the garden do a great job of composting mulch and organic matter in the garden. They till and aerate the soil they open up the soil encouraging water and organic matter to penetrate deeply. Worm farming is also a form of composting. Worm wee and poo have huge benefits for the veggie garden. Chooks are the hardest workers in a garden they till, aerate, weed, fertilize, control pests and produce food in the form of eggs.
HAPPY AND SUSTAINABLE GARDENING!
Kind Regards, Birdies Garden Products
P: 1300 424 734