The NZS.com Growing Vegetables in New Zealand contains information on growing your own vegetables in New Zealand in pots, containers and your yard.
Vegetable Growing in New Zealand
In tough economic times now is the perfect time to rediscover the art of gardening and save yourself some money.
When thinking about growing vegetables in New Zealand yourself, the first thing that comes to many people's minds is the lack of space in their garden. Where can you grow your own veges?
Even small spaces can produce plentiful vegetables. Potatoes can be grown in a bucket. One seed potato can yield dozens of edible potatoes. Grow a cherry tomato in a pot against a wall for support. Mesclun mix can be planted in a pot too and individual leaves are picked as needed. Pumpkins and other squash can be trained to grow up trellis, or fences. Strawberries, blueberries and dwarf fruit trees can be grown in containers.
Space need not be an obstacle, so read on below for ways to save on groceries in New Zealand.
Why Grow Your Own?
- Money. The amount you will save is huge. If you have space in a back yard to grow some vegetables the savings will be instant. For example, a bag of carrots costs around $4 for a dozen carrots. A packet of seeds containing approximately 1000 seeds costs a couple of dollars. For less than the cost of a bag of carrots you can have enough carrots to sow them throughout the year and keep a plentiful supply.
- Fun. Growing your own really can be fun and satisfying. Nothing tastes better than food you have produced yourself.
If you have children, or grandchildren, get them involved too for educational and quality time together.
Give them their own special pot or section of the garden. For older children you could have a competition to see who can grow the biggest carrot, or the most potatoes.
- Fresh is best. At least you know when the food was picked when you are cooking it. Food from supermarkets is usually picked at least a day before it hits the shops.
- Ecofriendly. It is better for the environment as it cuts down on packaging.
Is Gardening Too Hard?
Is it any harder to go out to the garden, or the deck and pick some fresh fruit and/or vegetables than it is to find a park at the local supermarket, to stand in a queue waiting to be served, to dispose of the plastic containers and wrapping - and to pay more for the privilege?
Growing your own is easy when you're set up, just try to be organised about it. Find a good reference book at the library, or a gardening magazine at the book store. These have calendars of jobs to do, when to sow or plant vegetables so you can't go wrong. Ask people in the garden centres as they are there to help you. Once you have sampled some of your own produce you will be hooked.
What Do You Need To Get Started?
That depends on your situation. You do need to spend a bit of time getting your garden and/or containers ready and weeding and watering.
If you have spare back yard, you'll need a fork, a bag of compost and some plants and/or seeds.
If you have limited space, get some planters or tubs, compost/potting mix, and seeds or plants.
Check out local recycling centres or garage sales to pick up second hand tools. Good quality tools don't break and can last a gardening lifetime.
A watering can and/or hose will aid you in keeping up the water. However, if you have a small container garden, a jug or bottle will do the job just as well.
While a reference book is not essential it will make life easier as you can regularly check on suitable plantings. If you don't want to buy one, check the local library.
Before you get too carried away try a couple of different plants - pottles of 6 plants are available from any garden centre, or even The Warehouse for less than $5. Once you have remembered to care for these for a few weeks, and they have survived, you can expand your selection. Look for plants which will grow quickly so you experience success early on in your gardening journey. Radishes for example can go from seeds to edible in abut 6 weeks. Carrots on the other hand, take a lot longer.
If you have a large window sill in your kitchen, have a few favourite herbs potted up for quick access when cooking.
Tips For Success
- Regular watering but not too much. It will be obvious if the ground has dried out. Water should not sit on the surface for a long time as this indicates the ground is saturated.
- Cabbage white butterflies can wreak havoc on your broccoli, cabbages and cauliflower. Buy a container of Derris Dust and sprinkle over leaves. This may need reapplying after rain or watering. You don't need much so the container will last you some time.
- If you live in cooler areas, watch plants outside as late frosts can be tough on tender young leaves. Cover with an old sheet at night to protect them, or cut the bottom off a two litre plastic milk container and place over the top of smaller plants.
If you are serious about supplementing your groceries, and developing a green thumb, cultivating a small vegetable garden is a fun and profitable idea. For a small investment you can reap ongoing rewards throughout the year. Give it a go today!
For more information on vegetable growing in New Zealand, check out the NZS.com directory.