1. Locate your garden in a sunny sheltered position.
2. To be self-sufficient in most vegetables you will need approximately 5 sqm. per adult. Rows 45 cm apart. Onions, leeks, beetroot and carrots are upright with little spread and can be planted in a double row 15 cm apart with the mid point between the double row 45cm from the next row. In addition, to be self-sufficient in bulky crops – potatoes, sweet corn, zucchini, pumpkins, some brassicas, another 5 sqm. per adult will be required.
3. Fill your raised garden with a mix of 80% aged compost and 20% good soil. (Do not use only soil unless it is top quality volcanic or sandy loam—even this should have at least 20% aged compost added). If growing in the soil add 10cm of compost and mix this into the soil. For clay soils raise the planting area – see our blog on improving clay soils.
4. Develop a succession planting plan (planting little and often) to ensure having a regular harvest with choice throughout the year.
5. Select the very best hybrid varieties as these provide the best yield, taste better and are resistant to the main devastating diseases – soil fungal diseases, and virus diseases.
6. By raising your own plants from seed, you have a great selection of varieties to choose from, it is easier to maintain the planting plan, and it costs a lot less. Buying plants is always a back up option if a sowing date is missed or there is a germination failure.
7. Rotate crops so that the same crop is not grown in the same area for two years in a row. Ideally have enough raised beds to allow one to be fallowed- (only grow green crops one year in 4 to give the soil a rest from vegetables)
8. Apply a dressing of lime and a general fertiliser prior to planting each crop. Tui Novatec is an excellent choice. For organic growers- ican 100% organic fertiliser.
9. Water daily in summer preferably with weeper soak hose or hand watering. Avoid use of sprinklers as they promote disease on the leaves.
10. Spray for insects or disease at very first sign using a legally approved pesticide. Note: Most home garden pesticides are very low toxicity with a nil withholding period – no interruption to harvest. We recommend—Grosafe Enspray 99 mixed with Grosafe BioNeem. Both these products are legally approved for edible crops, both are BioGro certified organic. (Do not use substitute Neem products as several brands are not approved for edible crops)
For a more information on growing vegetables including above details of ‘How To’, plus planning charts and recommended varieties, subscribe to our Pro Advice.