Spring is finally upon us, so it is time to think about your summer veggie garden, and Shape Landscaping have some great tips for getting the most out of your piece of land. Amidst the sudden resurgence of life, as plants once again burst into action, it's worth grabbing your spade and getting stuck in, and the earlier the better. The sooner you get your veggie garden up and running, the sooner you'll have a mass of homegrown, deliciously nutritious veggies to eat.
The first thing to do is to dig in any compost crops (mustard, lupins), and leave for around a month before planting up. You should then prepare, before planting by weeding, aerating the soil (with a fork), and lighting mixing in compost and sheep pellets. When soils are healthy and full of life, they make our lives as gardeners easier as they help us to nurture healthy and disease-resistant plants. However, poorer depleted soils are less complex, less interesting and less productive.
At this stage you can direct sow carrots and parsnips into weed-free beds, sowing into rows, leaving around 10-15cm between each row. As the seeds germinate, begin to slowly thin out the carrots and parsnips over the next month or so. With carrots this gives you a steady supply of baby carrots, and as you remove them you provide space for those remaining to fully mature. Eventually leave around 6-10cm between each carrot. You can also sow your seedling trays with tomato, silverbeet, beetroot, rocket, capsicum, coriander, pumpkin and courgette seeds. Keep in a warm spot and keep the seed raising mix moist.
Silverbeet, spinach, beetroot, coriander, parsley and beans seedlings are all ready to be planted, and you can also start to plant out tomatoes, capsicums, chillies and basil. However, make sure that you plant them in a warm sunny spot to ensure they don't suffer from the cold (though at the moment the forecast says that we're in for a very warm spring.
We all love the look of flowers in our veggie garden as, apart from looking gorgeous, many of these flowers are great for bees (great for pollination) and beneficial predator insects (who will munch on pesky pests so that you don't have to). And some, like violas, borage and calendulas, can even be eaten in salads. The plants and flowers that are great for beneficial insects are
lavender, borage, hyssop, thyme, rosemary, pansies, violas, calendula, alyssum, snapdragons, nemesia and lithodora.