Grow Your Own

Get Growing - the Basics

 

Find a sunny spot

Anything goes – so long as it gets about six hours of sun each day. Window sills, courtyards, balconies, and roof terraces are all great spots.

Preparation is key

Before planting, prepare your planting area well by mulching and composting and regularly turning over the soil to eliminate weeds. Soil should be crumbly and moist without being sticky to the touch.

Balcony gardening or planting in pots? Clear up your space and think about how you're going to utilise it. Plan what you're going to grow and what you're going to grow in.

 

Tools of the trade

Containers

If it holds soil and you can poke holes in the bottom for drainage - use it. Keep it green by re-using old containers, tins, buckets, baskets or bathtubs. If you’re short on space, try a trellis, hanging basket, vertical garden or green wall instead.

Seeds v seedlings

Seeds are usually cheaper and there’s more variety, but it also takes longer to enjoy the fruits of your labour. So if you’re new to the game, why not get your hands dirty with a few seedlings first.

Potting mix

Potted plants need good-quality soil that drains well, but won’t dry out too fast. Buy an organic mix suited to container gardens.

 

What to grow

If you're lucky enough to have a garden, pumpkins, potatoes, strawberries, cabbage, beetroot and carrots are all good choices, plus salad ingredients such as lettuce and tomatoes.

If you're going to be growing in pots, try small lettuce such as mignonette, snow peas, herbs and mixed Asian salad greens. Most of all start with what you love to eat!

Love your plants

Give your seedlings or seeds a good deep watering when you first plant them out. Water regularly after planting but be careful not to overwater, particularly if you're using pots or other containers.

Regularly fertilise your growing plants. Use a rich fish-based or organic liquid fertiliser - your plants will love it!

To keep away pests while your plants are growing, cover them with a fine net so bugs are kept out but the sun can still come in. Plant some flowers to attract bees and good insects whilst at the same time deterring those pests!

 

Small Space Gardening Tips

Step out on the balcony

Plenty of food can be grown on urban balconies. As long as there's enough sun (6-7hrs for veggies, 4hrs for leafy greens) you can grow almost anything!

No balcony?

Don't worry, a sunny windowsill can be the perfect spot for a pot of herbs. Or try sprouting or growing micro greens on your kitchen bench!

The community way

Another option is to join one of North Sydney’s community gardens. You’ll not only have plenty of space for planting, you’ll meet other green thumbs in your area.

Get together with your neighbours

If you live in an apartment block, you might want to put a notice up to see whether there are others in the building interested in starting a garden. It's a great way to meet people and grow some food at the same time.

Go Vertical

If horizontal space is a problem, look up. Many vegetables grow well on a trellis (beans, peas, cucumbers) or in hanging baskets (strawberries & herbs).

Keep it small

Good things come in small packages and you don't need to have a lot of space to enjoy them. Herbs, cherry tomatoes, dwarf fruit trees and salad greens all grow well in pots which don't take up much room.

Worm farm

Invest in a worm farm. They don’t take up much space, you’ll be able to reuse all your green waste, and you’ll have a wonderful source of organic fertiliser for your plants.

Upcycle

Don’t just think pots – you can start a vegie patch in a recycled tub, gumboots, watering can or polysterene boxes. As long as water can drain through you can use anything!

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