TIPS TO HELP KEEP YOUR CROPS IN TIP TOP SHAPE!
Edible plants generally need more food, water and sunshine than non-edibles. Here are the basics for most plant crops.
1. Edible plants prefer full sun.
2. Crops need soil with a high content of organic matter – not too sandy, not too heavy. See the Soil Health section for more information.
3. Food plants need regular watering. A watering gauge can be helpful, but poking your index finger into the soil up to the first knuckle will let you know if it’s time to water again. If it’s dry, time to water!
4. Some crops are hungrier than others, but all will benefit from a seasonal dose of a complete organic fertiliser and monthly liquid feeds. See the Soil Health and Plant Health sections for further information.
5. The planting zones outlined in this App are a general guide only and don’t take into account your own microclimates. They also allow for gardeners who want to extend their planting times with hothouses, greenhouses and suchlike. Likewise, the planting dates, likewise, are a guide to what you can plant and when in your zone, but will still vary from garden to garden.
Companion planting is all about plant diversity – putting together crops that enjoy each other’s company which require the same light, soil and water conditions. There are a few ways of doing this.
1. Choose plants that balance each others’ needs. For example, try planting nitrogen-gobblers like leafy greens with legumes, which fix nitrogen. Group together plants that have the same water requirements – like corn and celery. Or the same soil pH requirements.
2. Plant decoys to distract insects from your crops. Eg Calendula will attract slugs and snails, instead of eating your vegies.
3. Plant to attract beneficial insects with smell, texture and colour. Eg beneficial insects love bergamot and borage.
4. Plant others to repel pests. Some produce volatile oils that disguise the plants that pests are looking for eg thyme, lavender and scented geranium. Others produce a scent or taste that is so unpleasant it drives insects away eg tansy and wormwood. Some contain natural toxins that can be used to make sprays or washes – like fennel, chamomile or pyrethrum.
This will make your vegie garden both beautiful and balanced.
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