First it was the panic buying of toilet paper, then staples like rice, eggs and meat; now it’s spread to the nursery industry as demand for edible plants and seeds increases drastically due to coronavirus.
In the time our family has operated Wingham Nursery we’ve never seen anything like the past few weeks in 48 years of selling, growing and advising about plants.
Both budding gardeners and seasoned ones are getting into the veggie garden and in general are showing more interest in self-sufficient gardening-mutually motivated by projects to keep them busy for the likely further lockdown regulations.
The passion of beginner gardeners interested in growing edibles and self-sustainable gardening is contagious. The team at the nursery have been helping with advice on what type of vegetables will grow at this time of year and how to get started. So I thought I’d put a few tips on paper for others that may not have had a vegie patch before:
It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when you’re buying seeds or seedlings, but the more plants you buy, the more plants you need to care for.
Keep it simple and think about the fruit and vegies that you and your family most love to eat and ask what suitable to plant now. Choose those varieties, but keep it to two or three to begin with, and don’t buy a huge number of plants in one go.
2. KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS REASONABLE
While you’ll probably be surprised by just how many vegies you’ll harvest, it’s important to keep in mind that your patch isn’t likely to mean that trips to the supermarket are a thing of the past. Don’t forget that the vegies you buy in the shops are produced on a commercial scale, and your little patch probably isn’t going to yield enough to feed your entire family – but what you do produce will be delicious and the satisfaction alone is well worth it!
3. BE NEAT AND PRECISE
When planting your vegie patch, it will pay later to put some thought into where you pop your plants. Have a look at the labels to see how far apart to plant them, and follow the instructions to allow them enough room to grow into.
Plant tall or climbing crops towards the back, so that they don’t block sunshine from hitting smaller plants or make harvesting difficult once they have grown.
Planting in rows will help you to easily and quickly identify your plants – and the weeds!
4. CREATE PATHS BETWEEN BEDS
You’ll need to be getting up close and personal with your plants to check for pests and diseases and of course, harvest! If your patch is on the larger side, build paths into the design so that you can easily access all your plants.
5. STAGGER CROP PLANTINGS
It’s very tempting to plant all your seedlings at once, but it makes sense to stagger your seedling plantings. This way you will have a usable volume of vegies available over a longer period of time, rather than more than you can eat ready to harvest all at once!
Stay safe and keep healthy,
Wingham Nursery & Florist