Creating the perfect veggie garden in the Perth area
Whether you’ve got acres of land to play with or just a small backyard, there are lots of options for incorporating vegetables into your Perth garden design. After all, few things are more satisfying than sharing the herbs and vegetables that you’ve grown yourself with friends and family during an alfresco garden meal. But to enjoy the fruits of your labours, there are a few things you need to get right first.
Let the sun shine
All Perth landscape designers will tell you that it’s worth taking the time to pinpoint the best place in your garden to grow your veggies to ensure the best results. Luckily a steady supply of sunshine isn’t usually a problem in WA but your vegetables will still suffer if they’re planted in a shadier spot. Ideally your veggies should be exposed to 6 – 8 hours of sunshine a day on average, so choose a lovely sunny patch that soaks up the sun on a daily basis.
Garden landscaping Perth-style always includes the challenge of making sure plants can flourish in our sandy soil. Perth landscape designers can advise you not just on where your soil is best but also on what you can do ensure your soil is as rich as it possibly can be in (preferably organic) nutrients that will encourage strong root growth. You can also complete the cycle and help the environment by using your kitchen food waste as compost to enrich and deepen your soil base.
Although veggies need an abundance of sunshine to progress from seed to plate, they also need plenty of watering too, particularly in Perth where rain can be a rare event in the summer months. No matter how expertly executed, Perth garden design always relies on the care of the garden owner to succeed and blossom, so if you want to enjoy your very own home grown salad you need to keep an eye on the weather and water accordingly. Regular watering is the key here as trying to make up for one forgotten day by drenching your wilting lettuces the next will only result in disaster.
What to plant?
As any garden designer Perth-based will tell you, it’s not so much about what you plant as when you plant it. In WA’s arid climate we’re lucky to be able to grow a vast range of veggies, so often, the best way to get started is to pick your favourites and pinpoint the best time for getting them into the ground. The hot months of January, February and March are a great time to get planting a plethora of veggies. To name just a few, lettuce, cucumber, carrots, chilli, pumpkin, beetroot, leeks and tomatoes all thrive by starting off in the summer months. And the great news is, when summer is over, you can start the planting cycle again in September, ensuring another lovely garden crop for the autumn and beyond. Many veggies can be planted within a longer time frame, but if you’re in doubt about the optimum time, ask your garden designer for advice.
The perfect position
Great backyard designs Perth and beyond all have one important factor in common; they have been designed to be both aesthetically pleasing and to fit the needs of the owners who look forward to enjoying them on sunny weekends and evenings. These days the old-fashioned idea of hiding veggies from sight as if they are somehow uglier than other plants doesn’t apply, but it’s best to work with your landscape designer to make sure your vegetable area fits into the overall look of your yard, whether it’s a significant swathe of land or just a couple of raised beds. Remember to take practicalities into account too – there is no point in planting a veggie patch near a pool where kids will trample all over it.
Protection from pests
There’s no doubt about it, snails and other pests are the vegetable gardener’s number one nemesis. One of the simplest ways to keep snails and slugs under control is to start a daily ritual of hand picking them off your prized crops. Just make sure you dispose of them somewhere they won’t wreak similar havoc! You can also try some old-school tricks such as placing crushed eggshells around your vulnerable plants to deter slugs on their journey. Planting ladybird-attracting plants such as fennel, mint and sunflowers is a great way to limit aphid damage, as ladybirds love dining on aphids. Your garden designer can also give you expert advice on which insecticides will work best for your needs.
A match made in heaven
Another great tip to limit the impact of small critters on your lovingly tended veggies is to grow ‘companion plants’ next to each other. These have the often-overlooked effect of confusing potential pests into moving on and looking for sustenance elsewhere. Great combinations for this include tomatoes and basil (which work even better on your plate) and leeks next to carrots to repel carrot flies. Do your eggplants a favour by planting insect-repelling thyme and tarragon next to them. And if you’re planning a bumper potato crop this year, planting sweet alyssum on the surface will deter potato-loving pests from delving deeper.
Less is more
When you start a vegetable garden it’s easy to get carried away by imagining all the delicious meals you’ll create from your own garden. However, when you’re just starting out, it’s best to concentrate on just a few veggies that you know you will have time to tend and your family will be keen to enjoy. Devoting time and giving ample space to a few vegetables sets you up for a much higher chance of success than going overboard with a plethora of plants that all demand individual attention and space to thrive.
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