It would be fair to say that edible gardening is my favourite type of gardening (don’t tell my other plants), and ultimately led to the creation of studioFRWD (you can read more about that here). Wherever we were living – wine regions, the desert, Africa – I’ve always had a kitchen garden. Adaptability is key, but you can grow your own food/herbs just about anywhere. If you start with the right tools and a sense of adventure, you’ll have thriving edibles year-round.
Below I’ve covered the most common questions new food gardeners ask me, followed by links to some fabulous suppliers (and a note on what they actually supply), in an attempt to avoid information overload ;).
What do I grow?
My tip is to start edible gardening with the things you love to eat – favourite herbs (will save you a fortune and reduce waste), fruits, salad greens and/or veggies. If you are producing deliciousness, you are more likely to make the time to push through the learning/trial and error stage.
What grows when?
Seasonal planting will increase your yield, and your success rate. Gardening isn’t fun for anyone when things don’t grow… just saying!
What grows with what?
Some plants help others – to grow or keep pests away. Some plants don’t like each other at all and should be kept apart like enemies at a family wedding. Companion planting is easy if you have the information.
What soil do I use for edible gardening?
For edible gardening, a good quality organic mix is definitely the best choice. Eliminating chemical use is one of the best bits about growing your own food. For a new raised garden bed, you can have an organic premixed soil blend delivered from a reputable nursery; for container gardening, buy an organic potting mix. If you have a garden bed with existing soil, you can add in the required nutrients in preparation for planting food.
What do I plant in?
Depending on the size of your space and available sunlight, you may need to get a little creative and selective about what you plant for edible gardening. Choosing the right container/s for your plants is important… soil depth, access to water when the plants need it, and drainage matter. There are some fabulous beds/containers designed (in Australia) specifically for edible gardening, including for small spaces, indoor/balcony gardening and self-watering options.
Seeds or seedlings?
Seeds are generally cheaper (and some things, like carrots, just grow better from seed in my experience), whereas seedlings are great for those of us who are time poor and want more immediate results. Go ahead and try both – see what works best for you. Do buy the best quality you can find/afford – organic/heirloom varieties are the bomb.
Edible Gardening Supplier List
The Little Veggie Patch Company has a plethora of books, designed to make growing food easy. They cover everything from seasonal and companion planting, to soil quality and pest control, along with DIY projects like composting, worm farms and potato towers – if you’re up for it. They also make raised veggie crates which are perfect if you have the room. You can choose to have them delivered with their excellent quality soil mix or do the shovelling yourself.
Resource for: Information on all things urban food gardening, raised garden beds for medium – large spaces, seeds, and more.
Biofilta: With a focus on building healthy, sustainable and liveable cities, Biofilta have turned their attention to urban food production. Their Foodcube is a modular raised bed system. It’s self-watering and customisable.
Resource for: Medium – large space raised beds.
Vegepod: The perfect ‘in between’ planter, size wise, Vegepod comes with a canopy which creates the perfect microclimate, has an integrated watering system, and optional wheels if you want to take it on a tour of your garden.
Resource for: Medium sized portable raised bed.
Glowpear: Perfect for small space, indoor or balcony gardens, these planters are designed in Australia with the perfect planting depth and self-watering system. They are also easily transportable if you’re moving house.
Resource for: Planters for smaller spaces/indoors/balconies.
Mr Kitly: great self-watering pots made from lightweight, BPA free plastic. These gems come in a variety of sizes and colours, are easy to move with the sun even when full of soil and won’t break your budget. They’re also made in Melbourne.
Resource for: Budget friendly planters for smaller spaces/indoors/balconies.
Easy As Organics: These guys have a range of products designed for organic urban gardening. Check out their Living Soil, worm castings, neem meal… the list goes on!
Resource for: Organic soil, soil health, pest control.
Easy Come Easy Grow will send you a seed pack on a monthly basis – no having to work out what’s in season, they do the work for you! They also include a newsletter with great tips and guides to their seed subscribers.
Resource for: Seeds (and fun insta videos).
The Diggers Club: Australia’s largest garden club and supplier of quality heirloom seeds.
Resource for: Heirloom seeds.
Northern Beaches Farm: This Sydney based company delivers high quality organic seedlings and even has packing tricks to ensure they reach you in fabulous condition.
Resource for: Organic seedlings.
Compost Revolution has great information, and products, for those of you interested in doing your own composting or worm farming.
Resource for: Composting and worm farming.
Don’t have the time, or desire, to set up your own kitchen garden? Get in touch and I’ll have you harvesting your own food in no time!