Thinking of developing your green thumb this year? For many people around the world, the turbulence of the past two years has encouraged them to return to simple pleasures and hobbies. If you're lucky enough to have a backyard, nurturing your own garden veggie patch is one of the most rewarding activities – no matter how big or small the space.
For beginners tackling the backyard growing for the first time (or for the first time in a while), here are five tips to help your veggie patch and garden thrive!
1. Plant what you love
It might sound obvious, but there's nothing worse than planting a backyard garden full of veggies that you can't stand eating. There's just no point! Your gardening efforts will feel much more rewarding when you can enjoy the produce so start by figuring out what you'd like to eat, then narrowing down what's feasible to grow.
2. Give your plants space
Make sure each plant has enough room. It's tempting to cram as many plants into your backyard vegetable garden as possible, but doing so will only result in poorly performing plants that take up space while being underwhelming in production. Make sure each plant has enough room for optimal growth by using stakes or cages if needed.
3. Schedule your watering
Water your backyard garden regularly. If a plant is struggling, the first thing to check is your watering schedule – are you overwatering or under-watering? Each type of plant has different needs, a while it might take some trial and error to nail your watering timetable the results will be worth it.
4. Nurture your soil
If your watering is spot-on but your veggie patch is still lacklustre, it could be the soil. Backyard gardeners need to pay just as much attention to what plants are growing in, as they do to watering. Healthy soil for growing fruit and vegetables needs organic matter to provide important nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium), retain water and allow the roots room to grow.
5. Plan for waste
When harvesting your backyard vegetable garden, it's important to have a plan in place to use up any vegetables or fruits that you can't eat. A backyard garden that's truly thriving could produce much more than you need, especially if there's only one or two people in your household. Give your extras to family, friends or neighbours (a great way to give back to your community), set up a compost, or get into pickling!