Tuesday, 23 January 2007

Food Gardening for Beginners Part 2

Planning it out

Right. You’ve sorted out what you want to eat and whether or not you can do it. Before starting out you have to start planning.
Find out about any restrictions the local council may have regarding felling trees, building structures/fences, keeping animals, water usage and the like.

Observe the path that the sun makes over your property and how this changes through the year.

North facing areas are best for main vegetable gardens but some vegetables/fruit will grow in shade or part shade such as silverbeet, rhubarb, raspberries, strawberries and a variety of herbs such as mints, parsley and chives.

These can be planted in those shady areas like down the side of the house. Or maybe that site could be used for a nursery area.

Keep in mind where your water source is, be it tap, tanks, grey or dam and allow for easy access. In most of Australia you will need to supplement the natural rainfall somehow. Research alternative watering systems to allow for drought with water restrictions.

In your planning also consider where you are able to store stuff - tools, compost, potting mix, manures, straw, mulching materials and any bulk items that you may acquire. Also consider access to these areas. Nothing worse than storing your straw bales behind the shed and not be able to get to them when you really need to.

Don’t forget vehicular access for your newly acquired fresh manure. You can have great fun emptying the trailer when it’s parked 200 metres away from your site.

Take note of prevailing winds and consider windbreaks - trees if room allows or open fencing/trellising with shade cloth over (not solid walls/fences – these create problems). Hot dry winds in summer may come from the opposite direction to icy cold winds in winter - both equally damaging.

Consider the convenience of a vegetable growing area outside the back door like the 'kitchen gardens' of days gone by. Do you really think you will want to walk right down the end of the backyard on a cold, windy, wet night just to get those lettuce leaves you remember growing there on the weekend?

Get a pencil, eraser and paper.

Actually draw a rough plan of your layout.

Next in part 3 we start getting our hands dirty.

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