Welcome to our ‘Start a Vegetable Garden From Scratch’ Episode number Three – growing herbs. It is now the middle of Spring here and so far in the garden at Piwakawaka Valley we have some rosemary, Thyme, Parsley (curly and plain), Chives, Cabbage and Broccoli.
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Herbs are a great addition to your new garden. They make meals delicious, are the ultimate companion plants to go in your vegetable patch and are fairly indestructible (most of them are at least).
Pick an area that you won’t be digging over all the time as they will stay in place for at least the whole growing season – parsley, cilantro/coriander, fennel or all the time as established plants most other herbs. Somewhere near to the kitchen is also a good idea, even in pots on the veranda/patio or your kitchen window sill.
Try and find someone else with the herbs that you would like to grow and try and take some stalks and roots from existing plants and save yourself a lot of money.
Parsley, coriander, marigolds and fennel are best started off as seed or bought as little plants. But thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, lavender can all be grown from little bits with roots on from larger plants.
Simply keep them well watered until you see new growth. This is how you know that they are established. Don’t panic if they appear to die back and wilt, keep up the watering and they may well come away.
If you planted some seeds with us in episode 2, they should be starting to sprout.
Keep up the regular watering, keeping them somewhere with plenty of light or you will end up with long spindly weak baby plants.
In the ground, springtime is a good time to put in potato and NZ yams (Oca). They are both incredibly easy to plant. Brace yourself.
Step one: Make a hole roughly 15 cm (6 inches) deep.
Step two: Put the vegetable in it.
Step three: Put the dirt back on top. Done.
You can plant the potatoes and yams you buy in the supermarket, or you can buy special seed plants from the garden shop that are guaranteed to be disease free.
Planting Your Vegetables
You can also sow in place rows of peas or broad beans. Leave green beans to much later in the season. Peas are pretty hardy and will grow now. If you want to skip the seed raising bit, you can buy baby cabbage, silverbeet, onions and broccoli at the garden centers now. They are fine to plant now, they won’t mind a little frost. Traditionally the big garden plant up is done labour weekend (Mid Spring) when all risk of frost has passed.
Congratulations, you are now ready to jump in on our weekly vegetable gardening guide – find the right week and follow us through the year.
If you would like some more help getting your vegetable garden started I really recommend that you checkout our very in depth e course – The Productive Garden: Getting a full time harvest from a part time garden.
For more gardening resources, be sure to check out our resources page!
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