We have always had a garden of some sorts as I have long been interested in growing and using herbs in my cooking. Over time that has evolved to include vegetables, fruit trees and lately blueberries. So if deciding what to grow for the first time, where do you start? A few things to consider –
What do you like to eat? What plants do you use a lot of in the kitchen? No point growing something or using up valuable garden space on something you will ultimately throw away.
Will it grow easily where you live? Some plants just wont grow well in particular climates or soil types so you need to figure out if it is viable for your area. Some varieties are better suited to particular climates/areas as well eg garlic, most supermarket varieties wont grow well north of about Coffs Harbour. Google truly is your friend here as there is a wealth of information on the internet about how to grow various food plants and where they grow best and we don’t intend to reinvent the wheel.
Is it cost effective to grow it? Once you factor in the cost of water, fertilizer, time and effort, degree of difficulty, space available, pest control, etc you might just be better off buying that particular fruit or vegetable. Carrots for example are very cheap and readily available so we tend not to grow them. Garlic on the other hand is something we do grow because freshness and quality cannot be guaranteed at the supermarket. Fresh herbs are hideously expensive and generally don’t last long so it makes a lot of sense to grow them especially if you use lots of them.
Having your own herb and vegetable garden can be extremely satisfying as well as frustrating but nothing beats the taste of fresh produce from your own garden! We have chosen to try and eat real food and to steer away from the additive and preservative packed supermarket brands where possible so for us that means growing what we can and learning how to effectively preserve and use it in the kitchen.
What about you? Are you growing herbs or veggies in your garden?