Backyard bounty

The first free Grow Grow Grow Your Own workshop for 2020 was held on Sunday 16 February, with over 60 people in attendance. The presenter was Jenny Deans, a horticulturalist specialising in rejuvenating home gardens to suit people’s interests, time and resources.

Here are some tips from Jenny:

Key elements
Why do I want to grow produce at home?
Understanding your patch
Work out your limitations

Soil, Sun, Water, Nutrients, Air, Wind, Heat, Support, Time and Timing
Think of growing flowers for insects and bees as well as vegetables

Choose a plot based on the amount of sun, orientation etc
Start small. Simply start with 1 square metre
Prepare soil, organic nutrients, have mulch on hand, and think through the watering regime
A small square with a stake in each corner allows for supports for plants as they grow, covering with shade cloth in the hot sun, or tying a wind break on the side affected

Easy crops
Green manure mixes – beans etc
Self seeding plants which have been allowed to seed in situ – lettuces, rocket, parsley, amaranth
Seeds which find their way into the garden from compost or scraps – pumpkins, tomatoes , capsicums

Pick and pick again
Greens – spinach, tatsoi,mizuna, spring onions, which can be cut just below the surface and will grow on again. Greens grown indoors in a jar or tray (microgreens)
Perennials – herbs, rhubarb, asparagus, warrigal greens
Specials Snow peas

Start small to gain confidence, and not be disheartened by too much to handle
Compost bins. Place near by your plot. How about where the next plot is to be developed, to enrich that patch of ground?
Weeds – cut off the seed heads, if there is insufficient time to pull the weeds
Create a microclimate according to the conditions of your plot
Attend gardening talks and workshops, open days

What to grow
Grow what your family likes to eat – maybe they will get involved!
What will help the budget?

Think like a plant
Quick results – sprouts in a jar indoors, beans, radish, lettuce, Asian greens
Soil fixes
Compost, aeration of soil, gypsum for clay soils, organic fertilisers and mulch to keep the soil cool and moist
Encourage good insects to predate nuisance ones
Find books and magazines in the library, or purchase a book to use as reference

Thanks to Jenny for a great session and to the City of Unley for supporting the workshop series.
Next workshop: Sunday 5 April 2020 – Eating flowers, seeds and roots

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