Gardening hacks (planting and harvesting)

Plants flourish, bloom, and thrive at different times of the year. Learn how to make the most of your garden year-round with these tips.

Image by Boris  Smokrovic

Spring

Best plants to grow: 

Sweetcorn: can grow in spring and during summer. It takes 11-14 weeks before you can harvest your corn. Avoid growing these next to celery but they can grow next to cucumber, peas, pumpkin and squash.

Capsicum: is best planted very late winter, most definable in spring. They take 10-12 weeks until they are harvestable. They should be grown with eggplants, basil and parsley.

Courgette: an be plants spring or early summer. Harvesting usually takes 6-9 weeks. Avoid putting these next to potatoes. They are compatible with corn, beans, parsley and tomatoes.

Pumpkin: best planted in spring and early summer. You can harvest pumpkins around 15-20 weeks. Avoid growing these with potatoes however they can grow beside sweet corn.

Image by Aleksandr Eremin

Summer 

Best greens to grow:

Broccoli: can be planted late summer and over autumn. The harvest usually takes 10 – 16 weeks. Plant these with beetroots, cucumbers and aromatic herbs. Avoid planting next to tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and strawberries.

Leek: best planted in summer and into the beginning of spring. It takes 15- 18 weeks to harvests these vegetables and they grow best next to carrots.

Watermelon: can be planted during early summer and late spring and usually take 12-17 weeks before you can harvest them. Avoid growing these next to potatoes however they grow well next to sweetcorn and sunflowers.

Image by Matt

Autumn

Best greens to grow:

Spinach: can be planted at the start of autumn but can be planted all the way until September; through the winter months. These plants are harvestable within 5-11 weeks. You can plant these beside most other vegetables such as cauliflower, celery, eggplant, strawberry’s and onion.

Cauliflower: can be planted in autumn and typically takes 15-22 weeks before you can harvest them. These are best grown next to beans, beetroots, onions and cucumbers. Avoid planting these next to tomatoes, capsicum, eggplants and strawberries.

Kale: can be planted in autumn and even into early winter. It takes 7-9 weeks to harvest this plant. Do not plant these with tomatoes, capsicum, eggplants and strawberries. You can plant kale next to beetroot, cucumber, onions, and rhubarb.

Image by Annie Spratt

Winter

Strawberries can be planted mid-winter until spring. They take approximately 11 weeks to harvest. These plants should not be planted where potatoes, pepper, tomatoes or eggplants have previously grown. Grow strawberries in their own bed with plenty of sun.

Asparagus: can be planted over the winter months even into early spring. It usually takes 2 years to harvest however if you plant crowns this can make the harvest earlier. Avoid planting these next to garlic, onions and root vegetables. They can be grown beside parsley, basil and lettuce.

Carrots: best planted in the months around winter and during this period. It typically takes 12-18 weeks until you can harvest carrots. They should be grown next to onions, leeks, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, beans and rosemary. Avoid growing carrots by parsnips, beetroot and fennel.

 

Gardening hacks (composting)

Worm Farm

Image by sippakorn yamkasikorn

A worm farm is a great way to use your food scraps in a sustainable way. Instead of sending vegetable peels and other food waste to the landfill, feed it to your worms. Worm farming uses tiger worms and red worms to eat through a mixture of food scraps, garden waste, wastepaper and cardboard to produce worm casting (composted material) and liquid fertiliser (worm tea).

Composting bins

Organic Compost

Compost is the dark nutrient dense material that helps boost your soil making your garden productive and bountiful. Making your own compost is as easy as throwing your food and garden waste in a bin with some water and plenty of sunlight and air. Healthy compost smells earthy, feels warm, damp, and crumbly and is a haven for creepy crawlies (worms, fungus, larvae, mites, and centipedes).

Bokashi

bokashi.jpg

Bokashi originated in Japan, the word translates to “fermented organic matter” and it is a great way to use all your greens (i.e. fresh food waste). Unlike traditional composting – which allows your food waste to decay – Bokashi pickles the scraps.

 

Gardening hacks (micro-greens and herbs)

There is nothing better than cooking with fresh herbs and microgreens. Chives, Parsley, Coriander, oregano and mint are great herbs to have and add that extra pop of flavour to a dish. Red stem radishes, Cressida cress and monogerm cilantro are tasteful garnishes to really bring a dish together and add extra flavour. Microgreens and herbs are able to be grown all year round. Continue reading to find out how you can create your own windowsill garden.

 

Getting started

To start off your windowsill garden you will need:

  1. A wooden box or containers if you want you herbs and microgreens seperate.

  2. Egg cartons –for the baby herbs until they have germinated. As it is decomposable these can be directly transferred into a larger container.

  3. A tray lined with paper towels or a container for your microgreens. Soil – we would recommend organic potting soil (for herbs) and growing medium (for microgreens) as it can retain the right amount of water while letting excess drain.

  4. A place that gets 4-6 hours of sunlight a day; however, not in direct sunlight.

  5. A watering can/spray bottle – so you do not drown your seedlings.

  6. A plastic bag or glad wrap.

  7. Seeds for cutting your favourite herbs and microgreens.

Gardening

Herbs

From seeds – best herbs to plant from seeds are Chives, Parsley, Oregano, Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Sage and Thyme.

  1. Fill the egg carton pot 3⁄4 full of seedling soil

  2. Put 1-2 seeds of the same herb in one section of the carton and

    cover with roughly 2 cm of soil.

  3. Lightly water the soil regularly to keep it damp.

  4. Cover the seeds with glad wrap or place the cartons in a plastic

    bag.

  5. Place the covered seedlings in a warm room with ambient light but

    not in direct sunlight.

You will need to wait 2-4 weeks until you have little seedings. These can be separated and planted into bigger containers once the seeds have germinated.

From cuttings – this is a more affordable option if you are not able to purchase seeds. Best herbs to grow are Mint, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Oregano and Lavender.

  1. Cut a healthy stem from the base of the plant. It should be about 6 inches long. The best time to take a cutting is when the plants are in their growing cycle around spring or summer and not flowering.

  2. Remove the sides of the shoots and leaves from the about the bottom half of the stem.

  3. Place the stem in water.

  4. After 2 weeks roots should start to grow, you can then transplant

    your cutting to soil. It is best to keep the plant in a dark room for 2-

    3 days so that the plant does not spend energy on photosynthesis.

  5. Place the plant in a sunny room and water regularly.

Image by Abby Boggier

Microgreens

They are quick to grow and do not need much space. The most common microgreens are beets, broccoli, cabbage, celery, kale, lettuce, radish, rocket, sunflower and spinach.

  1. Preparing your seeds for planting. Larger seeds like beets and sunflowers such be soaked in warm water overnight to help with germination. Place them in airtight bags with the water. Make sure to drain and rinse the following day.

  2. Fill the container 2-3 cm deep with growing medium soil.

  3. Sprinkle your seeds over the top of the soil and press lightly.

  4. Use a spray bottle to water the seeds. Water the seeds regularly

    and check the soil before watering.

  5. Cover the seeds with a plastic bag to create a warm humid

    environment, allowing the seeds to germinate and grow.

Harvesting your Microgreens:

Wait until your seedling are about 2.5-10 cm tall before using a pair of scissors to cut the stems just above the soil. Aim to do this just before you put them on the plate, so they are the freshest. Make sure you have a few different containers of microgreens growing at once, so you do not use them all at once and others have time to grow back.

Once these have germinated or been planted in your box or containers, place them on the windowsill and enjoy your fresh herbs and microgreens.

Image by Devi Puspita Amartha Yahya