Vegetable gardens

February 4th 2016 and there has been a Salmonella outbreak reported after several people became ill after consuming pre packed lettuce purchased from Woolworths and Coles supermarkets in Melbourne. The lettuce that is in question are those that have an expiry date before February 14 2016, these products have been recalled.  Sydney Morning Herald

Apart from the use of herbicides and pesticide, food contamination occurs sometime occurs with the produce we buy from the supermarket. If growing your own fresh fruit and vegetables is an option for you, it can be not only more healthy for you but more environmentally friendly. If you need some advice on starting your own vegetable garden, please let us know and we can help.

Companion planting in the vegetable garden

Companion planting can be used in the vegetable garden to, reduce pest and disease, promote plant growth and for many other beneficial reasons. The native American Indians are known for the three sisters, Squash, beans and sweet corn all planted together. The beans grow up the corn and the squash protects the soil from weeds and water evaporation. Basil repel flies, Chamomile promotes vigor in its surrounding plants, Chives repel aphids and black spot on roses, Marigold roots kill nematodes and repel white fly, Mint and sage repels cabbage white moth, Pyrethrum repels bugs and nasturtium is loved by bugs so they will eat that and leave your favorite plants alone. Companion planting is a great way to protect your garden without using chemicals. Bad companions have root systems that release chemicals which can inhibit the growth of some of the other vegetable plants around them.

Plant Good companion Bad companion
Asparagus Basil, Chives, Tomatoes, parsley Garlic, onion
Basil Tomatoes,
Beans Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrot, lettuce, cabbage, corn, parsley beetroot, chives, onion, garlic, sunflower
Beetroot Broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, onion, peas, potatoes, spinach, bush beans Tomatoes, climbing bean
Capsicum Onion, carrots, tomatoes Celery and dill
Carrots Beans, peas, tomatoes, chives, coriander, lettuce, radish, sage, rosemary Carrot and potatoes
Celery Tomatoes, spinach, peas, onion, cabbage, dill Sage and potatoes
Cucumber Sunflower, lettuce, pea, corn, cauliflower, dill, carrot, beans, basil, broccoli
Eggplant Spinach and beans
Lettuce strawberries, peas, beans, onion, cucumber, cabbage and beetroot, carrot, marigold parsley
Parsley Asparagus, corn and tomatoes
Peas Beans, beetroot, corn, squash, cabbage, lettuce, potatoes, cucumber, celery chives, garlic, onion
Pumpkin corn, beans, cabbage, eggplant, peas, radish potatoes
strawberries spinach, sage, pyrethrum, onion, lettuce, beans, chives, leek, marigold broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, cabbage
sweet corn beans, peas, cucumber, squash, pumpkin, zucchini, melons, potatoes cabbage
Tomatoes basil, celery, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, chives, dill, marigold, mint, nasturtium beetroot, fennel, potatoes
zucchini lovage, marjoram, nasturtium, sweet corn

The right pH for growing vegetables

If you would like to grow your own fresh vegetables in your backyard there are a few ways to make your vegetable garden a success. First you need to select an area that gets at least 6 hours sunlight a day vegetables need lots of sunlight to grow. Once you have selected an area you can use a planter box or a raised garden bed, this is easier on your back when working in the garden and allows for better drainage, these will then need to be filled with a good quality garden mix soil. A vegetable garden that is in the existing ground will need soil improvements such as adding manures and blood and bone and then it will need to be broken up and turned over to loosen up the soil for root growth. When the seedlings are planted they should be watered in with a seaweed extract and mulched with sugar cane or pea-straw.  In between crops you can plant a green manure such as peas and when they reach about 40cm dig them into the soil. Peas are a legume and they fix nitrogen out of the atmosphere and onto there roots so when you dig them in they add nitrogen to the soil.  Vegetables need to be fertilized often during there growing season anywhere between every  2 and 4 weeks  depending on the fertilizer you use. The pH for growing vegetables is very important as  the plants can only take up nutrients if the soil is at there preferred pH so I have put together a list of vegetables and their preferred pH   below.

Artichoke 5.6-6.6
asparagus 6.0-7.0
beans 6.0-7.0
broccoli 6.0-7.0
cabbage 5.6-6.6
carrot 5.0-6.0
cauliflower 6.0-7.0
chard 6.0-7.0
chives 5.0-6.0
dill 5.0-6.0
garlic 5.0-6.0
leek 5.0-6.0
mint 6.0-7.0
okra 6.0-8.0
parsley 6.0-8.0
peas 5.6-6.6
peppers 6.0-8.0
pumkin 5.0-7.0
raspberry 5.0-7.0
spinich 5.0-7.0
Sweet corn 6.0-7.0
Swiss chard 6.0-7.0
yam 6.0-8.0
beet 5.6-6.6
Brussels sprouts 6.0-7.0
celery 6.0-7.0
Chilly pepper 5.0-6.0
cucumber 5.0-6.0
eggplant 5.0-6.0
kiwi 5.0-7.0
lettuce 6.0-7.0
mushroom 7.0-8.0
onion 5.0-7.0
parsnip 5.0-7.0
potatoes 5.8-6.5
radish 6.0-7.0
rhubarb 5.0-7.0
shallots 6.0-7.0
squash 6.0-7.0
Sweet potatoe 5.0-7.0
tomatoes 5.0-6.0
zucchini 6.0-7.0