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Old 15th May 2011, 09:09 PM   #1
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What shall I plant now?

I'm a beginner gardener, living in Auckland with a back yard that could do with some veges in it. Please help me with some suggestions!

I am gradually building up a raised garden on some pretty well-drained volcanic soil. This bed is only about 200 cm long by 90 cm wide, and the depth of soil is about 20cm so far, with a surround of bricks. In summer I grew some tomatoes, silverbeet and basil in there and planted some strawberries but didn't get to eat them once the wild birds found them.

Oh and I grew a whole lot of marigolds. That wasn't entirely deliberate but gosh they looked nice!

Since harvesting the tomatoes my chickens have been kindly digging compost into the soil and keeping the weed seedlings down. Now it's time to plant it up and cover it in bird netting to keep the hungry chooks away (they will not be impressed).

So what shall I plant in this patch?

I'm also willing to dig over some of the lawn for new garden beds if you can persuade me that the aching arms and legs will be worth it!

My criteria:
  • The vegetables need to be easy-care and foolproof for a beginner.
  • They need to be suitable for a small space.
  • I don't want to spend any money!
This is a rented property and at some point I will have to abandon the whole project with whatever is in the ground at the time. The last time I tried this the property was sub-divided and a house plonked in the middle of my carefully tended patch so it's not even as if future tenants would reap the benefit.

So... suggestions please?

Missing my lovely chooks

Last edited by Lindeggs; 15th May 2011 at 09:14 PM..
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Old 15th May 2011, 11:10 PM   #2
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Re: What shall I plant now?

Silver beet is a good mainstay for fresh winter vegetables. You will need to protect it well from those chooks though as they like it too. you should be able to get at least 6 plants in the area you describe, and there will be enough to give some to the chooks as well.
Broccoli would also be a good choice and if you leave the plant after you cut out the head, you should get some useful secondary shoots sprouting. The chooks will also clean up a lot of the spent plants.
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Old 16th May 2011, 08:14 AM   #3
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Re: What shall I plant now?

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Old 16th May 2011, 08:49 AM   #4
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Re: What shall I plant now?

Thanks guys! morioka, I will have a good look at that link - it looks like a very handy site to bookmark.

Stikkibeek, I had great success with my summer silverbeet so I'm pleased to hear I can try it again. I had the rainbow-coloured ones which were very pretty too. Is there any problem planting silverbeet in the same garden where it was growing before?

I will try the broccoli too. I seem to remember trying to grow it years ago and it never seemed to form a 'head' it just went straight to seed. But I'll try it again and see what I can do!

Missing my lovely chooks
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:09 AM   #5
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Re: What shall I plant now?

Peas and broad beans can go in now, though they may not all fit in your space. Get ready to dig though - once you start growing it tends to be a bit addictive - you'llbe colonising new bits of ground before you know it.

You could sign up for the free e-newsletter from NZ GArdener - get growing - it has weekly advice on what to do in the garden and how to eat it as well! Go to www.nzgardener.co.nz to join.

I decided to think of the money I spent on gardening when I was in rented places as spending on my hobby rather than putting $ in the landlords property. didn't plantvery long terms things - like fruit trees - though you can grow some dwarf ones quite successfully in a big pot - but veggies are mostly pretty cheap to grow esp if you do it from seed.

Have lots of fun
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Old 16th May 2011, 10:15 AM   #6
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Re: What shall I plant now?

broccoli ...spinach..cabbage..broadbeans.. ( take some space thow )..chinese vegs ( bok choy etc )..celery
remember that the cauli, broc and cabbage take awhile to get to the eating stage.. but the leafy veg you can pick as you need..
and dont forget you can plant in containers and pots.. great for the herbs, lettices, more leafy things..

i just had the first of the winter brocolli last night.. planted out the sprouts, broadbeans,more brocolli, cabbage and cauli..now we wait..
chooks had a good feed of the cleaned out tomatoes, rocket and spinach..and had fun digging up my new plantings..
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Old 16th May 2011, 07:41 PM   #7
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Re: What shall I plant now?

I read something recently on this site about straw (or was it hay?) bale gardening - just soak your bale with water, chuck on some well-rotted manure, and plant directly into the bale. That way you don't have to build up garden beds that you have to leave behind. But I also recommend the largest plastic pots from the Warehouse for dwarf fruit trees, which you can take with you. The Lifestyle Block magazine (not affiliated with this site) also has a section every month telling you what to plant in what parts of NZ.
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