Surviving tough times often means getting back to basics. Here are some tips to keep your garden going, and to make the most of harvests so you have a good supply of food all year.
- Save seed. Keep seeds from your favourite fruit, and leave vegies in the ground to set seed. Store the dried seeds in labelled envelopes, ready for next season. When growing fruit from seed, plant the most vigorous seedlings in your garden, then in a few years, cut down all but those that fruit best. Other foods that flower and set seed include onion, turnip, radish and any hydroponic fruit or herb that still has roots. Most will be hybrids, so won’t be like the originals you planted, but all should still be good.
- Make your own fertiliser and mulch. Start a compost heap so you can recycle kitchen scraps, weeds, leaves and other garden waste to create rich food for your plants.
- Stagger plantings. Plant the same crop at regular intervals to ensure a continual supply, so you don’t need to supplement it with store-bought food.
- Choose different varieties. Grow varieties of the same fruit or vegetable that mature at different times of the year. This also helps to protect you from losses due to severe weather.
- Re-use small containers. Use these for raising seed and growing cuttings, to save buying little punnets and pots.
- Keep chooks. Even a small garden has room for a mobile hen or duck run, with two to four inhabitants to keep the grass down and feed your garden. You can feed them scraps and they will reward you with eggs and fertiliser.
Discover more ways to stretch your gardening budget, including simple ways to extend your vegie harvests, in the June 2020 issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, out now.