Monday, 24 July 2017

Seven tips for tiny space edible gardens


Last week I presented a Tiny Space Edible Gardening workshop at the Brisbane Square library as part of their Small Space Living program. It was so lovely to see such a huge crowd there. Thanks to the lovely library staff for organising the session and the council for their ongoing support these programs - free community education programs.

Following up for those who attended but also those who couldn't get a seat, here are my seven tips for tiny space edible gardens. In the next post, I will put some more lists of useful plants for different types of small scale edible gardens.


Morag's 7 tips for tiny space edible gardens 


1. Sunlight is essential:

Find a niche where your edible plants can access enough light to grow - at least 4 hours for most leafy greens. Some herbs can survive on less than this, but typically most vegetables will struggle and/or bolt.


2. Bigger pots are better

Plants struggle to thrive in small pots dry that out too quickly and limit the nutrients available for healthy plant growth.


Lemons make a great potted plant.

3. Grow in groups

Plants thrive with diversity of others that like similar conditions. Try some of these mixed pots:
  • salad pot - lettuce, mizuna, coriander, rocket
  • tomato and herb - tomato, basil, oregano, parsley, coriander, scallions, garlic chives
  • mints - chocolate mint, japanese mint …
  • mediterranean flavours - rosemary, thyme, sage
  • culinary pot - parsley, chives, basil
  • spicy pot - chilli, lemongrass, thai basil, coriander
Polycultural pots

4. Choose robust, abundant, seasonal and right-sized plants.

Trying to grow things out of season or from a different climatic zone causes heartache. Get to know what grows in your local area in each season and select plants that are hardy and drought tolerant. Also keep in mind the scale of plants for your tiny garden.


5. Eat more parts of the plant 

We tend to overlook much of the food that is in our gardens. Especially in small gardens it is useful to expand your culinary repertoire - for example eat the leaves of peas, beetroot, radish, broccoli and carrots. Eat the flowers of rocket and brassicas. Eat the seeds of basil.


Pots of carrots - make sure the pots are deep and you select small carrot varieties. Eat the leaves too!


6. Don’t overwater  


Don't kill your plants with love. Watering too often causes fungal programs. Better to water well less often and incorporate good compost and other water holding materials in the soil, and top it all with mulch.


7. Feed soil regularly 

Plants in pots do not have access to the full range of nutrients and minerals that plants in soils can access. They rely on you to feed the soil, so they can flourish. Make sure you incorporate some type of compost into your small scale system - worm farms are a great option.

Society garlic along a pathway

Rhizomes - galangal, ginger, turmeric

Microgreens can produce an abundance of highly nutritious greens indoors

Eggplant abundance.
Tulsi in a pot - great homegrown medicine.

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