When I was a young boy in the school holidays I’d be shipped off to the grandparents who for many years had a big, beautiful house on 20 or 30 acres just outside of our old home town, Christchurch. Starting a small vegetable garden, in their case a ridiculously massive one must have been one of the pulls of the countryside.
A river ran through the property and they had two incredibly massive glasshouses full of all kinds of fabulous vegetables and flours. They were both retired by this time, and managing the property and its garden was what they loved to do. I was just a little chap, but many hours were spent laying bark paths throughout the glasshouses, weeding and lawn mowing (on a ride-on lawnmower, I thought I was so awesome…).
I was always outside. Exploring acres of garden, the majestic stream that ran through the property and taking pot-shots at cans on fence posts with a slug gun that wouldn’t even hurt a teddy bear. It was here I learned to love the outdoors, and it’s funny writing this now thinking back some two decades how much fun was had.
And it all came flooding back today when Mason and I were outside, filling our little garden bed with potting mix and planting our first few veggies. It was such fun and has ignited what is going to be an exciting little project, as we work to create our own little vegetable garden.
Starting A Small Vegetable Garden, Your First Planting Bed
We’ve started small, with a raised planting bed that I found on the side of the road, just before we moved to our new house this past June. It took two 40L bags of potting mix to fill about 2/3 to the top which will hopefully offer just enough depth for the few vegetables and herbs we planted today.
On that note, here in the south of New Zealand, down in Queenstown it’s the middle of winter… Not the ideal time of year for blossoming veggie garden ambitions (see what I did there). Turns out there’s not a whole lot to plant in winter so we had to choose mainly herbs and a few winter veggies.
- Garlic – Planted 27.07.19
- Onions – Planted 27.07.19
- Rosemary – Planted 27.07.19
- Parsley – Planted 27.07.19
First, let’s talk garlic, it’s meant to be planted on the shortest day of the year and harvested on the longest so I’m behind the eight ball by a month. I guess that means it should be ready around the end of January. I was going to see if I could plant some cloves from the supermarket but rumour has it they’re generally treated and won’t sprout. We, therefore, decided to pick up some from our local gardening store that had sprouts already as opposed to seeds.
Being a few days off August it was almost definitely too cold to plant rosemary, but I’ve decided to take a punt and see if the plant can get through the remainder of the cooler months. The planting bed is relatively sheltered, get’s great sun through the day and so the rosemary has a good chance to survive.
Next, on the list, we have brown onions. This was the only little pouch of seeds we purchased so I’m excited to see if they find life. Again, being the middle of winter we’re planting a month early so I can only hope they get off to an ok start. Taking up to 180 days before you can harvest it’s a true, slow-grower.
Finally, we have our little parsley plants. And the broken record continues, probably a little too cold to plant but I’ll keep a close eye on them over the next few weeks and we’ll see if they look to be making progress.
Our little planting bed is approximately 2m x 1m and following the specified spacing and planting depth directions for each plant we got a grand total of 19 veggies and herbs into the soil:
- 1x Rosemary plant
- 6x Garlic cloves
- 6x Parsley stalks
- 6x Onions seeds
Providing everything doesn’t die we’ll be able to start using a little rosemary and parsley in a few months time. The garlic and onions are a ways off though and won’t be ready until around Christmas, it’ll be great to see the yield as they both store for months and will hopefully be delicious and very handy for some of the summer cooking.
Total Investment To Date
Veggie garden experiment numbers so far… We’ve spent a grand total of $45.68. I’ll be sure to track yield when the time comes to see what we recoup in food bills. Garlic for instance, which we put in everything because it’s so damn tasty can be re-planted. Providing I have space by next year we may never need to purchase another bulb of garlic, how good would that be. See breakdown:
- Planting Bed (Free)
- 80L Potting Mix $18.76
- Onions (1x small pouch) $4.94
- Rosemary (1x plant) $9.96
- Garlic (6x cloves) $4.48
- Parsley (6x plants) $7.44
Exciting Experiments On The Horizon
We’ll call it a day for veggie garden blog post number one. As I sit here typing this out my grand veggie garden ambitions are developing. There are two exciting directions we’re going to go from here. One is going to be to build a massive 6m x 3m planting bed and make a polytunnel greenhouse around it. Two, we’re going to attempt to grow some fruit trees from seeds. I’m thinking grapefruit, lemons, avocados and oranges. Inspiration found, here.
Wish me luck.