Saturday, October 19, 2013

The 3 Principles of Gardening

Glut and famine can be found in a most vegetable gardens; some things grow rather too well while others get eaten by cabbage moth caterpillars, go straight to seed or suffer disease and produce very little for the amount of water and fertilizer spent on it. Suddenly the time and money spent becomes a real weight as to whether its worthwhile continuing a garden. So a solution is needed.

My veggie garden is undergoing a very quiet time this season as I am reassessing what I should REALLY plant.

I found that I can grow some plants very easily so I need to reduce those plantings and stagger their plantings. But I also discovered that it was cheaper to buy some veggies rather than to attempt to plant them and fight their disease, water and fertilizer issues. Its a matter of balance.

Having looked at my soil in the planter boxes and ground level garden beds, I want to get the mix right. I brought in some organic loamy soil by the trailer full to refresh the ground level garden beds, followed by a planting of rocket to fight the nematodes in other parts of the garden.

I currently have test crops in to see how well the loamy soil performs, such as the Broad Beans, Curly Kale, Garlic, and heirloom Chard.

As comparison, I have planted some other crops in the older soil to see if they will perform equally. Then I can make a really informed soil choice. I'm sure it will all be worth the test and measure for the longevity of my garden and its productivity.

Here's the basic principle every gardener should use when planning a garden...

3 Principles of Gardening
  1. Shelf Life - Whatever stores well
  2. Availability - What you don't normally see in the shops
  3. Price - What is too expensive to buy

Shelf Life

Root vegetables, pumpkins and anything you like to jam, dry, preserve or freeze.
Note: Potatoes cannot be frozen

'How fast will you eat what you grow?' is a good guide, too.


Broad Beans and many other bean varieties are usually very rare amongst the shops in a fresh form, that is because they really need to be eaten at harvest time.

If it is hard to get your favourite fruit and vegetables in your area then they are the ones you should grow.

Stone fruit and tomatoes have much more flavour when picked from your own garden and allowed to ripen in a cool dark place in your house. They far exceed what you can buy from the shop when it comes to flavour and smell. So even though that are readily available, the smell and flavour may not be there, that is why they fall into the Availability category.


Avocado prices can be extraordinarily high at times, so growing your own may work out to be much more affordable.

Dollar to kilogram ratio ($/Kg), herbs are by far the most expensive. They store well when dried so they also fall into the Shelf Life category.

Follow these 3 principles of gardening and you will find you have a more balanced way of gardening that is sustainable and rewarding.

1 comment:

  1. Hey hey,
    I really enjoyed this post! Seeing our current economic situation, efficient vegetable gardening & productivity does make a big difference! I've been keeping record of all my harvests since the beginning of the growing season (Sep in South Africa) and recently crunched the numbers on what I saved. I decided to ditch growing things like onions as they are dirt cheap, but leeks are horridly expensive and more worth while spending time/effort/money on growing!

    I also came to the same conclusion that a herb & spice garden pockets the most savings (especially if you add garlic and ginger to the list).

    I am glad to have stumbled upon your lovely blog, since truthfully most vegetable gardening blog information are centered around a 'popular few' these days with buzz-type articles (who aren't necessarily informative or practical). I will be a regular visitor here seeing that we share similar ideas surrounding vegetable gardening ;)