10 Steps to a Productive, Organic Veggie Patch in 60 Days or Less
Guest Post by Nicola Chatham.
So you want an organic veggie patch? Awesome! That’s super. I’m genuinely thrilled because you’re going to improve your health and quality of life in ways you can’t yet even imagine.
But where to begin?
Well, your success will depend on having good soil. Plants only thrive in good soil. But if you live in Australia, or pretty much anywhere in the world, you won’t have good soil.
Sorry to disappoint you.
But I don’t have good soil either. I have hard, orange, clay that cuts my hand if I try to crumble it in my palm.
The good news is, we can make soil. We can be soil alchemists in the kitchen garden of our dreams. We can transform ordinary resources, even waste, into rich, amazing material in which to grow organic, scrumptious delights.
You can be eating leafy greens from your garden in 60 day or less with this simple and easy process. It’s fast, fun and the kids will even want to be involved!
It just takes a bit of preparation; like assembling ingredients for your favourite green juice or the best lasagna ever.
1. First, visit your office’s waste paper department, bin, or area, and assemble bags of shredded paper. Put them in the boot of your car.
2. Stop by the household electrical store on the way home and drive around the back, where you’ll usually find their dumpster. Pull out enough cardboard to cover 1.2 x 2.4 meters. Or, if you’ve just moved house, collapse the boxes and save a trip to the tip.
3. Alternatively, if you love to read the newspaper, you can simply save a pile of those (with the glossy inserts removed).
4. Next, on the weekend, take the kids for a drive to the country and put a tarp in the boot. Tell them it’s going to be an adventure. You’ve got a game for them. The first one to spot bags of manure on the side of the road wins. Leave your coins, usually $2- $4 a bag, in the designated tin, hoist the bags into the tarp covered boot, and drive on. Stop for a picnic lunch and leave the windows down to keep fresh air circulating.
5. Or, if you’re not the country drive type, visit the local nursery and buy 2 – 4 bags of manure there. They’ll cost at least twice the price, but the convenience may well be worth it. Do what works for you.
6. If you have homemade compost already, you’re well equipped for turbo-charged growth. If not, you can pick up some bags of organic compost from the nursery while there too.
7. You may see some hay or sugarcane mulch on your travels. You’ll need a couple of bales of those.
8. Then, the next time you’re at the supermarket, pick up a jar of molasses. It’s your secret ingredient that will make this lasagna garden the taste sensation of the year.
Then, have a rest. It’s all about breaking this project into delightful, bite size stages.
9. While you’re resting, you’re also going about your day-to-day life, making other, real meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner. Put a bucket with a lid under the kitchen bench. Toss in any fruit or veggie scraps and cover back over with the lid. Don’t add dairy, meat or oils.
10. Before you know it, it’s Saturday again. Jimmy is mowing the lawn. Get him to put the catcher on and make a pile of grass clippings next to your other resources.
Now is the time to assemble your very first, no-dig, lasagna-style veggie patch.
Get yourself a bucket or wheel barrow.
Pull out the garden hose.
Put on a hat and some gloves.
Fill the bucket or wheelbarrow with water and a good dollop of molasses and soak your newspaper and hay.
Like a real lasagna, there are infinite recipes to make a ‘no-dig,’ lasagna garden. But if you follow the process of layering nitrogen, then carbon, with nitrogen, then carbon, you will make soil that’s far superior to any dirt in your average back yard. And it will grow the best tasting produce you can find this side of Coles or Woolworths. Of that I can assure you.
This is how I transformed my clay backyard into an edible smorgasboard; without breaking my back or taking years to improve the soil.
Have fun and let us know how you go Wellness Warriors! And remember to please share this post with your friends by clicking ‘like’ and ‘tweet’.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me for help in the comments below.
Author bio: Nicola Chatham is an organic gardening coach and permaculture designer. She helps people who are busy or recovering from illness set up low-maintenance, organic gardens that produce healthy and delicious food with minimum time and effort. Sign up for her free weekly newsletter ‘Sprout!’ here.
Positive affirmation for the day: I allow the healing powers of nature to absorb through me every day.
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