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GROWING YOUR OWN TASTY, ORGANIC VEGETABLES IS EASY!
Organic growing is about working with nature, rather than fighting it! Organic gardens evolve over time, as you begin to let a natural balance occur. This means avoiding the use of any 'cides' in your garden... herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, etc. and encouraging natural predators (birds and beneficial insects), stimulating soil life (by adding rich organic matter), and planting to suit the season and local environment. Start small, and build on your successes and experience. You can be enjoying your own healthy, fresh produce within weeks.
PREPARE YOUR SOIL
Use a quality Certified Organic products to feed your soil. This feeds beneficial microbes, encourages earthworms and means stronger, healthier plant growth. Making sure your Perth sandy soil is improved with clay and biochar will get the structure right from the start; helping the soil retain moisture which in turn enables healthy populations of soil biology. We're Perth's organic gardening specialists - so ask us how we can help!
SELECT YOUR VEGETABLES
Not sure what to grow in Perth at this time of year? We've got free downloadable guides for you (When to sow vegetables in Perth and When to propagate herbs in Perth are just two of them!) Choose seeds or healthy seedlings. Non-hybrid, open pollinated varieties mean you can save your own seed for next year.
Over winter, it is unlikely you will need to water your vegetables – however remember if we have a couple of dry days, check the soil. For the summer months, a surface drip irrigation system (under the mulch) is highly effective if you have an automated system. Hand watering is a great way to keep an eye on the general state of your garden – and can provide some great thinking time! In the height of summer, be prepared to hand water daily.
FEED YOUR PLANTS
Depending on what you choose to grow, most vegetables will benefit from light, regular feeding to produce a heavier crop. Use an organic seaweed liquid fertilizer, compost tea or worm juice to give your plants a real boost!
MONITOR PESTS AND DISEASE
Organic growers use a number of safe, often home made remedies to treat pests and disease – but only as a last resort! Planting a variety of flowering plants will attract many beneficial insects which will assist in pest management. Always start with the least toxic option first. Remove bugs by hand and use traps to avoid inadvertently damaging large numbers of other insects.
(See our fact sheet on making your own simple sprays and treatments.)
Over the summer months, mulch with a coarse, light coloured organic mulch (straw or pea hay are ideal!) to help prevent moisture loss.
ENJOY YOUR HEALTHY, HOME GROWN PRODUCE!
There really is nothing to compare to the taste of fresh, organic produce – and imagine the satisfaction of growing it yourself!
Be aware that it may take time and a few disappointing setbacks to reach the stage where you won't need to intervene in your garden - by all accounts, after about 3 years of not reaching for pesticides, you will see a big rise in the amount of beneficial insects that move in once they find a food source; and their life cycles will play out in your garden from then on - helping keep things under control. Planting flowering native shrubs (even in pots) to encourage birds, keeping water bowls topped up for birds/frogs/lizards in summer - all will help control unwanted pests (make sure bees etc. don't drown).
It is easy to grow organically but it isn't completely effortless... but it's so rewarding to know exactly what you're eating and feeding your family, so hang in there!