Cheap and easy gardening for the time-poor
Every winter it feels like I have less and less time to get basic house-hold chores done. If my wife and I aren’t dropping our kids off at school, we’re watching their sports games, cooking meals or repairing the house. I garden for a living, but even I find it hard to get time in our back yard as the weather gets colder.
So this month’s article is for all our time-poor readers out there! Plus, because I know times are a bit tough at the moment I’m going to focus on a couple of cheap and easy-to-plant vegetables which are also a great compliment to any meal.
And, if you’re worrying that you don’t have the space for veges, stop worrying. Garlic, spring onions and beet can be planted just about anywhere and are three of the most straightforward plants to grow.
Spring onions will spice up your cooking, silverbeet is a tasty source of iron, garlic will help keep away colds (and vampires!) and all are perfect for planting during June.
So let’s get started. Grab some garlic from your local garden centre, and pickup some of Awapuni Nurseries’ spring onions, plain silverbeet or ornamental beet bright lights (a brightly coloured type of ornamental beet) from your local supermarket, Warehouse or Bunnings’ store.
As long as the place you intend to plant is well drained, you can plant these veges in a pots, hanging baskets or any available space in your raised garden. Simply, add some compost, a bit of potting mix and mix in some Nitrophoska Blue fertiliser.
Garlic should be planted on the shortest day of the year, 21 June. Plant single cloves twice the depth of the actual clove, compost over the top and don’t fill in with soil. Spread your spring onions in amongst the garlic and plant your beet about 200mm apart. Lastly, cover the beet with bark mulch to keep away the slugs.
Come August/September your veges will be ready to harvest. For a tasty and healthy base or compliment to any meal, start by sautéing and sweating the garlic in butter or oil. Or to put it simply, finely chop the garlic and cook on a gentle heat for a few minutes until the garlic turns a rich, deep golden colour.Next, chop up your beet. Try not to cut your pieces too small as it will wilt in the pan. Lightly toss your beet and spring onions through the garlic for just a minute or two to combine all flavours. Add some black pepper and coarse sea salt and toss into a hot beef salad, a frittata, or use to stuff potatoes or as the base stock for a warm, hearty winter soup.