Ideas for the small garden
For many, the traditional quarter acre block is a thing of the past, with a host of lifestyle changes seeing gardens shrink in size. Expensive land and higher density city living often result in the garden being restricted to a balcony or courtyard. Ageing baby boomers, who form that great bulge in the population, are retiring and moving into easy-to-manage townhouses, units or retirement villages. And, on the outskirts of cities, larger houses on smaller blocks have seen the backyard reduced to a narrow strip between the house and the steel fence.
But these changes haven’t meant that we’ve given up gardening. We’re just leaning to garden in different ways. Here are some useful tips:
- Vegetables and herbs can be grown even where space is limited. The best vegie choices for pots are baby carrots, silverbeet, non-hearting lettuces (like those found in Yates Frilly Mix), spring onions, radishes, Chinese cabbages, dwarf beans, dwarf peas and snow peas.
- Herbs for pots include basil (during the warmer months), mint, thyme, oregano, parsley and chives. These can all be grown from Yates seeds.
- The larger the pot, the less likely it is to get hot and dry out, so use the biggest pot you can fit. Yates Tuscan Edge troughs or pots have a self-watering feature that helps retain moisture.
- Choose a good quality potting mix like Yates Premium. This will give the vegies, herbs or flowering plants the best chance of performing at their peak. Apply a soil wetter (like Yates Waterwise Soil Saturator) to the mix to help prevent surface runoff.
- Check pot drainage. It’s best if pots are raised up on pot feet or something similar to allow water to move away from beneath, but sometimes it’s necessary to have a saucer under the pot. If so, it’s a good idea to put a layer of pebbles in the saucer. This allows the pot base to sit above the stored water.
- Feed container plants with convenient plant foods with slow release qualities (such as Acticote, Garden Gold or Dynamic Lifter pellets).
- Make the most of vertical spaces such as walls and fences. Climbing plants like star jasmine produce a long-lasting fragrant display and can be pruned to restrict their growth. Dipladenia (Mandevilla sp) is another good choice. Climbing beans, climbing peas and snow peas are productive plants that do well on wires against a sunny wall. A good selection is found in the Yates seed range.
- Yates Vertical Garden Bags are exactly as their name suggests: bags that can be filled with potting mix, planted up with low-growing seeds or seedlings and hung against a wall or fence. As the plants grow, they eventually cover the bag and it becomes a decorative drupe of flowers or foliage.
- If you have very limited (or no) outdoor space, don’t forget the joys of indoor gardening. “Just because you’ve only got houseplants, doesn’t mean you don’t have the gardening spirit – I look upon myself as an indoor gardener,” is an apt quote from Sara Moss-Wolfe.
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