Growing edibles in small spaces

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Even if you don’t have a garden, it’s not at all difficult to produce some of your own food at home. Sprouts, for example, will grow in something as simple as an empty glass jar. Yates Alfalfa Sprouts have all the details on how you can do this, with edible results in just a few days. Sprouts can also be grown in a cloth bag, a plastic kitchen strainer, a terracotta saucer or specially designed sprouters. The important thing is that you don’t need soil – water, air and time is all that’s required. Follow instructions and remember to keep everything scrupulously clean. Before you know it, you’ll be producing health-giving sprouts in your own kitchen.

Microgreens

Microgreens, the next step up from sprouts, are found on plates in many modern restaurants but they’re super easy to grow at home.

Microgreens (pictured) are small seedlings that are sown into a seed raising mix or some other suitable medium. Unlike sprouts, they’ve had time to develop their root systems and start to photosynthesise. Yates has four special microgreens seed packets in its range, and it’s fun to experiment with these seeds and others.

Microgreens need to be kept moist throughout the germination period and while they’re growing. The easiest way to do this is by mist spraying with a water atomiser. In the second week of growth you can add a small amount of fertiliser to the water – Yates new Thrive Liquid All Purpose would be ideal. Harvest microgreens with scissors when they’re big enough to use. After harvesting they won’t regrow, so should be re-sown regularly.

Edibles in pots

As long as it gets some sun, even a small balcony or courtyard can be used to grow your own vegies and herbs. Yates Tuscan Edge pots are ideal in this situation because they have a self-watering feature. Tuscan Edge troughs, which take up even less room, will hold a collection of small-growing herbs such as basil, chives, sage, oregano, marjoram, parsley or others. Full-sized rosemary will require a larger pot but there are some dwarf rosemary varieties that will grow in a trough. Bay, too, needs to be potted up into a good-sized tub so that, as it develops, it has adequate root room.

There are plenty of small growing vegetables that will suit a potted garden. Examples are loose leaf lettuces, silverbeet, spinach, spring onions, Asian greens and baby versions of carrots, turnips and beetroot. Zucchinis, baby squash and tomatoes will need at least a 40cm pot.

Even the fruit grower with limited space is catered for these days. Lots of fruit trees are grafted onto dwarfing rootstocks to make them better suited to pots. Strawberries can be planted into hanging baskets and blueberries are often easier to grow in pots than garden beds because their special, acid-loving requirements can be catered for.

Edibles in garden beds

If you have the luxury of some spare garden space, it’s surprising what can be produced in a small area. Square metre gardening is a successful technique that will help you to make the most of a tiny patch. Choose a spot with plenty of sun, enrich the soil between crops and always try to follow one type of crop with something unrelated (such as carrots after beans).

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