Author: Lee Holmes
If you’ve ever picked a sun-ripened tomato off the vine, you’ll know what I mean when I say there’s no experience quite like it. Imagine it is bright red, bursting with flavour and will tingle your taste buds in all the right places. No tomato can quite compete once you’ve tried a homegrown one. Lee shows us how we can Supercharge Our Lives by creating a home-grown kitchen garden.
It’s unbelievable to think that only a few generations ago, most of the food that we consumed was grown in the garden of our ancestor’s homes. Aside from drastically reducing your grocery bills, transforming your garden into your kitchen will change the way that you think about food.
There’s nothing that tastes better, nor is made with as much love as homegrown produce. Homegrown fruits and vegetables have proven to be full of more flavour and nutrient-value than their supermarket counterparts. If you’ve been thinking about growing your own garden, why not take the plunge and plant a few seeds?
Before starting, I recommend finding an open and sunny spot that receives enough light to help the vegetables to grow. If you simply don’t have these kinds of conditions, stick to crops that can tolerate the shade, including cherries, blackberries and rhubarb.
When it comes to watering your new little friends, like us, vegetables will always thrive when hydrated. If in a warm climate, they need a little extra moisture so be sure to water your vegetables when the top inch of the soil is dry. If you have in-ground crops, they may need watering once or twice a week.
If you’re not quite convinced to start your garden in fear of weeding, trust me, I’m not about that life either. There are ways to prevent weeding, such as by purchasing mulch. Buy organic mulch as it can prevent most weed seeds from germinating. If weeds do start to grow, mulch makes it a lot easier to pull them out.
Begin With These Garden Gems:
I began my strawberry patch with small seedlings that I picked up at a local nursery. They need full sun and moist, well-drained soil to grow. Instead of washing strawberries and eating them mushy, I recommend wiping them with a paper towel.
I use strawberries to top my many savoury meals such as oatmeal and sweet potato toast. I even use them in a few of my salads. Luckily for Aussies, strawberries grow well in both summer and winter in Australia.
I recently found some small cucumber plants and knew I had to get them as I’d heard from the gardening crew that they’re a good year-round plant. I decided to plant them inside my house and have created a wigwam-type trellis from bamboo canes because they’re vines and like to climb.
They need some sun and are extremely thirsty plants (who knew?) which is why I installed an automatic watering system. It’s best to grow cucumbers within 8 to 10 weeks and to cut off with secateurs or a sharp knife. I love to have them in my green juice, in my pumpkin and rocket salad and as cucumber noodles (coodles) in soup.
Are the different shades of tomatoes the best thing about them, taste aside, or is it just me? From a ruby-red and orange to purple and even black, tomatoes come in many different sizes, shapes and flavours. If you can’t wait for them to ripen naturally, put them in a brown paper bag at room temperature to speed up the process.
I store my Roma (plum) tomatoes in a hanging basket; warm and under cover unless they are cut, then I store them in the fridge. They go well in salads, oven-roasted with herbs or made into a paste – yum. If you’ve ever been described as a tomato after being out in the sun, there’s good reason. They love warmth and can even grow indoors if you don’t have an outdoor garden.