Diary of a Novice Gardener- Part 1


I’m not pretending to be anything close to an expert. Gardening is something I’m very new at (so if you’re reading this and you more experienced, I welcome any tips!). I just thought as I went, I’d shared my ups and downs and perhaps something I discover or find out along the way might help someone else who’s starting out too.

I’ve been living in my rental for about 16 months now. When I first moved in, I was so excited because there was an empty veggie patch. I’ve never been a very good gardener honestly, I kill everything, but I’ve been on a health journey in terms of my diet these past few years and I was really keen to have food in my garden that I could just pick and eat. My mum was battling breast cancer at the same time I moved in, in fact she had her mastectomy the day I moved. So, my garden got put on hold, and pretty soon I realised that many attempts had been made to plant that garden and now it was just a mess of weeds. Some of which used to be something but now were just weeds. Most frustrating was the mint. Even I know Mint goes in pots because it becomes a weed. I spent about 9-10 months doing different things to that garden bed in an attempt to give me a clean slate to start my little veggie patch. I thought I was there, planted a bunch of seeds only for us to have a massive rain and within days it was full of mint again, strangling the growth of anything I had planted. If I wanted to stop wasting time and money just keeping my backyard nice, let alone getting something to grow I was going to have to come up with plan B. I did a little research, not much I’ll admit but a little, about growing in pots. So, sink or swim I was committing. I didn’t mind spending a bit of money, it was a hobby more than anything. I weeded the garden bed (hopefully one last time), I lined the garden bed with plastic and then a weed mat and placed all my pots on top. I purchased vegetable and tomato specific potting mix. I had a bunch of seeds left over from the first attempt at planting my veggie patch. My mum also turned up with some tomato plants one day. So, I set to work at potting everything up. I have planted a patio cucumber, 3 tomatoes, 2 pots of capsicums, kale, cabbage, pumpkin (from seeds I dried out myself), zucchini, carrots, beetroot, leek, potatoes and cos lettuce. I also planted strawberry plants in a 4-tiered planter. I sprinkled them with some natural veggie and herb plant food. In smaller pots I planted marigolds and lavender. I also put a few marigold plants in with my tomatoes. I honestly did this because my Mum told me to. I later read that marigolds protect tomatoes from a harmful disease in the soil and also from insects that would threaten to eat all my yummy tomatoes- thanks Mum! I also thought they were just so pretty, so probably I’ve planted more than I needed but I can’t wait until they are all in bloom. I planted the lavender because I read that it can be a deterrent to possums, even though most of the veggies I’ve planted aren’t a favourite for the possums I read that they can shred kale. It smells great and it attracts bees which are good for pollination, I think anyway. I planted some colourful flowers too, like a daisy, mostly because they’re pretty but partly because I assume bees like bright pretty things (who doesn’t). I made a slug and bug spray using essential oils. My best friend who is a Young Living Essential Oils consultant and has an amazing veggie garden gave me the recipe. (I actually need to locate the recipe to make some more soon). I’m going to spray the plants every few days. So that’s where I’m at. Oh, and I also bought a bird feeder!

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