Seriously, how good is it to grow your own? Pretty damn good, I say. As urban dwellers, we’ve looked for innovative ways to grow our own veggies and herbs with the minimal space we have. We live super central, literally a stone’s throw away from the Rocktagon, the heart of the city. The trade off for having exceptionally easy access to like, everything, is having no backyard. We do, however, have a north-facing patio-cum-rock/shell garden-cum-jasmine grove, which is probably one of the hottest places in town during summer. Sheltered by the surrounding buildings, plants and flowers thrive, elderflower climbs out from in between the buildings (after many years of discarding the heads during elderflower fizz season) and lizards have been known to bask in the sunlight.
I’m very, very lucky to have an überpractical Beau in my life who “just whips things up”. He built 6 large planter boxes which house our greens, herbs and general miscellaneous veggies. They’re strategically placed behind the furniture and line the patio to create an aesthetically pleasing outdoor area that perfectly utilises the space (am I starting to sound like Grand Designs’ Kevin MccLoud, or what?) This also makes it oh so convenient for when you want to add something a bit different to your drink (gin and tonic through a spring onion straw, anyone? Seriously – don’t knock it till you try it.)
Over the years we’ve refined what we’ve grown after a little trial and error, as other gardeners will be all too familiar with. We grow perpetual spinach all year round, as well as oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley, mint and more mint (for mojitos, of course). In years gone by, we’ve grown bok choy, onions, tomatoes, rocket and chillies. Just whatever tosses your salad, really, and as you see with our wee patch, you don’t have to have a huge amount of space to reap many an earthly delight. Whatever space you have, whether considerable, small or teensy, it’s just so damn good to grow your own.
What to plant now (in New Zealand)
Asparagus, basil, beetroot, cabbage, capsicum, carrot, celeriac, chicory, chili, chives, climbing beans, coriander, cucumber, eggplant, endive, globe artichokes, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, okra, oregano, parsley, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, radish, rocket, silver beet, squash, sunflower, sweet corn, tomato, turnip, watermelon and zucchini.
Now come on Doctor Green Thumb, get planting!