With a desire to improve physical health, financial health and planetary health, the trend to growing fruit and vegetables in domestic backyards is rapidly growing. Although this was a common practise in the 50’s, over the last half century productive gardens have become less common. Due to a growing concern about the freshness, quality, chemicals inputs, not to mention the increasing costs of the fresh food we consume, many people are again wanting to grow their own produce. The whole concept of ‘food miles’, the distance the food travels from the time of production until it reaches us, the consumer is also a major concern for many people, with some fruit and vegetables travelling 1000s of km before reaching our homes.
Although lack of space and a lack of time may not allow many people to be totally self-sufficient, productive gardens, no matter the size, can be very rewarding. For most fruits and vegetables, good, healthy soil is vital and although you can simply work over an exiting area of soil, many people prefer to build up a garden bed. This can be done with sleepers, using an open bottomed galvanised ring or ‘tank’, using peastraw as the wall supported by plastic mesh edging, or building up a layered ‘no dig’ garden. For those gardening in extremely limited spaces, in courtyards or on balconies, many vegetables and fruits can also be grown successfully in large pots or foam boxes. For efficient home produce gardens it is also important to create suitable garden micro-climates, and understand the basic principles or organic gardening and non-chemical pest control (there is no point growing beautiful food if you then spray it with potentially hazardous chemicals).
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