How to Grow Vegetables at Home

Vegetables have the advantage of giving a relatively quick return. Most vegetables only take from 6 weeks to 6 months between planting and harvesting.

CROP ROTATION
The likelihood of nutritional or disease problems can be reduced by practicing crop rotation. This involves continually changing the type of vegetable grown in a particular spot. Look at the list of 'groups' of vegetables outlined below. Don't grow a vegetable in a particular area if another vegetable out of the same group was grown in that spot recently. Keep alternating the type of vegetable in a particular spot!
Brassicas (Cruciferae) ... Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Sea kale, Kohl Rabi, Turnip, Swede, Radish, Horseradish.
Cucurbitaceae ... Cucumber, Marrow, Pumpkin, Squash, Cantaloupe (ie: Rock Melon), Zuchinni.
Liliaceae ... Onion, Leeks, Garlic, Asparagus, Chives.
Legumes ... Peas and Beans.
Poaceae ... Corn.
Umbelliferae ... Celery, Carrot, Parsnip, Fennel.
Compositae ... Chicory, Lettuce, Endive, Globe Artichoke.
Chenopodiaceae ... Silver beet, Red beet (ie: Beetroot) and Spinach. Solanaceae ... Tomato, Capsicum, Potato, Egg Plant.

VARIETIES
Choosing the appropriate variety of fresh seed for the time of year is very important.
With many types of vegetables, if you plant the wrong variety at the wrong time, the plant may run to seed instead of producing the crop you want. With some vegetables old seed will not germinate very well at all. Some seed companies supply more reliable seed than others. It's a good idea to try a few different types of seed. Talk to friends in your area and see what has worked best for them.

MAKING A VEGETABLE BED

Not all soils suit all types of vegetables though. But if prepared properly most vegetables can be grown in most places. Provided the drainage is good and the soil is fertile and moist, most vegetables grow well.

1. Dig over the area to about 30cm, either with a spade or if the soil is hard, a rotary hoe.
 
2. Spread well rotted manure or compost to a depth of 10cm over the surface of the dug soil.
 
3. Dig over the area again, mixing the compost/manure thoroughly, and in the case of heavy clays,
breaking up any large clods.
 
4. After 2- 4 weeks, dig over the area again, then cut a trench (or trenches) through the area to create pathways. Throw the loose soil from the pathways onto the "beds" either side. This way you can create beds 1 1.5m wide which are raised 15 30cm above pathways between them. Raised beds like this will provide the drainage needed to grow vegetables in most soil types.
 
5. Rake over the surface of the beds and plant your seeds or seedlings.

PESTS AND DISEASES
Some vegetables are very difficult to grow unless you use some pest or disease control. If you don't want to use chemicals in the garden, it is perhaps best to avoid cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, sprouts, and lettuce. Some vegetables suffer common problems, but not the type which affect the crop, or else not until late in the season, when the problem is not as important. These include such things as pumpkin, zuchini, choko, turnip, radish, tomato, potato, carrots, parsnip and silver beet.

 

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