Urban Organique – a non-gardeners guide to growing organic veggies in suburbia

Growing your own produce is hands down one of the most satisfying things you can do in my opinion. Having dabbled with growing my own veggies and herbs for a few years, I was recently faced with the prospect of starting from scratch when I moved house just over 12 months ago. Glass half full – my new garden was very much a blank canvas, a new challenge and an opportunity to create something suited to our needs.

I’m on a mission to detoxify my entire life – to tread lightly on the earth and on my body. First and foremost, I accepted that I wasn’t going to get where I wanted to go overnight. It’s a journey that will take time. But along the way I’ll learn and I’ll grow, I’ll fall and I’ll fail. And that includes what happens with my veggie patch! The hardest part is behind me – deciding to make a change, to live a more natural lifestyle and getting the right tools to make it happen.

Bit philosophical for you? How about getting metaphorical instead? Getting started with growing your own food is a bit like baking a cake – you get out what you put in. Using quality, organic ingredients to make your cake over a cheap packet mix, full of unknown and highly processed nasties, will deliver you a far superior result. Let go of the socially constructed idea of perfect – real things aren’t ‘perfect’. Your cake might not look as good, as well risen, as fluffy as the packet mix, but it will taste like something (other than sugar). Same goes with your veggies. Don’t diss your home-grown carrots that look like an arse or your misshapen tomatoes. Love and bask in their natural beauty and their TASTE!

Which brings me to another metaphor. Models. They look good in magazines, but in real life they’re usually a little bit pretentious and full of crap. Not dissimilar to the shiny vegetables that you see on the shelves in your local Coles or Woolies (although the last time I bought fruit and veg from one of these places, they actually looked a little more real) – but either way, full of crap, not of substance. Your organic produce on the other hand, represent the ‘real’ women, nothing fake. They don’t get the privilege of being highly photo-shopped for magazines due to being a little rough around the edges, but they’re authentic, honest and full of all sorts of goodness.

Now, back to the baking. Let me qualify by saying that I’m not much of a baker. I tend to be a little experimental in my approach. I’m not too good at following recipes, preferring more of a slap dash approach as opposed to accurate measurements.

Growing your own veggies in my opinion is just like baking a cake, it’s all about the ingredients. If you don’t get the fundamentals right, you’re likely to end up with a sub standard result. It’s not about following a complicated recipe, it’s about using quality, organic ingredients and having a go.

The essential ingredients that I used in my organic veggie garden recipe included:

  • organic compost -Gods Gift to Gardeners
  • clay (I used bentonite but Soil Solver or Sand remedy are options)
  • rock dust
  • raised garden beds

Things that you may or may not want to add to that are:

  • organic pest control
  • plant tonics like Eco Vital ,eco seaweed

Get your hands on some organic seeds or seedlings and do some research on seasonality. My Winter veggies are coming up a treat at the moment.

Always remember, that it’s about you. Plant what you and your family like, think about what you buy a lot of at the shops, or something that is particularly expensive and grow that. Be practical.

On the flipside, take risks and try new things. What’s the worst that can happen? Colour outside the lines, be creative and plant veggies throughout your garden – but remember the basic recipe applies at all times. Here’s a few snaps of things we’re currently trialling at our place.

As I said, it’s early days for us, it’s not ‘perfect’, but soon I’ll have enough Kale for green smoothies for the entire street and I can look at the food on my plate every day with peace in my mind and love in my heart.

Thanks to Gardeners Direct for all the help, guidance and amazing products to get my organic gardening ball rolling!