creative 1975

My Veggie Garden is Growing

In Gardening on February 10, 2013 at 7:14 pm

My vegetable journey has progressed with fantastic results of which I am very proud. I never knew how satisfying it could be to crop your first cauliflower; put home-grown lettuce in a sandwich and roast courgettes, all from a tiny little seed—nurtured to the dinner table.

I now know how excited my mam must’ve been years ago when she began her vegetable garden. She used to email photos (as she’s so far away) of everything she’d grown after she’d cropped them for the first time. Now it’s me whom is sending photos via email to her!

The first crop that I sowed was lettuce and a couple of brassicas. They’ve all been eaten now, but I’ve recently planted another few broccoli plants and we nearly always have lettuce available.


I usually research what I want to grow first in my veggie book and on the Internet; the most important fact being: ‘it’s all about trial and error’ — tis true because I have already learned what things I would do differently and what things I should do differently.


We are getting closer to the end of summer here in New Zealand and one thing that the strong sun can do is scorch, therefore I have a shade cover over veggies such as lettuce and spinach; they get the light and water, but they don’t get burned. I treat leafy vegetables with Derris Dust to keep off the white butterflies, or cover with netting for part of the day so the bees can still get to the flowers on the courgette plants. I also use netting, especially with young plants to keep off birds and let’s not forget the occasional chook escapee!


I have four raised beds at the moment and another two to fill with soil. The active beds consist of: broccoli, lettuce, beetroot, leeks, potatoes, parsnips, swede, carrot, spinach, silverbeet (swiss chard) and courgettes.

The greenhouse – although – perhaps unconventional serves a great purpose and the most important fact is: It’s been built by my husband; with frugality and practicality in mind! With an extensive background in construction, including project management, he’s incredibly handy and resourceful. The area where it stands used to be where an outbuilding once stood before the Canterbury earthquakes. It was built of brick and many years ago it provided farmworkers with living quarters. After the rubble was cleared it left nothing but a horrid area where weeds thrived and it would fill up with rainwater. Not anymore. The area is very un-even; therefore my hubby elevated the greenhouse and built decking at the side entrance with steps. The decking area is also a nice place to occasionally sit. The structure is attached to a large barn providing the back wall for the greenhouse, which in turn saved on building materials for one wall! This is part of the ‘outside’ renovation to our property; contributing sustainability and because summer steers us outdoors the renovations inside are on hold.


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The raised beds where built using wood we already had lying around, so to speak, and four of them are corrugated iron. The ground has been covered with weed matting and stones. We no longer have a weed-filled useless piece of land outside the back door that has collected rain water for the past two years. And that’s not all! The area expands further where an old chook house once stood; building works have begun there too: a sleep-out for my daughter to hang out with her friends and a fenced area for our dog to spend time in when we’re out.


  1. What a beautiful garden you have! I have moved to Canberra from the Gold Coast recently and would love to make the most of the veggie garden bed (run down, overrun and sad) that is in the back yard but I’d hate to be merrily growing something and then BAM – frost gets it. Or the cockatoos. Or some nasty bug. I really have to start to research what I should grow. And the other thing is that, while we are renting, I don’t want to grow stuff for my landlord to reap the benefits of after we have moved house. lol. I want the fruits of my labour! 🙂
    p.s. what part of En Zed are you in? It’s a BEAUTIFUL part of the world where you live!

    • Thank you for lovely comments. Yes, NZ is certainly a gorgeous part of the world. We live in Christchurch in the South Island. I have visited the Gold Coast, but we were only there for a couple of days. With regards to growing – it all depends on what to grow at what time of year and the basic info for that is on the back of seeds. I actually grew brassicas and lettuce through our winter and covered them with cloches until they’d grown sturdy and then covered the area with frost cloth. They take much longer to grow in a colder climate, but it doesn’t matter. However, I have no idea what the Canberra climate is like! Another thing you could do if you don’t want to leave your landlord with anything, is to grow veggies in tubs. You have the expense of buying them but at least you can take them with you! I have beds but I still use tubs too! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Vicki, I loved this post and the pictures of your beautiful garden. I’ve always thought of myself as a “black thumb” kind of person, but spring is just beginning to dawn here in Oregon, so I am now inspired to do some balcony gardening.

    • Thank you!

      That sounds great Linda – herbs would be ideal on your balcony when summer arrives! Lovely that Springs is on it’s way over there – my favourite season. It’s nearing the end of summer here and we’ve had some gorgeous summer weather this year, but I know Autumn is round the corner and then it will start to get a bit chilly!

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