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Amidst the sudden resurgence of life, as plants once again burst into action, it's worth grabbing your spade and getting stuck in! And the earlier the better! The sooner you get your veggie garden up and running, the sooner you'll have a mass of homegrown, deliciously nutritious veggies to eat.
And by starting now you save time later, as your veggies take up space where weeds would otherwise grow.
Dig in any compost crops (mustard, lupins). Leave for around a month before planting up.
Prepare before planting by weeding, aerating the soil (with a fork), and lightly mixing in compost and sheep pellets. You can also help improve your soil with a few handfuls of Nature's Organic Fertiliser. This help by increasing beneficial microbial activity (bacteria and fungi) and improves soil structure, all of which will make it easier to grow healthy, disease and pest-free plants.
For more on improving soil click here
Veggies to plant
Direct sow carrots and parsnips into weed-free beds
Sow into rows, leaving around 10-15cm between each row. As the seeds germinate, begin to slowly thin out the carrots and parsnips over the next month or so. With carrots this gives you a steady supply of baby carrots, and as you remove them you provide space for those remaining to fully mature. Eventually leave around 6-10cm between each carrot.
If you haven't grown carrots before, using a seedtape is a great way of getting a feel for this.
Sow seedling trays
Sow trays with tomato, silverbeet, beetroot, rocket, capsicum, coriander, pumpkin and courgette seeds. Keep in a warm spot and keep the seed raising mix moist.
For advice on growing from seed click here.
Plant out seedlings
Silverbeet, spinach, beetroot, coriander, parsley and beans seedlings are all ready to be planted.
You can also start to plant out tomatoes, capsicums, chillies and basil. However, make sure that you plant them in a warm sunny spot to ensure they don't suffer from the cold (though at the moment the forecast says that we're in for a very warm spring).
Flowers to plant in the veggie garden
Aside from looking gorgeous, many of these flowers are great for bees (great for pollination) and beneficial predator insects (who will munch on pesky pests so that you don't have to). And some, like violas, borage and calendulas, can even be eaten in salads.
Plants and flowers great for beneficial insects:
Lavender, borage, hyssop, thyme, rosemary, roses (simple ones with visible stamens are best), pansies, violas, calendula, alyssum, snapdragons, nemesia and lithodora.