Well it’s that time of year when we turn our attention to the garden. The rain and longer, warmer days has the weeds going crazy, it’s also that time we get into veggies, my soil is no good. I have limited water and my back isn’t up to digging or weeding. I changed my modus operandi from the way I have done it all my life to Hydroponics… ohhh and I can hear you sucking in your breath, I can hear your thoughts… Shock horror as your mind goes to images of chemicals and drugs. All the things we don’t want on our table, well I can tell you most veggies in your supermarket are now grown hydroponically, the reason they don’t always have flavour is they were picked green and may have been in a cold store for weeks before they hit the shelves. So now that we have dispelled that theory let’s look at how you could grow your own at home.. I have a couple of cheap green houses at home and am picking tomatoes most days for lunches or brekkies.. I have carrots, beetroot, radishes and onions in tubs I have tomatoes , cabbages, lettuces , bok choi, silver beet, cucumbers and caulis in buckets and I use pipes with holes in them to grow lettuce, bok choi and anything else that will grow out in water and fertiliser..
The pipes are still a bit cold for vegies as the running water tends to be too cold for larger plants and too wet for the younger plants. Another few weeks and I’ll be able to fill them up with seedlings of all types to grow them till they ready for the table. The best thing about growing my own veggies is I don’t pick them till they ready for me to eat.. If I have too many I pickle and put in my pantry. I also bottle or can as the pundits call it.. this means I get to eat things like pickled cucumbers and tomato relish and sweet mustard pickles as well as sour kraut all year round but ill talk about preserving foods another day.. today its all about hydroponic growing of veggies.
Let’s look at the benefits of small scale hydroponics. No Weeding.. yup and No Digging.. and you use way less water.. so in the last year I grew vegies in the ground I got a summer water bill of a $1000. The bugs ate a good third of my veggies and by the time I got veggies to my table they cost way more than at the super market. I see you all nodding your heads wisely and thinking yup that’s why I don’t do it.. well then I went to hydroponics. I put in a small green house at my old house in Adelaide and inside 8 weeks my shopping bill was slashed.. we picked fresh every night for tea and I picked every morning for breakfast and it cost me 10 minutes every morning.. I topped up my water tubs every couple of days and used liquid fertiliser at the rate of 150ml every couple of weeks.. we acquired a few chooks and fed the veggie scraps to them and found eggs every day.. Then we moved to Palmer..
First thing we did when we moved here was put in a couple of cheap green houses, made all new hydro gardens and planted them out.. planted veggies in the ground as well.. Proof was in the eating folks, during our first summer we used up to 250 litres of water per week for 2 green houses of hydro veggie gardens and on the veggies growing in the ground we used 750 litres per week.. the heat waves sucked up lots of water.. from the green house we got heaps to eat and from the ground we got some beanz and a couple of cobs of corn and a couple of pumkins. We have learned a valuable lesson and this year even the pumpkins and corn will be grown hydroponically.
We battled bugs and weeds in the ground and used way to much water and if it hadn’t been for some unseasonal rain to top our water tanks would have lost everything. With all my veggie gardens at waist height its easy to wander around and use a natural bug spray like pyrethrum to keep the critturs under control.. its natural and my veggies are organic.. My companion planting regime is more about which plants use what nutrients or need how much water so they can be watered and fed from the same pump.
My veggie garden is open to view in Palmer by appointment only..