Outdoor Living: Smart Ways with Small Gardens
Words: Shelley Bridgeman | NZ House & Garden October 2013
When gardens are small, you need to make the most of every corner; ideas must be creative and the execution flawless. This month we take a close look at balconies, decks, courtyards, entertaining spaces and edible gardens …
“Edibles feed the senses, soul and stomach,” says Rachael Matthews of HEDGE Garden Design & Nursery. Here she shares her tips for creating an edible garden “in a more contemporary, formal and structured way.”
START SMALL: Grow your garden slowly if you are a beginner. Planting one mixed punnet of lettuce every couple of weeks is more than enough to start with. You can simply squeeze vegetables amongst other plants if need be.
GROW ORGANICALLY: Use organic, carbon based fertilisers not synthetic chemical fertilisers, and pile on the organic matter such as blood and bone, sheep pellets, compost, seaweed, and worm vermicast.
STRUCTURE: Use each plant to best advantage. Feijoas, gooseberries, blueberries, and strawberries are ideal for hedging and edging. Espalier apple and pear trees walls and or wires and trellis, while NZ cranberries form perfect small topiary.
BEST BEDS: Vegetable beds raised 400 or 600mm high minimize the need for bending and the edges can be used as seats. Beds should be no more than 1m wide for easy access. Rotating crops helps to manage the soil and reduce the buildup of pests and diseases. Consider four rotating beds, as well as a permanent spot for favourite perennial vegetables such as scarlet runner beans, rhubarb and globe artichokes.