A Growing Success at Manawee Garden Centre
Alison Smith discovers a genius solution to growing, harvesting and enjoying homegrown goodness.
My grandma was a gardener, my mum is a gardener and so far my daughter seems to be a gardener, but somehow the green thumb gene skipped me.
I’ve tried many times. Each year as the weather warms up I head outside to my designated vegetable garden patch; I pull out the weeds, dig in some fresh new soil and manure, and happily head off to the nursery to buy all sorts of seedlings to populate my virgin garden bed.
As I browse the large array of edible seedlings to choose from at my local Manawee Garden Centre, I start to get excited thinking about the fresh spring vegetables and summer salads and flavoursome marinades I’ll be able to create from my own hard work.
Lettuce and leafy greens, kale, beans, snow peas, tomatoes, cucumbers – I’ve had a crack at all of them. I even got excited and tried broccoli one year.
Strawberries and blueberries were popular with the kids when they were small, but now will no longer eat my odd-shaped fruits. My greatest success was perhaps the raspberries. I let them roam, or some might say take-over my garden, and with a bit of luck I enjoyed a few handfuls of fresh berries – and a few prickles in the process too.
As we head toward the warmer weather I am again contemplating my garden projects.
Exploring the garden centre, I spy a fresh crop of vegetables growing.
Sitting there in the middle of the fruit trees and herbs, right next to the colourful pots of colour, was an oasis of lettuce, raddish, beans, basil and even beetroot. As I admired the lush, green leaves I wondered how they made it look so easy.
Before long I was explaining my upcoming project ambitions and my previous failures to Manawee owner and garden guru, Simon Van Roy.
He was quick to point out that I was failing in the three key ingredients for a successful vegetable garden: soil quality, pest management and maintaining a proper growing climate with regular watering.
Instead of falling into the same cycle of mediocre soil prep and lack of follow through when it comes to watering and feeding my vegetables, he suggested I try a Vegepod.
This revoutionary, raised garden bed allows you to control the growing environment away from the ground – and therefore, away from various pests that roam your garden.
A new level of excitement and ambitions started to grow; it sounded achievable and easy!
Simon explained that once the Vegepod was set up it takes the hard work of gardening away.
So, how do we set up this Vegepod?
“It’s a tool-free kit build and can easily be clicked together in approximately 30 minutes,” Simon explains. “Fill the Vegepod with a mixture of Perlite and good quality organic potting mix which will give your veggies a perfect balance of drainage and essential nutrients.”
Tick! Quality nutrients is taken care of.
While Simon recommends an organic plant food like a five-in-one liquid organic fertiliser every two months, using quality growing potting mix from the beginning gets us off to a great start.
The raised design of the Vegepod which lifts the garden bed up off the ground has multiple benefits.
The main one being that it saves your back and knees from the strain of gardening at ground level!
It also lifts your plants away from pests and crawling critters looking for an easy feed. For extra protection, add in a durable mesh cover that works to maintain a micro-climate while also providing a barrier from birds and flying insects while also decreasing the need for sprays to keep pests away.
Tick! Critters, pests and birds eliminated.
And the final piece to the puzzle is water. Vegetables are thirsty buggers usually requiring a good watering every day or two.
Tick! Once again, the Vegepod has this covered with a built-in mist sprayer to keep the plants hydrated.
Simon also explains that if I hook it up to a hose with a timer then I won’t even need to remember to water my garden. Now that is a bonus.
The Vegepod even has drainage and overflow holes to prevent flooding, so it can’t be over watered.
Not likely to happen in my neglected garden but is great to know for when those summer downpours arrive.
So as the weather warms up and you too get inspired to take on a little grow-your-own project, think of me and consider a Vegepod for your backyard or balcony.
It’s my way of turning my brown thumbs a little greener – and keeping my family healthier with homegrown goodness.