Tip #1 - Enrich your soil!
Think about the quality of your soil and how you might be able to enrich its nutrient content to best nourish your plants. If you don’t already have one, start a worm farm or a compost system and convert your scraps into plant food!
Tip #2 - Consider the seasons
When planting, think about the plants that are right for the time of year. Make sure to plan ahead of you’re growing them from seed: you can grow seedlings indoors if it's too cold to plant them straight into the ground, then they’ll be ready as soon as the warmer weather arrives.
"Lots of bugs, like bees butterflies and worms, are essential for your garden. Consider planting flowering plants to encourage their presence. "
Tip #3 - Think climate
Think about the climate where you live: this will determine the kinds of plants best suited to your garden, and when you need to plant them. Here in Melbourne, we are in the cool-temperate zone. There are lots of guides available online that will tell you which crops are best suited to where you live.
Tip #4 - Start Small
Be realistic about how much you can maintain: if you know you’re pressed for time consider starting your garden by planting some hardy annual herbs like rosemary, oregano and thyme. They don’t require too much maintenance and you can even grow them in pots of a sunny windowsill (Just make sure they don’t get too hot especially in the warmer months!)
Tip #5 - Use what you have
See what you might have lying around that you could repurpose for your garden: old fence palings and bricks can make great garden bed borders and straight off cuttings from trees or shrubs can make stakes for climbing veggies. Consider looking for pots and other equipment at op shops, garage sales and even on hard rubbish days, it saves you money and continues the life of an object that might not otherwise get used.
Tip #6 - Space
Think about how much space you have for your garden: if you have limited room prioritise planting the crops you know you will use. Think practical: crops like pumpkin, zucchini, gourds and melons can take up a lot of space. Think about where your plant is going to row and if you have room. Consider creating a frame or some other structure for vines to grow on if you have a lot of space, think about positioning the plants you use most and require the most maintenance (like greens) close to your living space: it’s convenient and means you don’t forget about them.
Tip #6 - Bugs
Bugs like slaters, snails, slugs and cabbage moths can wreak havoc on your garden especially when your plants are small. Consider creating decoy moths to deter cabbage moths or growing your seedlings in trays to make sure they get a strong start. Some plants like marigolds, even deter critters! Garden snails and slugs can be poisonous if eaten so make sure you check your veg before you eat it to make sure you’re not ingesting anyone you shouldn’t! Lastly, lots of bugs, like bees butterflies and worms, are essential for your garden. Consider planting flowering plants to encourage their presence.