Vegetable Garden Ideas
The popularity of vegetable gardening has waxed and waned over time, but is becoming increasingly popular in the last few years as consumers want to have a say in what they eat and how they obtain their food. Growing your own vegetables is a simple solution to many of the complex problems of modern day agricultural practices, unhealthy diets and sedentary habits. Let’s take a look at some of the garden ideas available today.
Mono crop farming
Where farmers plant one type of plant in the same spot year after year. Neat clean and tidy rows of uniform vegetable as far as the eye can see……
With the vicious price warring in Australia from the giant retail duopoly of Coles & Woolworths, the modern day farmer has had to shift away from family owned farms to massive industrial farming complexes driven by large corporations.
Unfortunately, this method of farming leaves the soil weak and unable to support healthy plants forcing the use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides and fungicides. The whole process is a destructive and unsustainable feedback loop of monumental proportion!
Urban Farming for City Dwellers
One of THE most exciting trends going in today’s modern world.
As urbanization increases, the co-existence of city and vegetable garden is inevitable. From roof top gardening, vertical green walls to living high rise buildings, urban farming is providing a viable supplement to the current mono-crop commercial agricultural practices and unlocking a more sustainable future.
Taking Urban Farming to the extreme, this is gardening with a political purpose.
Guerrilla gardening activists move in a coordinated fashion under the cover of darkness, toe in hand to transform abandoned pieces of land into community gardens. In some cities, neglected rubbish litterred corners of dirt are being overtaken by thriving vegetable gardens.
For those blessed with a patch of dirt in their backyard, the raised bed is often the best option to ensure adequate drainage, and inhibit pest attack.
With effective composting, soil maintenance and ingenuity, the backyard gardener can do quite well in small spaces by growing climbing plants up trellises and being clever about vegetable positioning. Soil, compost, position, sunlight, competition, water and wind protection being the key considerations. However, is this method the best utilization of space?
Ever tried to grow vegetables in pot plants from your balcony? If so, chances are you’ve failed miserably.
The problems with container gardening on balconies are too many to list…. By far the greatest issues are Water absorption and drainage. No matter how many wetting agents, gels, polymers and crystals you have in the soil chances are you will forget to water your plants. Plants grown in containers have very little tolerance to hydration issues. You’ll often find that perfect plant you bought from the nursery does well for the first few weeks, but soon is over-run by pests and disease or just fails to produce anything substantial. In the hot Australian climate, balcony container gardening is too hard basket!
OK, we’re getting closer now…. Vertical gardening products are springing up everywhere as people catch on to the urban agriculture buzz.
Some of the most popular vertical garden systems however, are simply just glorified pot plants stacked on top of each other. Sure, they look cool, and are water efficient, but beware the exact same pitfalls of over/under watering and root growth capacity exist as with container gardening.
If you still have to stuff around with messy, heavy bags of soil, liquid fertilizers and bolt on sprinkler systems why bother paying the hefty premium for some systems on the market today.
Now we’re talking…
The benefits of growing vegetables hydroponically are profound! Beside the obvious no dirt, digging, weeding, watering, tilling, plowing, bags of manure etc etc etc…. Hydroponic vegetables have been proven to have up to 50% more vitamin content than conventional crops and the produce is beautifully vibrant, rich and tastes amazing!
Hydroponics enable more automation (ie. Set and forget) which is perfect for today’s busy lifestyles. The growing cycle is shorter and your yields will be higher than conventional gardens. Additionally, water consumption is up to 20 times less than traditional gardening as the water is recycled. Hydroponic systems tend not to be the most eye pleasing however which detracts from home balcony use.
Hydroponic Vertical Gardening
OK, now we’re really cooking with gas….
Take all the benefits of hydroponic gardening and couple this with optimal usage of space (ie. Growing vertically) and we now have the means to efficiently grow the highest quality produce on any balcony or small backyard in Australia.
If you’re looking for the #1 vegetable garden idea, this is the one. Mr. Stacky systems combine the best growing techniques together with an appealing look for a unique vegetable garden centrepiece for your balcony.
Check out these amazing vertical hydroponics options here