Having a large and productive vegetable patch is a long-held desire for many Australian homeowners. It's a great way to save a fortune on your shopping bill and nothing tastes as good as produce that you've grown yourself. However, for your vegetable patch to be a success, you'll need more than a mound of dirt and a few packets of seeds. Here are the three essential gardening products you'll need to ensure that you have a healthy, robust and productive vegetable patch in your garden.
Like any living thing, vegetables need the right nutrients to grow to their full potential. Even if you think that you have fairly good quality soil to begin with, adding garden fertiliser to your garden beds will ensure that the right vitamins and minerals are available to your vegetables. It's important to remember that even rich, nutrient-dense soil will become depleted after a short while unless regularly fertilised.
You can opt for slow release fertiliser pellets or spray on fertiliser. Slow release pellets are good for sustained, long-term nutrient availability and can be added before the seeds are sown. Spray on fertiliser is faster acting and is good to use when plants are seedlings to promote growth and during the fruiting phase to encourage high yields and good sized produce.
Mulch is a vegetable garden's best friend and serves a number of purposes for maintaining a healthy crop. It helps to protect immature plants and root systems from extremes of heat and cold and also helps to preserve moisture in the soil and reduce the amount of watering your garden will need to stay healthy.
Opt for an organic mulch such as sugar cane, bark or wood chips for a vegetable garden. They're readily available and inexpensive and they'll also help to nourish the plants and soil as they decompose over time into valuable natural compost.
Although this word might strike horror in many people, pesticides are another essential element in having a healthy vegetable garden. All it takes is a single infestation of beetles, moth larvae or mites to decimate a promising harvest.
If you don't like the idea of synthetic pesticides, you can always opt for a pesticide that has an organic certification. These are available alongside more traditional pesticides in most agricultural supply outlets or gardening stores. Although they are classed as organic, they still contain chemicals, so make sure you follow the directions on the packaging for handling and usage guidelines.