THE 2020 FACTOR – PROJECT #LOCKDOWNVEGGIEPATCH

Nestled on the tip of the Great Dividing Range, Toowoomba is placed far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the capital cities to be peaceful, enmeshed in our own local eco-system. It can seem strange for us to therefore reflect on how we can be impacted by a global event like the Covid-19 pandemic. However, this virus has had unexpected and far-reaching impact within our industry, effecting both our building processes and design.

The threat of lockdown saw some local retailers experience a boom in sales. No, not your local grocery-chain with a limit on toilet paper, we’re talking about something a little “greener”. Urban Aussies headed to their local nursery and hardware stores in droves, clearing the shelves of garden items! Sales of veggie boxes, veggie seeds, and veggie seedlings soared as families sought to while away the hours at home with a new veggie patch project.

But project #lockdownveggies soon began to hit a snag (and we don’t mean the one on bread you can grab from a certain hardware store!). Across the country, well-loved seedlings died, and seeds failed to sprout. Why? It turns out, that rushing out to buy veggie boxes doesn’t mean you will suddenly have a bumper crop! Preparation and planning are required. Try these tips before you start your veggie garden:

Consider your location

Veggie Gardens require a large amount of sunlight, with most requiring 6 hours per day. With our backyards smaller, and our homes and building closer together, available sunny spots may rare. You can still find things to grow, but you’ll need to research veggies that like shady conditions.

Consider your space

Some veggies need to stretch their legs! Pumpkin vines have been known to take over an entire backyard or two – that’s one way to meet your neighbours! Research container veggie boxes (we like the look of The Little Veggie Patch Co) that can be used on balconies, verandas, or in your front or back yards, and look for veggies that have a smaller footprint!

Consider your season and your region

Not all veggies thrive year-round; some need a winter chill, while others at the first sign of winter will turn toe and die! Alpine regions differ to coastal areas, and states and regions have different seasonal expectations for things like rainfall and temperatures. Research what grows well in your area – start with that!

Ex-volcano Toowoomba has a great range of soil types to plant in, but it is varies block to block with red and black soil. Check the drainage and soil types required by your greens before you unintentionally kill them with kindness! (Hint – products like gypsum are great for clay-ish soil like black soil!)

Consider your time (Puppies aren’t just for Christmas!)

Having a veggie garden is much like having a pet – you must feed and water it and make sure it doesn’t get bugs! Be prepared to invest some time in this project. Perhaps encourage (aka bribe) the kids’ involvement with watering and checking up on your growth! Of course, the fun part is always harvest time!

If you can’t quite commit to a veggie box/planter or garden, or truly have black thumbs, never fear. There are also some great farmers’ markets in our Toowoomba region where you can visit to purchase veggies with that “home-grown” taste!

What about you – did you attack a Veggie Box or Garden project in 2020?

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