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Grow your own groceries and slash your bills

27 May 2008

Grow your own groceries and slash your shopping bills

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An edible garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.


NZ Gardener is offering the ultimate solution to combat rising food prices — grow your own groceries and save hundreds on your shopping bills.

The magazine has launched a new six-part growing guide to help kiwi families to make ends meet.

“Instead of spending $20 a week on fresh fruit and vegetables at the supermarket spend it at the garden centre,” says editor Lynda Hallinan.

“A $3 packet of rocket seed – sown fortnightly, a row at a time, can produce enough fresh greens for a family of four to eat salad every night for six months.”

“Start now and by the end of the year you can grow everything you need for your Christmas dinner, including fresh peas, new potatoes, salads and strawberries. Plus you could trade your excess crops for a turkey,” says Hallinan, who has been on her own $10 a week self sufficiency crusade for the past 18 months.

Edible gardening is experiencing a huge rise in popularity with vegetable seed sales up by 9 percent this year according to Yates New Zealand and specialist seed supplier Kings Seeds reports that its organic range is up by 20 percent. In Auckland sales of fruit trees at leading garden centres are up by 60 percent while in the deep south, Invercargill wholesale supplier Evandale Nurseries reports that sales of vegetable seedlings in punnets are up by 25 percent.

“Most New Zealanders will have bit of soil they can dig up in their gardens that they can turn into a vege patch,” says Lynda. “Build a raised bed laid on your lawn, fill it with soil and you’re ready to go.”

“Or if you’re stuck for space, simply buy a bag of potting mix, cut holes in it and pop seedlings into the gaps for a super quick, mess-free garden on your deck of balcony. Window boxes or pots on a sunny windowsill are great for microgreens or salads.

The magazine also dispels myths that growing your own is too hard, too expensive or too time consuming. You don’t need to be an expert to get growing.

Sign up for NZ Gardener’s free Get Growing campaign and every Friday you will receive a free e-newsletter packed with vegetable gardening tips. More than 5,500 Kiwis have joined the campaign since January.

“Most seeds sprout and grow with ease — plus a little warmth and water — raising plants from seed pays off. One $3 packet of tomato seed, for example, can produce up to 100 plants. Fresh or made into sauces, you’ll end up with goods galore to barter and trade,” she says.

It is also a great to get children growing. The June issue of NZ Gardener includes a step-by-step guide for making a mini raised bed for little fingers.

Also in this month’s issue, Xanthe White offers tips on making your garden a bird paradise and Neil Ross lists the top 10 trees to get birds flocking. There is also a step-by-step guide on how to make a nifty bird feeder.

Read about how to get started with your own vegetable patch in the June issue of NZ Gardener on sale now.

Caption: An edible garden at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.

NZ Gardener/Steve Wooster/2008 Chelsea Flower Show


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