There’s no doubt about it, digging in the dirt and growing your own fruits and vegetables is rewarding both physically and mentally. People who grow their own vegetable garden tend to have an increased level of physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption which lowers their risk of developing some chronic diseases (Etheredge et al., 2016). But how do they keep up their enthusiasm for gardening during the cooler months? We understand that each region has their own set of environmental factors to consider. But one thing is for sure, as the weather cools down in Queensland, it is a great time to sit less and move more outside. So, let’s get moving in the garden!
We have put together our top three tips on how to keep up your motivation to move and veggie patch thriving all year round;
- Talk to your family and friends. Someone you know that loves to garden may have a wealth of knowledge up their sleeve that you haven’t even thought of yet. I decided to spark up a conversation with our Fabulous Facilitator, Jean Rosendahl of Silkwood Branch, for some of her best tips on how to maintain a vegetable garden during the cooler months.
“In the tropics I advise people to keep up their mulch to keep the weeds down. I use Dynamic Lifter for fertiliser as it is slow release and put plastic white butterflies on sticks to keep the cabbage moth away. Do not spray for insects or grubs but pick them off early in the morning and just on dusk.” Jean Rosendahl, Silkwood Branch.
- Laying the ground work in Winter will be a benefit for Spring. An example of this is that the ground is too cold in Winter to plant citrus, but we can lay the foundations for Spring. Find a space you would like to plant your trees and then during winter try this:
- Loosen up the top soil with a pitch fork.
- Layer 1: approx. 6cm of horse manure or a similar matter packed full of nutrients.
- Layer 2: Add green waste like plant and lawn clippings or kitchen compost.
- Layer 3: A layer of mulch to keep the weeds down such as straw.
- Leave over winter and you will have a nutrient rich garden bed ready for Spring.
- Plant your herbs and colourful vegetables in pots. Growing your own fruits and vegetables all year round is a good way to ensure you are getting enough into every meal. By growing your vegetables in pots, it allows you to move them around for the maximum benefit of the sun in Winter. Just make sure to keep the moisture up and be mindful of drainage.
As a bonus tip, QCWA Country Kitchens, has put together a How to Guide on starting your own community garden. If you have established the need within your community for a green space that everybody can benefit from, then Winter is a great time to start the planning process. If you would like a copy of our Community Garden resource then please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org today!
Written by Anna Lynch, Health Promotion Team Leader Northern Region.
- Etheredge, C., Waliczek, T., & Zajicek, J. (2016). The Influence of Gardening Activities on Self-reported Health Problems, Allergies, and Body Mass Index. Horttechnology, 26(6), 776-782. doi: 10.21273/horttech03546-16
- Vegies, P. (2019). Potted Winter Vegies. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/potted-winter-vegies/9428804
- Work, W. (2019). Winter Work. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/gardening/factsheets/winter-work/9440400