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Your Guide to Growing Food in Your Own Backyard

By Matthew Ferraro

Growing your own food is easier than most people think, and it can be done in your very own backyard, patio, windowsill, or garden bed.

We chatted to Brendan Condon, director of the sustainability minded Biofilta, a foodcube wicking bed garden manufacturer. Biofilta are committed to unlocking the food growing potential of our urban spaces.

“Having a beautiful, thriving, and well-designed water efficient garden adds value to your home, adds quality to your life and improves your health,” Mr Condon says.

How to get started?

Test your soil

Soil in urban areas has a tendency to be devoid of nutrients. There are several ways to test this, but the easiest one is to use a home testing kit that you can get from your local garden centre.

If your soil is not fit for growing plants, you will need to do a bit of work – composting, new soil, and various additives will all do the trick.

Set up your garden bed

If you don’t have a garden or patch of useable soil, do not fear – there are plenty of options available. Mr Condon says that Biofilta have developed just the thing for small, efficient urban gardeners – the foodcube!

“They’re up off the ground, they’re economic. You only need to water them once a week during summer and maybe once a month during winter,” he says.

Use your compost!

Compost is a great way to add nutrition to your soil as it produces food and it greatly reduces your landfill contribution.

“You’re creating a circular nutrient loop which is what nature does, and you’re setting your garden up for long term success,” Mr Condon says.

Plant seasonally and geographically

The best way to ensure a thriving garden is to plant food that is suited to your climate and location. For example, the food you might grow in a Tasmanian summer would be different to what you would grow in a Darwin summer.

“We are in that period of time where we’re growing a whole range of different types of heritage tomatoes, they’re all ripening up and there are so many,” Mr Condon notes.

Join a community garden or local gardening group

One of the best parts about gardening is the social and community benefits. If you are new to gardening, you can guarantee there is someone in your community who would love to share their knowledge and experience.

Reach out on Facebook pages or join your local community garden and chat to locals. It is also a great way to share and swap any food you may have excess of.

Why should you start a produce garden?

A produce garden has innumerable benefits for you, your home, the environment and your community.

Mr Condon is very passionate about this topic, stating that, “with climate change and other challenges to traditional food growing, we’re going to need to adapt, and the good news is that we’ve got systems that allow us to do that.”

The environmental benefits are endless – you reduce your carbon footprint significantly by getting your food from your own backyard instead of a farm somewhere far away. It also encourages biodiversity in your backyard and is great for the natural environment.

Your mental and physical health will also vastly benefit from gardening.

“Science is only now catching up which is why gardeners tend to be healthy and happy people,” Mr Condon says.

It’s good exercise and you are eating healthy, delicious, and nutritious food at the other end.

The benefits to growing a produce garden in your own home are endless and with it becoming easier to do, especially in small spaces, now is the time. Start your growing journey and get stuck in!

Images courtesy of Biolfilta

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