Growing vegetables in a home garden is a fun hobby that provides nutrient-rich, healthy food for the entire family. In addition to knowing how to help plants grow, successful gardeners must understand the natural threats garden plants face and take steps to protect them. Following the top tips for protecting a vegetable garden ensures that plants stay healthy and produce a bounty of food for the gardener.
Choose the right plants
Successful gardeners should understand the climate they live in and choose plants that best withstand the weather and plant diseases in the area. Australia has a number of different climate zones to consider, including tropical, subtropical, desert, grassland, and temperate regions.
Vegetables such as tomatoes, mustard greens, eggplant, chili peppers, corn, and sweet potatoes thrive in hot, humid weather in the northern and eastern coastal regions as well as in the hot, dry conditions of the desert and grassland zones in the central part of the country. Growing lettuce and cabbage is also possible in the temperate regions or in containers inside a person's home.
Each climate has its own set of plant diseases that afflict plants. For best results, gardeners should choose plants native to the region and look for plants cultivated to withstand attacks from plant diseases.
Create shaded areas
Although sun is important for plants, they also need shade. This is especially true in the desert and grassland zones where the sun's rays are too strong for some plants. Gardeners can provide natural shade by placing plants near trees and tall shrubs that offer shade during certain times of the day. Another option is to install moveable screens or shade sails that also offer protection from damaging winds. For a manual approach, gardeners can create container gardens by planting vegetables in pots they move in and out of the sun as needed.
Keep away pests and fungi
Dealing with pests is a normal part of gardening, as insects and wild animals like to eat garden plants as well as the fruits and vegetables they produce. Other common gardening problems include fungi that attach themselves to the plants and destroy them in the process. To keep a healthy vegetable garden, gardeners must find ways to prevent these infestations, or deal with them when they appear.
Plants need water to grow and thrive, but too much water invites fungi that can damage the plants. To prevent fungus growth, gardeners should make sure plants have enough space between them so the soil is able to dry between watering. At the same time, gardeners need to avoid overwatering plants and use trellises for tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans so the fruit stays off the ground.
Caterpillars and insects
Gardens attract bugs that like to nibble on the plants and vegetables they produce. Fortunately, gardeners have a variety of options to prevent infestations. One option is to remove occasional caterpillars or insects by hand and apply insectisidal soaps that do not harm children or animals to keep the bugs away. Gardeners can also use covers like cloches and cutworm collars to keep insects away from the tender stalks of new plants. Finally, it is important to remove dead plants and keep their compost piles away from their gardens to avoid attracting insects to the area.
Wild animals like rabbits and possums enjoy eating vegetables from a garden. To keep them out, gardeners can install fences low to the ground or use light sheets of fabric called row covers, which allow light to pass through while deterring animals from approaching.
Check the soil
Gardeners need to check the soil in their garden regularly to make sure it has the proper pH and texture. When soil is too acidic or too alkaline, plants may struggle to survive. To check the soil pH, use an at-home test kit and make adjustments such as adding lime to acidic soil if needed. Adding organic matter to the soil also helps improve its texture and keep water at the proper level for the plants.
How to buy vegetable garden supplies on eBay
You can find items you need to start your vegetable garden on eBay, helping to protect it from the environment and pests that threaten it. To find these items, enter a general term like "gardening supplies" in the search box or search for a specific item like "garden sun shade". If you want to try your hand at container gardening, look for supplies like containers and potting soil, or keep an eye out for trellises, hoses, shovels, and spades for traditional gardening so you can grow an array of vegetables to enjoy.