Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Week 9 - The Living Well in Retirement Weekly Challenge

Can you feel the change of season in the air? After record breaking heatwaves followed by extreme wind and flooding rains the weather has cooled and here in Adelaide we are currently enjoying perfect weather with daytime temperatures in the mid to high 20's Celsius.

With perfect warm days and cooler nights it seems a perfect time to begin planning to grow some seasonal foods. Home grown produce picked fresh from your garden - nothing purchased from the supermarket compares!

With increasingly larger homes on increasingly smaller blocks of land home veggie gardens seem few and far between. Yet, sustainability is a popular push at the moment - and many schools are teaching children how to grow, harvest, cook and enjoy fresh produce picked from school gardens.

So - in your retirement - what are the benefits of a home or edible garden?  The short answer is that by growing your own food it is possible to improve your health, reduce your food bill and add to life's pleasures!

I have found that you do not need a quarter acre block in order to establish an edible garden! Using recycled materials John made a raised garden bed  that measures 1.2m x 2.0m - on top of a concrete slab. The bed
started out like this (scroll down to 'Something New in My Garden'), and even in the heatwaves looked like this (scroll down to 'The Raised Garden Bed'!).  This bed produces most of our daily bounty and has been so successful that I want another one! I haven't broken that news to John just yet!!!

To add to our bounty I have grown tomatoes (not very successfully - I need tips!), basil, thyme, rosemary and eggplant in pots and other veggies in other parts of the garden.

Living in a small unit need not preclude you from growing your own. My mother-in-law who lives in a ground floor unit has made very clever use of every inch of land in her little garden! She has fruit trees and a vegetable garden that provide her with fresh produce all year round. She too, grows a range of fruit, vegetables and herbs in pots to extend her garden.

No space at all - no problem! You could join a community garden near you! These are amazing places - I love peeking through the fence of the Norwood Community Garden near us to see what and how things are being grown by the gardeners there!

You might wish to try an alternative way of gardening - no dig gardening, square foot gardening, strawbale gardening to name just three. Check my Pinterest board 'The Garden' for ideas, information and inspiration!

Your challenge for this week is to get your hands dirty, get planting and join me in watching your garden grow - and produce! Plant three different edible crops that you will be able to harvest in 10 - 12 weeks time. Do a Google search for what to plant at this time of year for where you live. If you live here in Australia you will find the Gardenate website useful. I'm going to be planting beetroot, turnips and flat parsley for starters!

Two tips

  • invest in the very best soil and compost you can buy - this is NOT the place to skimp on quality! Local gardening identity Sophie Thomson, Gardening Australia's presenter for South Australia, recently wrote that she would invest in $10 soil for a $1 plant rather than $1 soil for a $10 plant. Be warned!
  • remember you are looking to produce only enough food to have fresh veggies every day at your place - you are not looking to feed the nation!

What will you be growing in your patch? Let me know - leave a comment below! If you visit my blog 'Watching My Garden Grow' I'd be chuffed if you also left a comment there!

Happy gardening!




  1. I am watching my garden grow... although I missed checking the zucchini for two days and went out today and found three zeppelins! : ) Great challenge, Marian.

  2. Thanks, Liz! Those zucchinis are amazing in their ability to treble in size overnight! I've found lebanese cucumbers to be the same! How will you use your enormous zucchinis?