Start a food garden
- Pick a spot that gets lots of winter sun but not too much summer sun. If you can’t find the perfect spot or only have a small yard or patio, you can grow food in pots and containers that can be moved around.
- Choose your containers. Food can be grown in almost any container with a minimum soil depth of 20 centimetres (pots, crates, boxes, old boots or wheelbarrows). Avoid containers made from materials that will absorb water like timber or limestone.
- Improve your soil. Perth soil is often sandy and lacking in organic matter. The best remedy is to add compost, worm castings or animal manures to your soil. Your improved soil will retain moisture and be full of microbes that will help your plants grow strong and healthy.
- Improve water retention. Water storage crystals or gels absorb water that is held until plant roots draw on it. Mix the granules through the soil before planting.
- Mulch. A five to ten centimetre layer of mulch will reduce water loss through evaporation, discourage weeds and reduce the stress on your plants.
- Plan your crops so that you are able to eat what you harvest. Planting from seed is a budget friendly strategy that will also mean you have control over the timing of your harvest. Beans, cherry tomatoes, spring onions, basil and chilies are great crops for beginners.
- Hand watering can be the most efficient method for your home food garden. If you are considering an irrigation system choose sub-surface irrigation or integrated dripper to deliver water directly to the roots of your plants with no evaporative water loss. Water in the morning to reduce evaporation and to give your plants moisture to draw on through the day.
For more information see the 'Creating a waterwise veggie garden' fact sheet produced by the Water Corporation.