We’ve been getting feedback that our Vegepod community wants some handy instructions for what to plant in the Vegepod and where. So below is a quick, general guide if you're a beginner at 'podding' and need some advice on how to get started.
Tip #1 - Soil or Compost, Perlite or Vermiculite?
There's no right or wrong answer! Take into consideration the produce you are thinking of growing - we have used a mix of John Innes #3 for stability combined with an organic compost for the produce you are growing. Mix through perlite to lighten the load, improve air around the roots of plants and to help retain water from the wicking bed.
Tip #2 - Plant big at the back
When planting in your raised garden, make sure the taller plants are at the back of whichever way the sun hits the Vegepod. That is to say, if the sun hits the Pod face-on the bushier plants should be at the back of the Pod. If the sun comes in from the left, the taller plants should be at the far right of the Pod. This gives all of the plants a chance to soak up as much sunlight as possible throughout the day, it’s a very strategic way to plant your veggies.
As a general rule, herbs and low-leaf root vegetables should go at the front while taller climbers such as cherry tomatoes and beans should be at the back.
Also, regardless of season, sun is the crucial ingredient to year round growing. Make sure your Vegepod is positioned in a sunny and level spot in your garden.
Tip #3- Size does matter
Size matters in the Vegepod! That is to say, always check the recommended plant spacing before adding in seeds and punnets. Root vegetables particularly may need space as they can get bulky underground.
If you’re not sure about spacing, you can always try the ‘ruthless horticulturalist technique’. This basically involves sprinkling a whole bunch of seeds in a particular area and when the veggies sprout, pulling out the weaker ones to make room for the strong looking shoots - a mini version of Darwin’s survival of the fittest if you will.
Tip #4 - Playing the Field
In some ways, planting in the Vegepod garden bed is like a complex sports play. You want to think about timing, spacing and good combinations. Here are some quick examples for each.
Timing: We’d all like an abundance of lettuce, just not at the same time. So plant some seedlings a week apart for a few weeks so you have your veggies staggered in time with your needs. Be sure to plant seasonal veggies too for variety of produce.
Spacing: The sun is the most important factor when it comes to spacing, but other aspects should be considered as well, For example, compost. Consider planting plant rich, fertilised compost on one side of the pod where the leafy greens go. On the other side, add sandier, loamy soil that will host hardier varieties such as root veggies like carrots, rosemary and such. If you really wanted to get particular, you can try the ‘square foot gardening technique’, where gardeners basically use string or bamboo to section off plots of the garden bed allocated for different purposes. This is great if you are really focused on making the most of your space.
Companion planing: This is where you plant vegetable families that like each other next to each other. . Again, the square foot gardening technique is a good way to keep track of these things.
Tip #5 - Brown Thumb Plants
For those of us who are brown thumbs struggling with what and how to plant (which all of us at Vegepod were - hence why we created the garden bed!) just know this: mint, basil, cherry tomatoes, leafy greens such as silverbeet, spinach (plant shoots) are a surefire win. Shade-loving herbs grow like weeds in the pod and are actually difficult to kill. Anything that’s a large fruit or root you’ve got to work a bit harder for. Take the cranky horticulturalists approach and spray seeds everywhere and pray for some to come out, and no doubt they will.