Your veggies are shrink-wrapped!
It’s not hard to find reasons to leave Auckland.
Don’t get me wrong, we love the city for a weekend away or a bit of jazzy nightlife, but too many of our friends are caught in the city-trap lifestyle of work hard, spend more, work harder, spend more, work… well, you get the picture! So this is it. A series of blogs aimed at convincing the hard-core cityophiles out there that the country is we’re it’s really at – lifestyle-wise, health-wise, family-wise and money-wise, it just makes sense!
To kick things off, we’re taking a long hard look at every kid’s favourite topic: vegetables.
Green grass, blue skies, fresh vegetables… Living in the country is all about the opportunities for lifestyle-living, and growing your own veggie patch is the first thing to get into. Never had the experience of growing your own veggies? You won’t believe the difference in flavour, let alone the nutritional value. You can’t beat the convenience either; and the value?! Don’t get me started on that!
Not convinced? Check out this disturbing info from Cueasa.org (read the full article here)
The long-distance, large-scale transportation of food consumes large quantities of fossil fuels. It is estimated that we currently put almost 10 kcal of fossil fuel energy into our food system for every 1 kcal of energy we get as food.
Transporting food over long distances also generates great quantities of carbon dioxide emissions. Some forms of transport are more polluting than others. Airfreight generates 50 times more CO2 than sea shipping. But sea shipping is slow, and in our increasing demand for fresh food, food is increasingly being shipped by faster – and more polluting – means.
In order to transport food long distances, much of it is picked while still unripe and then gassed to “ripen” it after transport, or it is highly processed in factories using preservatives, irradiation, and other means to keep it stable for transport and sale. Scientists are experimenting with genetic modification to produce longer-lasting, less perishable produce.
It’s common sense really – the longer your veggies have to travel to get to you, the less nutrition they hold and the worse the effects are on our environment. So whether you’ve recently moved from the city or you’re still toying with the idea, read on to learn more about what vegetables grow best up here in the sunny North of NZ, along with some handy tips on how to get started. Looking for more reasons to leave Auckland? Keep an eye out for our next installment!
Best Veggies to Grow in Northland
Knowing our climate is paramount to understanding what grows best here in the sunny, wet, windy, humid, freezing, cloudy and dry North. Did I mention that the weather is a tad changeable? Don’t worry though, the soil is deliciously fertile up here, and as long as you choose the right veggies for the season, your garden will look like a million bucks before you know it. We love this seasonal gardening website, as it gives fantastic in depth info on pretty much every vegetable you can imagine: it tells you what you can plant right now, and then shows you what you should be preparing for next. Foolproof!
Here’s a brief month-specific planting guide for our climate up here:
Dec, Jan, Feb, March:
Beetroot, carrots, cucumber, leeks, lettuce, silverbeet, watermelon, pumpkin, rockmelon, zucchini, climbing beans, peas, snow peas,
Apr, May, Jun, Jul:
Broad beans, celery, cauliflowers, celeriac, endives, radishes, parsnips, onions, shallots, broccoli, garlic, rocket, kale,
Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov:
Capsicum, chives, chilli, fennel, eggplant, NZ spinach, parsnip, potato, pumpkin, kumara, spring onions, squash, tomatoes
Knowing when to plant is only one side of the story however, as you’ll also want to think about where you’re setting up your new garden. Your veggies will want around 8 hours of sun a day, if they can get it. And they’ll be pretty keen on regular watering and loose, fertile soil too. Luckily, up here in Northland our climate allows us to grow most anything with a bit of forethought: just keep an eye on those winter frosts, and mind the full sun of mid-summer!
When to harvest?
You can expect to harvest your delicious crops on average from 1-3 months after planting them. Certain veggies, such as the delectable asparagus, take a little longer to mature; think 2-3 years in that case. Potatoes and tuber vegetables take a while too, so budget for around 3-4 months in that case. With a little planning and some relaxing preparation (you can hardly call it work, now, can you?) you can have a steady stream of fresh-picked seasonal veggies to feed the family year-round. No more shrink-wrapped plastic-fantastic supermarket veggies for you!
Fresh, clean, FREE vegetables on tap. Does this qualify as one of the top reasons to leave Auckland? Let us know what you think!