Have you been dreaming of growing your own herb garden, but waiting for your forever home to do so? We enlisted the expertise of Charlie Albone — the director of Sydney-based landscape design company, Inspired Exteriors — to find out exactly how you can successfully grow your very own kitchen garden at a rental property. And, of course, how you can create one that can move with you!
1. Use a large pot or raised garden bed
As a renter, it’s best to avoid planting anything valuable in the garden, or anything you would like to take with you to your next home. To grow a herb garden, Charlie suggests renters use either a large pot for herbs or a raised garden bed if you’d also like to grow larger produce such as vegetables. For the latter option, he recommends opting for steel structures.
“I would suggest a raised garden bed made of steel, rather than timber, because they are easier to construct as they generally clip together and are a lighter weight,” he says. Plus, they are easier to then deconstruct and transport. Charlie also recommends Vegepods — a raised garden bed kit that is self-watering, portable and complete with a greenhouse cover if you’d like to take the guesswork out of it.
For the renters with no super sunny spots on offer, we hate to break it to you, but it will be very tricky to grow your own ingredients. “For the success of herbs and vegetables, they need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight,” explains Charlie. In short, you will require a balcony or garden that receives a very good dose of sunlight throughout the day.
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3. Use good quality soil
Charlie likens soil to a human’s diet and fertiliser to vitamins and supplements so it’s important to get the soil right. “Soil is really important so buy the most expensive potting mix you can afford,” he says. “Generally, the more expensive they are, the better they are and the more nutrients they contain.” For the raised garden beds and the Vedgepods, Charlie suggests adding organic compost as well — this could be compost from your everyday waste or you could purchase a bag of compost.
4. Water well
When growing herbs and vegetables in temporary structures like pots or raised garden beds, Charlie notes that the body of soil will dry out quicker from the outside in so be conscious as to where you plant each variety. “I would plant the water-loving plants like parsley and coriander in the centre of those beds and the dryer-loving ones such as rosemary on the outside,” he suggests. Both herbs and vegetables require regular watering — and more so in particularly hot conditions and in direct sunlight — so Charlie suggests watering them once a day.
5. Consider seasonality
Charlie confirms that most herbs don’t grow in the winter months, but during the other warmer seasons they are bound to thrive. For best results, aim to plant your herb garden in the spring to give yourself the best chance to create — and consume — a blooming and blossoming kitchen garden.
6. Pest and disease management
One of the benefits of growing a herb garden at a rental property is the ease of pest and disease management. Typically, herb gardens in rentals would be smaller than those of homeowners which means you have less to look after, and as a result, it’s easier to manage pests and diseases. If you do need to treat your garden, Charlie suggests opting for organic options. “I’m always using organic matters or methods for pests and disease control, especially in a herb or vegetable garden because you are what you eat,” he explains.