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Grow your own veggie patch

By Katie Weiss

Horticulture expert Scott McDonald says now is the perfect time of year to plant a vegetable garden Horticulture expert Scott McDonald says now is the perfect time of year to plant a vegetable garden

A horticulture expert is urging Top Enders to take advantage of the change in weather by growing their own vegetables.

As the dry season rolls in, Charles Darwin University Horticulture and Aquaculture team leader Scott McDonald said it was the perfect time of year to start planting.

He said growing vegetables could be a fun family activity and helped children learn about where food comes from.

“For kids, it can be very rewarding to pick the produce from plants they have grown themselves,” Mr McDonald said.

“It teaches them about health and nutrition, and home-grown vegetables are always going to taste better than store bought ones because they are naturally ripened.”

Mr McDonald said classic vegetables, such as tomatoes, lettuce, capsicum and eggplant, were among tasty garden staples that would thrive this time of year.

“The main thing for growing vegetables up here is the weather,” he said.

“It tends to be too hot over the wet season and the vegetables tend to get hammered by mould or rot.”

Mr McDonald recommended planting melons, pumpkins and zucchini at this time of year so they could be ready for harvest by the mid-dry season. He said now was also the perfect time to replant herbs, such as mint, oregano, and basil.

“If you replant herbs this time of year, you will get a good crop out of the whole season,” he said.

Mr McDonald suggested planting marigolds and chrysanthemums to ward off common garden pests, such as grasshoppers, whitefly and thrips.

He said Central Australians could plant their vegetable any time of year.

Mr McDonald said Territorians who lacked space to plant a garden could plant their vegetables in a community garden in Darwin or Alice Springs.