Grow your own fruit and vegetables

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1. Arachis hypogaea / Peanut

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Partial Sun
Height: 25.4cm - 30.5cm
Width: 0.3m - 0.9m
Native to: South America
Soil: pH Acidic, Neutral
Soil Drainage: Well Drained
Soil type:  Loam, Sand
Growth Rate: Fast
Water Requirements: Average Water

The humble peanut. Packed with protein and good fats, they make for a great snack. Peanut plants are relatively easy to grow in New Zealand, as our soil is quite sandy and the climate warm. On average the ripen time is between 80 and 150 days after planting, and with the seeds growing underground, you will need to remove the whole plant when harvesting. Although one plant might only yield a pitiful amount of peanuts, it does have a fun, novelty value, that the kids will love!

2. Mangifera indica / Mango

Sun exposure: Full Sun
Height: 9.1m - 30.5m
Width: 4.6m - 27.4m
Native to: India, Melanesia
Soil: pH Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage:  Well Drained
Soil type: Loam, Sand
Growth Rate: Medium
Water Requirements: Drought Tolerant, Average Water

Mangos, the queen of tropical fruits! These trees have been known to do well in the North of New Zealand, as they need full sun and a warmer climate to really thrive. They can somewhat tolerate the winter months, as long as there isn’t too much rain. Make sure you leave plenty of room for your tree to grow as it can become quite big. Finding a sheltered spot in your garden that gets optimum sun and where the soil can drain well, will have you receiving delicious fruit all year round in no time.

3. Chenopodium Quinoa / Quinoa

Sun exposure: Full Sun
Height: 0.5m – 2m
Width: 0.2m – 1m
Native to: South America
Soil: pH Acidic, Neutral
Soil Drainage: Well Drained
Soil type: Clay, Loam, Sand
Growth Rate: Fast
Water Requirements: Average Water

Coming in at 1st place in the superfood category, is none other then ancient grain quinoa. A delicious nutty substitute for rice, teaming with B vitamins, protein and minerals to help you feel in tip-top shape. This grain can cost anywhere between $8-$15 per 400g in the supermarket, so could it be beneficial to grow your own? You will need to plant at least 10 seedlings to make it worth your while. Quinoa enjoys sunny days and cooler evenings, so they take well to New Zealand's climate and soil! The plants are ready to harvest once the stalks go brown and the leaves dry out.

4. Cicer arietinum / Chickpea

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Partial Sun
Height: 20.3cm - 101.6cm
Width: 25.4cm - 114.3cm
Native to: Mediterranean, Turkey, Africa, Southern Asia, Western Asia
Soil: pH Acidic, Neutral
Soil Drainage: Well Drained
Soil type: Loam, Sand
Growth Rate: Fast
Water Requirements: Drought Tolerant, Average Water

Chickpeas are a very versatile food. A great sack eaten alone or added to salads, soups and curries. They're perfect for the vegetarians among us, as they're rich in protein. The percentage of chickpeas produced in New Zealand is extremely low. This is due to the wetness of our climate which makes the crop a risky investment. They've been known to take well to our soil however, as its quite sandy. The beans need a fair amount of sun to really get growing, and are ready to harvest 100 days after planting. One plant will yield a handful or so of chickpeas, so if hummus is on the agenda, it might be a good idea to grow 4-5 plants.

5. Ananas comosus / Pineapple

Sun exposure: Full Sun, Partial Sun
Height: 0.9m - 1.5m
Width: 0.9m - 1.2m
Native to: Hybrid Origin, South America
Soil: pH Acidic, Neutral
Soil Drainage: Well Drained
Soil type: Loam, Sand
Growth Rate: Medium
Water Requirements: Drought Tolerant, Average Water

Pineapples are having a moment, and its completely clear why. Their tangy acidity, and super sweet juices are a taste-bud sensation. So, can you grow these tropical treasures at home? The short answer is yes, it’s possible. Pineapple plants love the sun and warmer climates (250 is optimal). Making sure they’re not exposed to temperatures under 50 would be beneficial, but they can withstand temperatures as low as -20. If you live in Auckland and Northland keeping your pineapples outdoors is OK. Anywhere else in New Zealand however, you might want to consider creating a greenhouse for a real exotic fruit, jungle oasis. Learn how to create a greenhouse in your home in the Modern Greenhouse Guide

6. Persea gratissima / Avocado

A hand holding one green avocado fruit

Sun exposure: Full Sun
Height: 9.1m – 18.3m
Width: 6.1m – 24.5m
Native to: Central America, South America
Soil: pH Acidic, Neutral, Alkaline
Soil Drainage: Well Drained
Soil type: Clay, Loam, Sand
Growth Rate: Medium
Water Requirements: Drought Tolerant, Average Water

I personally don’t know where I'd be in life without this velvety, parcel of goodness. With avocado shortages casting a shadow over summer, and prices sky rocking along with it, growing your own tree would not only save you money, but also disappointment. Although its known that the best regions for avocado growth are in the Bay of Plenty and Northland, they’re still considered a hardy plant withstanding temperatures as low as -50. But avocado lovers be warned, patience is required, as these trees can take up to 5 years to bare fruit. Perseverance is rewarded however, as a mature 7year old tree can produce up to 200 avocados annually.

 

You might be interested in reading: Edible gardens.

 

This article featured on page 22 in Issue 023 of Renovate Magazine. New Zealand's first and only magazine solely dedicated to home renovations.

 

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