Derby offers an ideal climate for the prospective gardener. Indoor plants thrive (it’s recommended they be rotated to a sheltered area outside every month) while vegetables and flowers grow and produce quickly during the cooler dry season.

THE SOIL: Derby has two main types of soil, either a heavy pindan, or a sandy soil. The pindan benefits from better drainage; this can be achieved by either raising the level of the bed, or digging a reasonable amount of river sand into the soil. Sandy soils can be improved by adding organic matter eg. compost or manure.

*Special Tip* from a local producer: use Potato E Fertiliser for correcting the alkalinity of our local soil. When planting out sprinkle the fertiliser into the bottom of the hole and cover with 10cm of soil. Don’t let the roots come into direct contact with the fertiliser at this stage. Plant your seedlings on top. In a few weeks the seedling roots will contact the fertiliser and grow like mad. Allow your prepared beds to stand, watering regularly to allow the nutrients to spread.

WINDBREAKS: Plants will benefit when given protection from hot drying winds eg. use a shadecloth fence around your vegetable garden.

RETICULATION/WATERING: Regular watering is essential for any plant. The most efficient and effective way to water most in-ground plants is by drippers or dripperline. These systems work best with an automatic timer. Most vegetables appreciate increased amounts of water once they begin to flower/fruit.

FERTILISERS: Chemical fertilisers can be used (always as directed on packet)but animal manures turned into the soil (before planting) and laid under mulch, fertilise very well and encourage lots of worms. NB. Any fertilisers containing urea will kill your worms.

MULCH: Mulching your plants will help conserve water, suppress weeds and the breakdown of the organic matter provides trace elements to your plants. Hay mulch, compost or woodchip are all great mulches.

POSITION: Follow the recommended planting guide; where part sun – part shade is recommended, morning sun position is best. 

POT PLANTS: All pot plants will benefit from a good quality potting mix and being mulched. Smaller pots will need to be watered more frequently in hot weather.


Always read seed packet and follow directions carefully.

Brocolli, cabbage and cauliflowers love lots of manure; liquid manure regularly once heads start to form. Seedlings need to be protected from pests.

Tomatoes require staking, protect fruit from full sun to avoid sunburn.

Sweetcorn fruit more readily if they are planted in large groups rather than single rows. They loves loads of manure, which can be mulched against
the stem. For best results supply extra water when fruiting.

Peas and Beans need lime added to soil before planting and require a climbing frame, eg. chicken wire.


Watermelon, all sorts of beans (french, dwarf, runner and snake).

Basil, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage,(both ordinary and Chinese) capsicum,carrots, cauliflower, chives, cucumber,eggplant, garlic, lettuce, parsley,pumpkin, radish, rockmelon, silverbeet,
snowpeas, spinach, sweetcorn, tomato,turnip, zucchini, onions.