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Vegepod 101: What Is It And How To Make Your Own Mini Farm At Home

Finally! A garden bed that makes vegetable planting SO easy!


In a time like today where are our homes have become our sanctuary all the more, this very space has evolved to something more multi-purpose. It has become our office, our gym, school even, and now, our own mini farm. Here’s where Vegepod comes in, an award-winning, raised garden bed kit where you can grow your vegetables, right in the comfort of your home. Your space—big or small, house or apartment—can house the size of your liking and start your own garden-to-table meals in a flash.


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Vegepod 101


Sydney-based brand Vegepod has been around since 2009, producing this portable contained gardening system that answers most home gardeners’ woes when it comes to growing their vegetables and produce. 


Its design hosts a series of benefits that trumps traditional gardening methods we know. Due to it’s small footprint, the Vegepod requires much less soil, prolongs the growing season, and boosts plant growth. The commercial grade canopy protects the produce from pests and harsh weather. This minimizes your use of pesticides from little to none. The VegeCover is designed to give 17% shade rate, an ideal number to protect your produce from the harsh sun while providing an ideal growing environment. 



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Watering is the trickiest task when it comes to marinating your plants, easily tiptoeing between under-watering and overwatering. The Vegepod is self-watering, YES! A term we all love to hear. It has a wicking systems that makes a water reservoir at the base of your pod, where plants can utilize and can keep the soil moist for weeks at a time, especially for established plants. As an added convenience, the mist spray on top can be attached to a hose and a timer for weeks when you are away. 


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Photo from Vegepod


It’s a packed piece of invention helping gardeners become home-based farmers, if one can call it that. Evonne Hui of Nexgen Asia is the official distributor of the Vegepod here in the Philippines. “One of the main advantages of the Vegepod is that its farm-grade mesh canopy protects your veggies from all these harmful elements. Moreover, the microclimate created by the canopy, combined with the self-watering reservoirs (which reduces watering by up to 80%), help promote amazing growth rates,” Evonne share. Yes, everyone is already off to a good start just by owning one.



What To Grow in the Vegepod


A simple answer: you can grow just about anything! Vegepod’s recommendation, though, are those with continual harvests like spinach, parsley, lettuce. Leafy salad greens and herbs are popular since they tend to be easily contained within the pod. 



Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes are great options, as well, nut might takeover most space in the pod. Tough greens like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower prove to thrive in the vegepod conditions.


Due to its height limitation, the Vegepod isn’t ideal for fruit trees and shrubs. 


For tips on how to plant your produce of choice, see Vegepod’s planting tips.


Vegepod Sizes


There are three sizes of the Vegepod available in the market right now: the Small, Medium, and the Large. Each size has an optional stand to raise the bed to waist height. While all offer the same growing depth, the soil required and its gallon capacity vary per size. 


The Small retails for P7,900, the Medium for P11,900, and Large for P15,900. The stand is priced at P3,000, P3,500, and P7,000, respectively.



The Vegepod is made of food safe virgin polypropylene plastic, which are UV stabilised and are recyclable. This means that there will be no leaching of toxic chemicals into your vegetables, unlike most pots. 


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Assembling the Vegepod 


I consider myself a terrible handyman so assembling the pod was a seemingly daunting task at first. The pod comes with a full set of instructions, which will guide you step by step on how to set up your pod. The Small and Medium pods may arrive to you assembled already but the Large will come disassembled. I was up for the challenge and wanted the full Vegepod experience so I got the biggest size. The bits and pieces came in an overwhelming amount but if you break them down into parts, even the worst craftsman like myself had seen no problems. Without any help but myself and no added tools besides those provided in the box, I was able to assemble a Large Vegepod with stand in just there hours.


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The Vegepod box in comes in for the pod itself and the stand


With the help of videos posted by Vegepod online, the instruction manual and the demo prove to be an easy job.


The experience was exhilarating, seeing the pod take shape every step of the way. The pod is such a family affair that if everyone can chime in, the assembly is in itself such a nice weekend activity for the family.


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The Large pod comes in 4 bases and a series of screws and hinges to assemble them


For the full tutorial on how to build your pod, see their tutorial here.



Making Your Vegepods Thrive



Now that you’ve got your pods set up, how to make the plants, vegetables, and produce thrive in one? 


Soil, soil, soil. It all starts here. Depending on your budget and what’s available to you, potting mixes may vary. You can make your own mix or buy ready made ones, the best quality, the better. This ensured you that your soil will last years to come and not have to replace them every year or two.


To make it simple, an ideal potting mix should have 1/3 fine particle base—this allows the water wicking system to seep through the soil upwards. Lightweight soil additives such as perlite should also be in the mix to make the soil more porous and breathable for better root growth. Natural fertilisers should also be added to make sure that your plants are given the ample nutrients they need to help make the growth faster. This is just the basic recommended potting mix but if other additives such as manure and worm casting will also be advantageous for your pods.


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Day 0: Some seedlings planted and some herbs transferred to the corner of the pod


Some basic recommended formulas from the Vegepod team made it easier for beginners to jumpstart their journey:


3 parts premium potting mix

1 part bagged cow manure

1 part perlite


4 parts premium potting mix

1 part perlite

*i went with this one


3 parts premium potting mix

1 part perlite

1 part worm castings


2 parts premium potting mix

1 part perlite

1 part vermiculite

1 part worm castings


2 parts premium potting mix

1 part coir fibre

1 part perlite

1 part cow manure


As to where to put your Vegepods, outdoors is still the most ideal environment where it is exposed to sunlight most of the day. But for those in apartments, a balcony has proven to be an effective space for the pods. 


Watering your produce is the next trial and error when it comes to ensuring thriving plants. Well rooted plants need minimal watering, thanks to the reservoir below. Though the soil may seem dry, these mature vegetables have ample root system to get water from below. Seedlings may benefit from three minutes of mist watering every day until their roast are more well established. 



An Actual Vegepod Owner’s Thoughts


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Day 40 Update: Some of the seeds showed promise of growth already, mainly my spinach and arugula


It’s been 40 days since planting my very first seedlings and grown herbs into the Vegepod. While I understand there is both a learning curve in assessing what the pods needs and my starter skillset in planting, your pod’s growth is highly dependent on how you have followed the soil mixture, proper way of planting and watering, and your dedication in making your produce thrive.


Pros

I appreciate the raised bed up to the waist, as I don’t have to bend over anymore every time I need to tend to my pod. As for my parents who who are senior citizens and help in the upkeep of the pod, this makes for a perfect plot of land for them to take care of. 


Pre-Vegepod, some of my herbs like oregano and dill struggle to grow in their contained pots. After transferring them to the pod, they’ve thrived and tripled 40 days later!


As for the few I was able to to harvest from my herbs, minimal washing is only needed and they can be eaten straight away! Unlike those I’ve planted from the ground, I triple wash them to ensure to soil and insert remnants remain in the greens. 



Cons

Since I’ve planted a bevy of vegetables and herbs in the pod, I am still mastering the right watering needs of each plant in their new house. They’re sharing the same bed so the same watering time for every plant seem to make other plants thrive less. Though my dill and orgeno have thrived so far, my basil plant, for example, is suffering from overwatering. There is a again a learning curve on how to make sure every plant gets their needed water while not having their neighboring greens suffer. With time, I’m sure this can be remedied right away!


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The Vegepod isn’t just a new novelty when it comes to home gardening. This small space, should you welcome it at home, is a starter kit on sustainability as well. “I learned that growing your own food is one of the best ways to create a more sustainable way of living, and encourage a healthier lifestyle,” Evonne tells us. Staring off with a Vegepod makes it exciting to grow our own food. And trust me, nothing beats a meal where the ingredients are grown and made by yourself.


“Gardening can be intimidating, and even experienced gardeners will tell you that it involves a lot of trial and error as well as patience,” she adds when asked what usually stops people from tending to a home garden. “What is good about owning a Vegepod is that it eliminates more than half of the usual gardening concerns, so the growing success rate is definitely higher.”


Consider it the right place at the right time. Vegepod being accessible here in the Philippines all the way from Australia is already a convenience worth taking. Ever since I’ve discovered the joy of growing my own edible greens, the food tastes even better, may it be only mentally or not. The thought of having a goal of thriving plants ends up in both heartbreaking and rewarding results, but hey, it’s part of the journey of growing a home garden and the rewards definitely outweigh the bad days. 


Yes, the home is not only a home today. And if there’s anything the times have brought us, it’s that we also do not have to be just the same person. We can be our own cooks, a hobbyist, and now even a gardener. Flourishing, whether it be in the form of our plants or ourselves, is indeed what a Vegepod can offer us today.


For more information on the Vegepod, visit their website and follow them on Instagram at @vegepod.ph

Art by Raff Colmenar


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