There is no doubt that it's important to eat healthily. What’s more, you just can’t beat the flavour and satisfaction of home-grown veg. Growing your own vegetables doesn’t have to be a full-time job, and nor do you have to grow everything yourself, but growing a few things to eat adds a whole new element of enjoyment to gardening. We take a look at how you can get your kitchen garden up and running.
Step 1: Find The Sunny Spot
The basic rule of gardening is: sunny spots make for healthy plants. Give your veg patch the sunniest spot you can, to help to get the best possible crop. If possible, at least five hours of sun a day is best – choosing a spot away from other plants can help prevent slugs and snails from nibbling on your dinner, too.
Step 2: Choose Your Plants
The key to choosing your veg is to start easy; with a bit of trial and error you will soon know what grows well, what is less successful and (believe it or not), what grows a little too well! Unless you are desperate, forget the high maintenance veg such as aubergines and peppers. If you are limited on space, disregard veg that takes up a huge amount of room, such as potatoes, parsnips and Brussels sprouts. Next, choose from the veg that you enjoy eating the most! Runner beans, new potatoes, spring onions and peas are always winners, tomatoes and courgettes are prolific – any more than two or three successful plants and you are likely to end up with far more than you need. Have a good think about what you buy week in, week out, and what you have space to grow.
Step 3: Preparation and Maintenance
Good preparation and ongoing maintenance are the keys to a successful vegetable crop. Before you start, dig over your plot as deep as you can, getting rid of roots and weeds. Add good quality compost as you go and only dig the area that you are going to plant – digging more is a waste of your energy and unplanted soil will soon be taken over by weeds again. Get into the habit of regular weeding and keeping on top of the slugs and snails – if slimy visitors are a problem, old coffee grounds or a thin layer of sand on top of the soil can help. When it is time to sow, ensure that your plants have plenty of space – cramming them in may seem like a good idea, but it just means that they will end up competing for nutrients, space and light.
Step 4: Watch, Eat and Enjoy!
Plenty of garden vegetables (such as runner beans and courgettes) don’t just taste delicious, they look beautiful, too. Enjoy them as they flower as well as on the table.
Provided you keep it simple at first and follow the sowing instructions on your seed packs or seedlings with our advice your vegetable garden should be a success.
If you want a vegetable garden but don’t have the time or green fingers to do it yourself, find a local gardener to help. Instead of spending money on buying veg, you can invest in growing your own!