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The Kitchen Garden Part One: Preparing Your Garden

The Kitchen Garden Part One: Preparing Your Garden

Kitchen gardens have become increasingly popular over the last couple of years, with many new gardeners having a go at it during lockdown and continuing to grow their own as the world returned to “normal”. If you didn’t discover your green fingers before or during lockdown, the recent shortages combined with soaring cost of living could well be the final events that send you to the garden centre looking for inspiration.

The toughest part of gardening can be knowing when to start. Sometimes, it can be a good idea to get a gardener in just to get you going with the basics. However, if you want to give it a go on your own, now is the perfect time.

If you live in a milder region, you can start planting your kitchen garden now. If you live in a cooler area, it may be best to wait until April, but you can always start planning it now, and spend some time preparing it.

As with many things, when it comes to a successful kitchen garden, preparation is very important (and usually very tedious). Take the time to get this right, and you will be giving your garden the best chance of success.

Location, location, location

The first key element is – you guessed it – location. Your kitchen garden needs to be in a spot that is as sunny as possible, as well as being sheltered from the elements. Decide how much space you can realistically allocate to your kitchen garden; remember, plants need space to thrive, so you won’t want to plant crops too close to each other.

Make the beds

Mark out your beds using bricks or bed edging. If you want raised beds, sleepers are a good option and they look nice, too. Dig out the beds and make sure that you get rid of all perennial weeds (for the novice gardener, perennial means that they keep coming back). Now is a good time to add manure or compost; if in doubt about what you need, head to your local garden centre, or ask a gardener to advise you.

Prioritise your crops

The biggest mistake all gardeners make, but most especially novices, is trying to grow too much. Think about what you are most likely to use; if you are a beginner, pick the easy stuff such as potatoes, courgettes, beans and peas, tomatoes and salad leaves.

Plan your planting

Before you actually start planting anything, sketch out a plan of where you want each plant to go. It is a good idea to organise your crops in sections, to optimise space and make it easier for you to care for them. Check the seed or plug labels to see how much space each crop needs and remember that you may need to thin them out as you go.

Once you have planned, dug and edged your kitchen garden, you are ready to go! Follow Trust A Trader on Facebook or Twitter for next week’s instalment.

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