Grow your own vegetables
Making your own veg patch!
It wasn’t so long ago that no household garden was complete without a
vegetable garden, helping to provide the family with a good supply of healthy fresh vegetables. However, these days
we have become
increasingly reliant on the supermarket to provide
us with our five a day.
The traditional way to start a vegetable garden has been to choose you plot and work directly
onto the soil so the plants will be at ground level.
Another option is to make a raised vegetable
Raised vegetable beds take a little more preparation as you have to build a border and fill it
with soil. There are numerous advantages though: you can choose your soil rather than work with what you find
in your garden, you can choose the height at which you will be planting and harvesting your crop, and the
solid sides of the raised bed make it very easy to put up netting to cover and protect your precious veggies
Whether you chose to work on the ground or
to make a raised vegetable bed, the first decision you will have to make is location. Choosing a good location is
vital to the success of your vegetable garden. You will need a position that allows maximum sunlight to your
vegetables all year round - the most crucial time is from early March until late
November, although some vegetable continue to grow in the winter and will require as much sunlight as
Vegetables do not enjoy being battered by the elements, so the next thing for you to consider
Having one side protected by a wall or fence would be a big advantage - if you have decided on
raised vegetable beds then a hedge could be a good option.
If, however, you are growing from ground level you must be careful as your vegetables will need
plenty of water and nutrients to grow, and a well established hedge will be fierce competition for
The next thing you want to consider is your own convenience. Your vegetables garden will need a
lot of water, so choosing a plot with easy access to a water supply is a good idea. You will also find
yourself popping to and from your patch to collect vegetables on a regular basis, so you may want to consider
choosing a location that is close to the kitchen.
Preparing the land.
So, you have chosen your sunny, well
protected plot just next to the tap and a stones throw away from the kitchen. Now you will need to turn this patch
of grass into prime vegetable growing land.
Unless you are lucky enough to have a beautiful bit of lawn available, the chances are there
will be the odd weed knocking about on.
All weeds must be cleared before any other preparation can take place.
There are several ways to clear weeds and how you go about it is entirely your business, many
people use chemicals such as glyphosphate which will kill all weeds in a month, but no one really knows what
effect this has on the soil and in my opinion it’s best avoided.
If you are looking for a green way to remove your weeds then the best option does involve
hard work; simply dig the soil and pull weeds out by hand.
If you do not mind waiting a few months then you could give the weeds the carpet treatment;
this involves laying an old carpet over the area and leaving it out until all the weeds are dead. Whichever
method you go for, make sure you destroy the weeds after you have removed them and do not put them on the
Vegetables will not just grow in any old
soil; some will really struggle to grow at all if your soil is too acidic or too alkaline, so it is imperative that
you test the PH level to see if any adjustments need to be made. Soil testing kits are available from most
The chances are your soil will need a little bit of attention, so once you have given it a good
digging over with a fork the best treats you can give it are compost and manure - I would recommend two large
shovels full per square meter, you can use chemical fertilisers but these are a quick fix and will not
Compost and manure both naturally encourage worm bacteria to live in the soil and keep it
packed full of nutrients and in tip top condition for growing veg.
It’s all in the
Right, you have a perfectly dug, nutrient rich vegetable patch in a location to die for; all
you are lacking is some vegetables to grow in it. This bit requires a little bit of thought as there is no
point growing vegetables that you are not going to eat. You may wish to consider the odd fruit, and growing
your own herbs is definitely worth considering. Think about what you eat most of and what you would like to
try, and draw yourself a plan of what to plant and how much to grow.
You will need to rotate your crops year on year as certain plants
have particular demands on the soil, so to avoid ruining your soil and the build up of disease never plant the
same crop in the same spot for two years running.
Sowing the seeds of
So then, we are down to the business end of proceedings; everything is in place and you have a
plan, so put it into action. Remember every vegetable and herb has its own requirements and will have a best
time of year to be sown and harvested; be sure to read up on your chosen crop and you should soon be reaping
the rewards of all your hard work.