As the cost of fresh fruit and vegetables continues to rise and people become more conscious of the impact their diet has on the environment in the form of air miles and carbon footprint, there has never been a better time to start your own vegetable patch. Not only is it a satisfying hobby and a great use of your yard space, but once you’ve tasted food you’ve grown yourself, nothing else will ever match up! Here’s how to get started.
Find a Sunny Spot
First, you’ll need to find a sunny spot where you can set up your vegetable patch. Ideally this will be close to the house – you’re not going to want to traipse to the far end of the garden every time your vegetables need watering.
Make Your Bed
You can either dig into the ground to make your bed (in which case you will benefit from adding nutrient-rich compost to give your vegetables the best chance of reaching their potential) or make a raised bed that is above ground level (which you will then fill with compost, either store-bought or home-made). Raised beds are a popular option right now and are especially good for people who have back problems as they reduce the need to bend. If you are making a raised bed or want to edge your ground-level bed, why not use wooden planks such as railway sleepers or deconstructed wooden pallets? Not only do they look attractive, but they are a simple option for a beginner.
What to Plant
When you first start growing your own vegetables, it’s a good idea to start with bulbs and tubers. Not only are they hardy and need less attention than most vegetables that grow from seed, but you will quickly see them sprout which is a great reward. Fall is the ideal time to start overwintering vegetables, with onions a popular option for beginners. Start your organic garlic farming journey so you can add flavor to every dish you make. Another great option for beginners that can be sown in the fall is broad beans. By planting seeds now rather than in the spring they get a head start and will grow tall and strong.
Nurturing Your Vegetables
If you are short on time or just starting out on your grow you own journey, options such as those mentioned require little intervention – just make sure they get enough water if it’s a dry fall. Pull up troublesome weeds by hand or break their roots with a hand-held hoe. You shouldn’t need to add extra feeds for onions, garlic or broad beans, and in most cases, you will still harvest an abundant crop next year.
Having your own vegetable patch is a fantastic way to teach children about where their food comes from, eat fresh and varied meals, and experiment by growing unusual varieties of your favorite vegetables that you can’t buy from the shops. Enjoy your vegetable-growing experience!