Do you ever wonder, when you find yourself at the fruit and veg section of the supermarket, whether you could grow your own tasty fresh produce?
In fact, it's not very difficult to create your very own vegetable garden. You don’t have to be experienced or green-thumbed to make a start – you just have to be interested and have a little patience. How wonderful to pop into your own garden and pick out the fruit and veg for your supper.
Whilst this time of year isn’t suitable (it is best to start in Spring), we can still get excited and give ourselves a little project to plan come early next year. We can also look at the best ways to look after your vegetable garden (if you already have one).
Here are some top tips below to get you inspired:
1. Zoning - start off by marking where you want your fruit and vegetable garden to go. This is where you will put the beds. Consider size, shape, accessibility.
2. Raised beds – this is very important as you want deep, rich soil to encourage growth. You want sufficient spacing as well for healthy, extensive roots to grow and reach the water and nutrients.
3. Fertilisers – to harvest a successful vegetable patch, you may want to consider natural fertilisers which help soil retain water. Be generous with this and combine well with your soil.
4. Planting designs – rather than traditional rows, you may want to plant in triangle shapes and to stagger them, in order to maximise the space. By doing so you can fit 10% more plants in each bed.
5. Vertical gardening – we have covered this before but we’ll cover it again as it can so easily be over-looked. No matter what size your garden is, planting vertically is ideal for vegetables – tomatoes grow well in this environment, as do peas, melons, beans etc. All you will need is a trellis or fence for support.
For anyone who already has a small area where you grow your own, let’s look at some ideas on how to care for it in preparation for Spring next year. It can be quite overwhelming at first to look at the tasks that need doing, so we can break it down into manageable stages:
1. Remove all dead vegetation
2. Pull out the weeds, ensuring you pull from the root at all times
3. Add some compost or mulch to help keep the weeds away – ensure it isn’t too thick to start with otherwise you could over-insulate the beds. Once the beds freeze over, then add another layer.
4. Autumn leaves are a gardener’s best friend at this time of year! When brown, the carbon in the leaves are perfect for your compost. Over time, the leaves will break down and decompose which can then be included in your soil to improve the moisture content. Start collecting the leaves now and put aside.
5. With just a few little steps to tidy up the garden in Autumn, it makes it so much easier to re-visit the vegetable patch in the Spring. The beds will have been cared for and ready for harvesting new growth.