There are few things more satisfying in life than growing your own fruit and vegetables. Choosing the best ripe tomatoes or fresh peas from your garden and putting them straight in the pot is one of the healthiest, and cheapest, ways to eat.
But where do you start with making your own vegetable patch? What are the easiest veg to grow? Where should you put it? There are a thousand questions any budding vegetable gardener needs to know the answers to.
We’ve put together a simple step by step guide to help you plant and grow vegetables in your own patch.
1. Find the sun
First things first, you need to know which part of your garden gets the sun for the longest. You’ll get the best vegetables if they have plenty of sunlight so watch your garden to see where the sun falls and for how long then stake out your patch in the best area.
2. Get the soil right
Vegetables need plenty of nutrients to grow so if your ground isn’t that great mix in some topsoil and compost to give it what it needs. If you’re creating a patch on the ground, dig it over thoroughly removing any weeds and grass. One of the easier ways is to create a raised bed from some old pallets or scrap wood then use that to pour in fresh soil.
3. Give your plants room to breathe
Have you ever noticed how some gardeners have their veg plots in almost uniform rows? This is because vegetables need plenty of room to grow. Too close and the plants won’t thrive, leaving you with weak and underdeveloped harvest. As a guideline, leave about 20-30cm around each plant and about three times this for bigger vegetables like marrows or squash.
4. Climbing frames
Climbing plants like tomatoes, peas and beans will need help to stay upright. Stick some stakes in the ground or put your veg patch against a fence so your plants have something to cling onto. Some plants, like runner beans, can grow over a metre tall and have gorgeous flowers so they can also become a feature in your garden with some careful planning.
5. You don’t always have to have a vegetable patch outside
Don’t feel put off if you haven’t got a garden of your own, you can grow small plants like cress or herbs in pots or window boxes. Salad leaves do particularly well inside as they love the warm environment.
6. Beware of animals!
It’s not just humans that enjoy the taste of fresh vegetables, birds and slugs love our freshly grown plants. Think about ways to protect your veg plot from roaming animals. Even cats can get into a vegetable patch and dig up your prized plants. Netting will usually stop birds and cats and slug repellent is widely available to stop your vegetables being gobbled up!