Tips for Health

Simple ways for novice gardeners to grow their own

By on January 8, 2013 in Lifestyle with 0 Comments

For many people, growing a supply of vegetables in the back garden to pick and eat as you fancy is something they think is out of reach. The perceived cost and time needed can be off-putting, but the truth is that setting up a vegetable patch makes sense in more ways than one.

Of course, there is some initial financial outlay for a project of this scale, but the long-term benefits can far outweigh the upfront cost. Having a steady supply of homegrown vegetables is a shrewd move at a time when food prices are increasing and for families with young children, it can help spark an interest in gardening and make them take more of an interest in the food they eat.

Taking the plunge

So, once you’ve decided to go ahead and set up your own vegetable patch, there are a few things you need to consider. Firstly, you need to decide where to put it. Sunshine, along with water, is crucial to growing big, healthy vegetables, so opt for the sunniest spot in your garden. The soil already under your grass should suffice, but you may find you need to add an extra layer if what you’re working with is very shallow. Also, watch out for patches containing large stones and try to remove as many as possible.

Once you’ve selected a plot, the next step is to ensure you have all the tools you need. If you don’t own one already, now would be a good time to¬†buy a garden shed, as these are great for storing spades, trowels, fertiliser, labels, seeds and anything else you may need to make your project a success.

novice gardeners

The next step is deciding what to grow. There are many options available, so try and resist the temptation to opt for an exotic form of lettuce and instead focus on the basics that you are likely to use most often – things like carrots, potatoes, onions and tomatoes. Of course, you will also need to take space into consideration, as you don’t want overcrowding to hamper your chances of producing a bumper crop.

A watchful eye

Once you’ve done all your planning and the project is underway, you need to make sure you are disciplined enough to give the plants the care and attention they will need. Plenty of water is crucial – without it you’ll find your crops die pretty quickly! – and you will also need to make sure you give your patch a steady supply of nutrients. Compost can help, but this generally only contains relatively small amounts of nutrients, so fertiliser is also usually needed to encourage growth.

The Royal Horticultural Society advises adding general fertiliser to the soil a week before planting most crops, noting some will need further feeding as they develop. This can usually be administered in the form of liquid fertiliser, but take care – crops that produce a fruit tend to need a solution that is higher in potash, as this will help boost the quality and quantity of the crop.

If you follow these steps, and do plenty of research before getting underway, there’s no reason why you won’t be taking a trip to the end of the garden, rather than the local supermarket, every time you need some fresh vegetables next summer.

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