If you’ve always fancied growing your own fruit and veg but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place! There are so many benefits to growing your own and you don’t need to be an expert to get started. You only need a little bit of outside space to start growing, and trust us, you’ll be pleased you gave it a go when you’re tucking into your home-grown tomatoes and spuds!
Let us guide you though the basics – whether you’re planting in large spaces such as allotments, or smaller spaces such as on patios, balconies or even windowsills.
If you’re short on space, you’ll be pleased to know that many vegetables can be grown in containers. All you need is a nice sunny spot on your patio and a good quality planter. Then just let nature do the rest! Containers look just as attractive on balconies or against walls, and will still allow you to make the st of your outdoor space.
If you don’t have a garden at all, why not grow a few of your favourite herbs on your windowsill? Basil or parsley are easy to grow, and it’s so nice having fresh herbs to add to your homemade pizza or fish pie!
And, believe it or not, we’ve even got a solution for growing herbs on your drainpipe! Check out our Clever Pots range – simply clip to your drainpipe, add a pot and start growing. You can read all about them in our brilliant Clever Pots blog.
As long as you choose a good sized container and you have the right compost, you have the perfect foundation for a successful yield. In fact, a lot of vegetables including peppers, cucumbers and aubergines really flourish in containers.
Many beginners like to start out with growbags – they are the perfect way to create mini vegetable patches on patios and balconies. Growbags use quality soil and they don’t require much maintenance so they can be used to grow just about anything.
A place of their own
If you’ve got the space in your garden, a dedicated vegetable plot will be a project that can take you through the seasons year after year. Pick your location and build a raised bed as these are often better for growing than planting directly into the ground, as it offers greater control over the soil quality. They look great, too! Another good idea is to consider growing crops in your flower beds. Selecting brightly coloured vegetables such as tomatoes or peppers will provide an inspirational pop of colour. Or you can help add height to the overall look of your beds by growing runner beans in wigwam formation, a fantastic way to create an impact.
Picking the perfect spot
Your vegetable plot will get along best when it gets all-day sunshine, so try to avoid shaded areas. Along with a good watering, vegetables absolutely love the sun and will flourish when given plenty of light and warmth. If you’ve picked the perfect spot but it’s exposed to the wind, then try to provide some protection- even if it’s with a temporary measure like an old windbreaker from a trip to the beach!
A greenhouse is great for year-long cover as they retain heat while allowing light through, protect your crops from the elements and help to keep pesky insects at bay.
Your plot will also need access to water. An environmentally conscious solution is a water butt which can be used to gather rain water throughout the year.
Once you’ve picked the perfect plot or gathered your containers, make sure your seeds get off to the best start by giving them a good quality soil to grow in. Regardless of the soil type in your garden (whether clay or sandy), make sure you dig in some high organic matter soil improver. This will improve your soil structure and pave the way for all-important plant nutrients, water and organisms to aid your growing. Make sure that your crops are well fed with a good plant feed throughout the season and consider looking into companion planting to really help them flourish and keep pests at bay.
Keep a track of what’s what and who’s who by labelling as you plant. Our plant labels are just the job, or alternatively get creative with wooden sticks from the craft section and a permanent marker. As your crops grow, make sure they’re well-supported and protected with good quality netting and canes.
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