If you’ve always fancied growing your own fruit and veg but don’t know where to start, then 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 don’t need loads of space to start growing, and trust us, you’ll be pleased you gave it a go when you’re tucking into your tasty tomatoes and scrumptious spuds! Let us guide you though the basics – whether you’re planting in large spaces such as allotments, or smaller spaces such as 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; let nature do the rest! Containers look just as attractive on balconies or against walls, and will allow you to make the most of your outdoor space.
If you don’t have a garden at all, it’s a great idea to 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 when making 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 gro-bags – they are the perfect way to create mini vegetable patches on patios and balconies. Gro-bags 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 by offering greater control over the soil quality. They also look great too! Another great 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 help add height to the overall look of your beds by growing runner beans in wig-wam formation, a fantastic way to create an impact.
Picking the perfect spot
Your vegetable plot will get along best where it’ll benefit from 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 all year long cover as they retain heat whilst allowing light through, protect your crops from the elements and help to keep pesky insects at bay. We’ve got a great range of greenhouses starting from mini greenhouses to huge 12ft x 10ft buildings.
Your plot will also need access to water, an environmentally conscious solution is a water butt that 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. Ensure 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 too with good quality netting and canes.
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