Grow your own today!
Here are some great tips for getting started:
Sunshine and Light –
Most vegetables, especially those that bear fruit (tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and peppers, for example) need sun, and a lot of it.
So choose a sheltered, sunny spot for growing veg. Exceptions to this rule include salad leaves and some herbs, which can bolt (run to seed) in full sun, and therefore do better in partial shade.
Healthy Soil –
Healthy, rich soil is the key to a successful and productive vegetable garden.
Prepare the soil by removing weeds and adding well-rotted compost or manure, and rake level.
Only grow what you have space for. If you don’t have a large garden, you can grow salad crops and herbs in window boxes, pots or growing bags.
If you are starting out, best to keep your garden smaller, a vegetable garden doesn’t have to be large to be productive.
Choose Your Plants Wisely –
With your first veggie garden, it’s very tempting to want to grow everything! Its better to choose up to 5 types of vegetables and grow them well.
You can, however boost yield by succession planting. When your initial crops have been harvested, follow up with a second sowing.
For example, follow spring lettuce with summer beans. Succession planting allows you to stretch your harvest season for the longest possible time.
A Blooming Great Idea –
Most bugs are your friends! Bees, butterflies, tachinid flies, ladybugs are excellent for your garden – and boost crop pollination – include clumps of insect-friendly plants like sweet alyssum, zinnias, cosmos, and sunflowers between the veggies and herbs.
Water, Weed And Feed! –
Newly seeded beds will need frequent watering, but most established crops can get by with watering deeply 2 or 3 times a week is better than little and often, although greenhouse crops need to be watered daily.
Water early in the morning when cool and direct the water to the roots, not overhead. A thick layer of mulch such as homemade compost will help keep the moisture in the soil. A side benefit is that the mulch will also suppress weeds!
As for feeding, quick growing crops like radishes and lettuce won’t need supplemental fertilizers if grown in in fertile soil. Long-term veggies like tomatoes, winter squash, and eggplants, however, will appreciate a boost several times over the growing season.
Pick And Eat –
Picking crops when they are young and tender encourages new ones to grow – any oversized veg can be popped straight on the compost heap.