Winter is almost over… so here comes the sun! And, what better way to spend those sunny spring mornings than by planting your very own vegetable garden?
Starting your own veggie patch is a great way to save money on your grocery bills, while enjoying the fruits (or vegetables, in this case) of your labour. It’s also a fun way to spend time with the kids, especially if you leave them in charge to tending to their own veggie plants.
So, keen to get started? Here are some handy tips to make the most of your new vegetable garden.
1. What vegetables to plant
Though September still has some pretty chilly mornings, that doesn’t mean you can’t start planting some hardy vegetables now! Vegetables such as asparagus, beetroot, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, peas, parsnips, rhubarb and turnips can all be safely planted now. By the time October comes around, you can add cabbage, broccoli, cucumbers, leeks, potatoes, radishes… the list goes on.
2. Finding the right spot
Though vegetables are pretty easy to grow, they do have some basic needs that you must meet in order for them to thrive throughout the season. These include:
- Choosing a spot that enjoys full sun. Vegetables love a good sunbathe – and we’re not talking an hour or two of sun. More like 6-8 hours at least (they’re greedy). If they don’t get enough sun, they won’t be as productive.
- A good soil base – one rich in organic nutrients that will encourage root growth.
- Ensuring your vegetables enjoy plenty of water. Lying in the sun all day is thirsty work, so make sure you water regularly (not too much, though – you don’t want to drown your plants).
3. Pest control
Don’t want your hard work thwarted by some hungry little caterpillars? Don’t despair! We have some tips on how to keep your veggies pest-free. These include:
- Simply picking off snails and caterpillars by hand is one of the easiest ways to stop them munching away at your vegetables. Just don’t throw them into your neighbour’s garden!
- Plant ‘companion’ vegetables close to one another (like basil and tomatoes, or climbing plants with carrots underneath). This can help confuse the pests.
- Sick of aphids ruining all the fun? Plants such as mint, fennel and sunflowers will help to attract ladybirds to your garden – and they just love feasting on aphids! Or, grab some white oil insecticide from your local garden centre, which will soon put an end to these little pests.
4. Only plant what you need
Sure, the idea of an overflowing vegetable garden is nice – but are you really going to eat them all? To create a successful veggie patch, it pays to start small. Give your plants their own space, and don’t go overboard. You can always plant more seedlings later once you’ve got your garden set up and thriving.
These are just a few suggestions to get you going – we’d love to hear if you have any more tips for veggie garden goodness?!
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Until next time…