Five steps for starting your own vegetable patch

Five steps for starting your own vegetable patch

Want to grow your own veg but not sure how to get started? Check out our beginner’s guide and you could be reaping the fruits (or, rather, veggies) of your labour before summer starts.

Want to grow your own veg but not sure how to get started? Check out our beginner’s guide and you could be reaping the fruits (or, rather, veggies) of your labour before summer starts.

Growing and eating your own vegetables is one of life’s true pleasures. It’s healthier, tastier, cheaper and better for the environment than if you buy your produce from the supermarket.

It can be hard work, and it takes patience, but to know your vegetables have gone from patch to plate is so rewarding.

Read on for a beginner’s guide on how to get started…

1. Get the right kit

You don’t need to buy anything extravagant to create a veggie patch: all you need is a spade to dig the earth, a hoe to help clear weeds and shape the soil, and a rake to break down and even out the soil.

You might also want to consider buying a compost bin and wheelbarrow, so you can start making your own compost from food waste, and transfer it over to your veggie patch. Another good idea is to buy a rain barrel, so you can keep your veggies watered with chlorine-free water.

Make sure you’ve got some comfy clothes you don’t mind getting muddy and a good pair of garden boots, too. And to help you clean up any dirt brought indoors, use Flash Ultra Power Wipes, which remove up to 100% of dirt, grease and grime. That way, you can clean up the muck and throw the wipe away, so you won’t contaminate your cleaning cloths with outdoor germs.

2. Find the perfect spot

Vegetables are a bit like Brits abroad: they love to sunbathe! So the perfect spot for your veggie patch is in a sunny spot, but also one that is sheltered from the wind by a low fence or wall.

3. Clear the ground and sort your soil

If your prospective patch is covered in grass, dig it up but don’t waste the turf. Flip it over and stack it out of the way, where it will break down into top soil, perfect for using on your patch down the line.

Clear the area of any weeds, and improve thin or clay-heavy top soil with a couple of inches of compost. Work this into the earth until it reaches about six inches deep.

If your top soil is thin, you may need to raise your patch, so will need to line the edges with railway sleepers.

4. Divide and conquer

It’s time to plan your veggie patch, as certain vegetables have different needs and growth space, so they don’t grow well together.

If you want a relatively comprehensive patch, it’s best to divide it into at least four sections. One for root vegetables, one for legumes, one for salad leaves and herbs, and one for anything else, such as courgettes, sweetcorn, asparagus and leafy greens. Divide the sections using trodden earth, shingle or a brick boundary that’s at least 30 inches wide.

Keep track of what you’ve planted where by drawing an outline of the patch and layering it with tracing paper. Note your veggies on the tracing paper, and layer the map with more noted paper as you plant more seeds.

Each year, you should rotate your veggies to reduce a build-up of crop-related pests and diseases.

5. Decide what you want to plant

This largely comes down to what you want to eat! For beginners, quick and easy producers include: herbs such as parsley, basil, chives and mint; leafy greens such as kale, chard and spinach; courgettes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, climbing beans, peas and broad beans, carrots, beetroots, asparagus and potatoes.

For advice on growing specific vegetables, and for further gardening tips, check out the Royal Horticultural Society website.

Good luck! And let us know how you get on in the comments section below.

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