For gardeners, it doesn’t get much better than eating food you’ve grown yourself – fresh tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, or peas straight from the pod onto your plate. And no matter how small your garden is, it’s still possible to have the fun of growing your own food. Here are our top tips on how to make your own vegetable garden.
How to prepare your vegetable garden
Before you splash out on seeds and seedlings, you’ll need to decide where your vegetable garden is going to be. If you can, choose a spot that gets at least 5 or 6 hours of sunlight during the day, as most vegetables need sunshine to grow and ripen. However, if your garden is shady, it doesn’t mean you can’t grow vegetables, just that you’ll need to be more careful in what you choose to grow.
Make your vegetable beds no wider than 1.2m (4ft), so that you can reach the middle of the bed from the sides without having to walk on the soil. Allow space for pathways between beds, with enough space for a wheelbarrow to pass.
Clear the soil of all weeds and stones, and dig in lots of organic matter (e.g. compost or leaf mould) to improve the soil structure. Once you’ve dug the soil over, tread it down gently with your feet to firm it and get it roughly level, then rake the surface so that you end up with a level bed filled with friable (crumbly) soil.
What to plant in a vegetable garden
The most important rule when deciding what vegetables to grow is first to consider what you enjoy eating. There’s no point growing vegetables you don’t like. Then you need to look at your garden’s conditions, how much sun or shade there is and what the soil is like, to see which vegetables will grow best. Listed below are a few good veggie choices for tricky conditions:
3 vegetables for heavy clay soils:
- Green beans
3 vegetables for sandy soils
3 vegetables for shady gardens
Growing vegetables in small spaces
If you don’t have space for vegetable beds, don’t worry. Many vegetables, including tomatoes, beans, lettuce, carrots and even potatoes are easy to grow in pots or grow bags on a patio or balcony. Try bush cherry tomato varieties ‘Tumbling Tom’ and ‘Balconi’, dwarf runner bean ‘Hestia’ and dwarf purple French bean ‘Amethyst’ for a prolific harvest throughout the summer months.
If you’ve always wanted to grow your own vegetables, now’s the perfect time to start. We have everything you need to get you going, from seeds and plants to help and advice, so come on in and see what’s in store!