The Beginner’s Vegetable Plot

There’s something magnificent about being able to grow your own vegetables. While there are a few new skills and knowledge to learn, it’s not as tricky as many people think. 

Not only that, when you taste freshly harvested fruit and vegetables, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try growing your own before. 

Learning About Gardening
If you’re a complete novice when it comes to gardening or growing vegetables, don’t worry. There is plenty of advice and guidance online nowadays and you can find an article or video for practically any issue if you do a simple search. We suggest that you make your laptop, smartphone or tablet your gardening resource. After all, it’s free.

Preparing Your Garden Space
The first thing you will need to do is prepare your plot. If your garden is paved over, don’t despair. You won’t have to dig everything up. You can just as easily use pots or even create a raised plant bed – most DIY stores such as B&Q or Homebase sell these relatively cheaply.

If you do have border or open spaces of soil, ideally you want a spot where there is a decent amount of sunshine. The first thing you need to do is clear this of any weeds and then give the ground a good dig over to break up the soil. 

Every area has different types of soil and some are better for growing than others. If the soil is like clay you will need to add some horticultural grit to help break it up and make it easier to plant. If it’s sandy, adding plenty of compost from your local garden centre will make it more fertile. 

What to Sow in Your Vegetable Plot
The next thing is to decide what you want to grow. This may depend on the size of your plot and your own personal preferences, the good news is you can get seeds for practically anything nowadays. If you want a plant that keeps producing during the summer then go for tomatoes, squash or peppers. If you are a complete beginner, you can buy these online already starting to grow in their pots. 

Our advice is to go for just one or two vegetables if you are a starter and pick easy to manage varieties. Each plant will have its own set of rules to follow – carrots simply go straight in the ground and then get pulled up, while peas need to be trained over some sort of framework. 

Protecting and Looking After Your Plants
Unfortunately, you are not the only one keen to see what’s developing on your vegetable patch. There are various slugs, snails, greenfly and birds that will take a liking to your crops and you need to be vigilant. Solutions range from mesh coverings to natural slug control.
 
Your plants will also need feeding and watering at various times of the year and much will depend on the varieties that you are growing, especially if there’s a dry summer and not much rain. Make sure you research your crop properly so that you know when you need to add a little feed and how to keep an eye out for problems.

Our Top Five Tips 
1.    The soil for your vegetable garden is really important because it provides all the nutrients for your plants. Make sure this is the best quality you can make it and get advice from your garden centre if you are not sure. 

2.    When you plant vegetable shoots or sow the seeds, don’t cram them together – give each plant plenty of room. 

3.    If you have only a small amount of space, opt for climbing plants if you want to increase yields. These include peas, squash, tomatoes and melons. 

4.    Plant your crops at the right time. Different vegetables should be sown or planted at different periods throughout the Spring and early Summer. Get to know your planting times before you start your garden.

5.    Finally, if you are an absolute beginner, keep things small for the first year. You can always expand next year once you’ve learned the ropes. 

The good news is vegetable gardening can become a passion and it won’t be long before you’re the talk of the neighbourhood and impressing friend and family with your latest crop. 

Useful Links
Starting a Vegetable Garden From Scratch 
Preparing a Raised Plant Bed
 
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