Nothing tastes sweeter than fruit and veg grown by your very own hands. Getting out in the garden is also a great way to get some much-needed vitamin D, improve your skills and relieve stress. And it doesn’t matter what space you have, you can grow produce just about anywhere. So whether you have the perfect patch outside or a sunny spot on the windowsill, discover all the ways you can grow the freshest fruit and veg you've ever tasted.
Pick your patch
If you are looking to grow outside opt for a sheltered, sunny spot. Get the soil ready to plant by getting rid of any weeds. Add good quality compost and rake over so it’s nice and level. No garden? No problem. You don’t need a big outdoor patch to grow. Strawberries for example can be grown in hanging or wall planters, and certain herbs thrive in smaller pots indoors.
Cold frames help to create a warmer climate protecting your crops from cold and wind and encouraging them to grow. Frames can be used to extend the growing season meaning it's possible to harvest vegetables ahead of their normal season. They are perfect for things like lettuces, parsley, salad onions, spinach, radishes and turnips.
Create a stylish focal point by mixing and matching pots of different sizes, heights and colours on an outdoor shelf ladder. There are many vegetables that thrive in pots. Beans, beetroot, chard, kale, onions, radishes, tomatoes and sweet peppers to name a few. Bear in mind that some veg will need more room to grow than others so always make sure you have allowed enough space above the pot.
Keep your kitchen supplied with beautiful fresh herbs all year round. From basil to top homemade pizza and pasta, to thyme for your Sunday roast, windowsill pots are the place where herbs will thrive.
For best results plant each herb in a separate pot, this will not only give them room to grow but it will also allow you to water each crop as and when they need.
The right tools for the job
It goes without saying that having the right garden tools will make your life easier. There are a whole host of handheld tools that will help you to plant and harvest your veg. From compost scoops and dibbers to bulb planters and trusty secateurs. It’s also important to consider protective accessories. An apron and a pair of sturdy garden gloves are essential, but it might also be worth getting a kneeling pad to protect your knees if you have low planters and beds. Another great addition if you have space is a water butt. Not only are they great for the environment, but they give you a natural supply of fresh water for your garden.
Knowing your onions
So you’ve got your patch ready and you have all the tools you need. Next you need to decide what you actually want to grow. While it’s a good idea to go with what you like to eat, it’s also worth starting with veg that requires little maintenance and will be ready to harvest quickly. Things like courgettes, beans, beetroot, rocket, radish and potatoes are all great for beginners.
Knowing exactly when to start sowing your seeds is also essential. If you want fresh greens ready for early spring, you can sow or raise plants indoors early in the year and plant them outside when they are ready and the weather gets warmer. The main growing season starts in spring and you can sow seeds all the way through to late summer depending on the crop.
Don’t forget to protect your veg from slugs and snails by using physical barriers like copper tape. Always give plants plenty of water and if they start bending over as they grow, add in a stake to support. So there you have it, a quick beginner's guide on how to start your own veg patch, happy growing!