Many of us are turning to growing our own vegetables during this extra time we have at home. Reports have shown a massive increase in the sales of seeds and compost and seed potatoes have been flying off the shelves.
Growing your own food is incredibly satisfying and a fun activity to do when you have some time, but it’s a good idea to follow a bit of advice so that you don’t end up with nothing to show for your efforts!
Getting hold of seeds and compost isn’t easy at the moment but some supermarkets sell both and you can also support your local businesses by buying online from them.
6 simple tips for getting started
- If you are able to create a veg patch in your garden, it will need digging over well. Remove as many stones as you can. If you can get some compost – give it a good layer. Some manure in the form of composted horse manure or pelleted chicken manure would all enhance the quality of the crops.
- Don’t start planting just yet, you have to put the seeds in at the right time of year, otherwise they simply won’t grow. Always read the seed packets for the time of year to put them in. Some may require a greenhouse or on a warm windowsill until they have reached a reasonable size. The packet will also say how far apart each needs to be once you are ready for planting.
- Broad beans and French beans can go in now and can be put in anywhere. They are very easy to grow, don’t take up a lot of space and mature quickly. You could even get these started in pots if you don’t have ground space.
- You can start some courgettes or cucumbers off now in grow bags. Later, you can also grow some tomatoes in grow bags too.
- In May you can put your runner beans in – if you have a few canes or even a net against a fence, you can encourage your beans to grow up them.
- Slugs and snails are absolutely rampant at the moment and love any new and tasty little shoots so they need controlling. Slug pellets are not a good idea as they are bad for birds and other animals. Simply picking them off plants every day would be effective, if you are vigilant. Some people try egg shells, gravel or copper bands to protect their plants too.
No garden – no problem:
Things like lettuces, radishes and herbs can easily be grown in a window box and are perfect for beginners.
You can even grow potatoes in a bag for life, if you have a balcony. Fill it with compost and put some holes in it for drainage and remember to keep it watered.
We’ll have more tips for small gardens soon!
This is basic advice for those looking to have a go over the coming weeks or to spark your interest. If you want to take vegetable growing more seriously, it might be worth getting some more in-depth advice from the likes of:
The National Allotment Society https://www.nsalg.org.uk/growing-advice/
or the RHS https://www.rhs.org.uk/Advice/Grow-Your-Own/