How to grow a veggie patch
26 May 2014 7:29 AM
Posted by hh's Anna Bradley
A beginner’s guide to growing your own vegetables.
It’s easy to head to the supermarket and pick up the vegetables you need for the week, however there is something extremely satisfying about using produce that you’ve grown yourself. Here are some tips for starting a vegetable patch, so you’ll always have fresh ingredients at your fingertips.
Pick a sunny position, close to a water source
Ideally, vegetables need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight a day so you’ll need an open space away from objects that could cast shade over your veggie patch. Also, vegetables require a lot of water. To make it easier on yourself, pick a spot to plant your garden that is close to a hose or tap so you don’t need to go back and forth when it comes to watering.
Decide on the type of bed and prepare the soil
Are you going to plant your vegetables altogether in one large bed or separately in a few different beds? If you decide to plant your vegetables together, you’ll need to make sure the plot is not too wide that it restricts your ability to reach and harvest the produce. You’ll also have to decide if you want a raised bed or an in-ground bed.
For a raised bed – on an existing patch of grass, build a square or rectangle using wide pieces of wood. Spread a couple of layers of newspaper on the bottom and add soil and a generous amount of compost on top.
For an in-ground bed – section off a plot of soil with wide planks of wood and add compost to the soil.
hh tip: your soil should be the consistency of a crumbled cake when you pick it up. In order to achieve this, rake the top of your soil once you’ve added compost then water generously. Leave for one week before planting seeds.
Select and plant vegetables
If you’ve never grown a veggie patch before, start with just a few vegetables that you use the most, such as tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. You can add to your vegetable patch once you’ve got the hang of it. Follow the instructions on each seed packet when planting your seeds.
hh tip: if you want to create a veggie patch that is an aesthetic asset to your garden, you can plant flowers around your vegetables as well, just make sure they’re sun-loving flowers.
You will need to keep an eye on weeds in your vegetable patch as they can absorb the nutrients in the soil and potentially overrun your garden. To discourage the growth of weeds, regularly cultivate the soil by disturbing the top layer either with your hands or with a garden hoe.
You will also need to keep pests under control so they don’t eat your vegetables before you do. You can plant insect-deterring herbs among your vegetables to avoid using chemical sprays.
Enjoy your fresh produce
Harvesting your vegetables actually encourages further growth in the plant. The more you pick, the more the plant grows and continues to produce. A little preparation will give you an endless supply of delicious ingredients to cook with – all from your own garden!