I’d like you to imagine for a minute…sitting down to a meal you’ve just made, using vegetables freshly picked from your garden only moments before…No need to drive down to the supermarket, no unnecessary sprays, simply fresh produce at your fingertips!
For some people, the thought of starting a vegetable garden is incredibly daunting, while for others it comes naturally. Wherever you are on the spectrum, in this article I’ll be sharing 5 top tips to successfully grow your own vegetables at home.
Before we start, it’s important to keep in mind the three elements that plants need to survive (yes, I’m sending your mind back to high school biology class!):
In the garden, if you keep this ‘perfect trifecta’ in mind, you’ll find it a lot easier to make decisions and give your vegetable plants the best possible chance of success.
Top Vegetable Gardening Tips:
1. Location, Location, Location
Planning is important when it comes to deciding on where to situate your vegetable garden. There are two main things to consider:
- Sunlight – As we’ve just learned, sunlight is vital for plants to grow. You want to aim for a minimum of 6-8hrs of full sunlight in your garden every day. So choose the sunniest spot to situate your veggie garden.
- Proximity to the House – The last thing you want to do when you’re halfway through cooking dinner, is to traipse 100m to your veggie garden for some herbs. So think about how accessible your garden is and whether this will impact how and if you’ll use it.
The French plant kitchen gardens called potagers (translating to “for the soup pot”). These are situated right by the house and are designed to be both practical and beautiful. This ensures the garden’s bounty will be enjoyed all year round. You can read more about potager gardens here.
2. Soil is EVERYTHING!
This is one of the most common reasons why a garden will fail – vegetables NEED good soil to flourish.
Soil teeming with worms and micro nutrients will always thrive over a garden planted in dirt. So investing in good soil from the outset is the best thing you can do when starting a vegetable garden.
For in-ground beds where the soil isn’t too bad, simply mix through a good amount of quality compost (aim for a ratio of 50/50 existing garden soil to compost).
For raised garden beds you have a great opportunity to determine the soil composition from the outset. As a rule of thumb, mix through a ratio of 50/50 potting mix (or better yet, vegetable raising mix) to compost.
Before each new planting season, you’ll need to replenish the nutrients in the soil by mixing through a fresh layer of compost. The reason being, plants from the previous season would’ve already absorbed the majority of nutrients from the soil.
Purchasing compost each season can be costly so why not consider starting your own home composting system or bokashi bin? For a complete guide on how to do it, check out my article on Bokashi vs Compost
3. Ensure Water’s Close at Hand
Once new seedlings have been planted they’ll need watering every 2-3 days. It’s important therefore to plan your garden so you have easy access to a water source. It’s worthwhile investing in the best garden hose to save lugging a watering can back and forth from a tap!
4. Plant What You Will Eat
This might sound obvious but you’ll be surprised at how many people plant vegetables they don’t end up eating!
When deciding which vegetables to grow, choose your favourites as a starting point then make sure you’re planting in season.
Herbs are also a great addition as they are easy to grow. Even if you don’t think you’ll use them, herbs make great companion plants and their flowers attract beneficial insects into your garden.
5. Don’t give up
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again! In the garden, every failed attempt is an opportunity to look at what you did and consider what you can do differently next time.
Seasoned gardeners are constantly learning in the garden so don’t worry, you’re not alone. And if nothing else, those useless plants make good compost!
Nothing beats the satisfaction of growing your own vegetables. Between sprays and scarcity, now more than ever it’s important to know where our food is coming from. The easiest way to do this is to grow our own. The key is to simply ‘start somewhere!’ No matter how small (even if it’s a few pots to start with) I hope you’re inspired to begin your growing journey.
I sincerely believe that everyone can grow their own food – whether it’s a few herb pots, a potager or a full garden plot. We just need to start somewhere! In doing so, we can provide healthier food for ourselves and those we love.
I’d love you to join me at The Potager Project, a modern beginner vegetable gardening blog, as we go on this edible food journey together! Gabrielle x
It was a pleasure to have Gabrielle post all about growing your own food, thanks Gabrielle!