Everyone knows that the freshest, healthiest and tastiest vegetables are all homegrown. So why do we continue to pour our money into frozen vegetables when we have the means to grow our own? Starting a vegetable patch can be very easy and, when done correctly, very rewarding too.
Winter is the perfect time to plan your vegetable patch . The first bit of planning you should do is:
- Where do you want to grow your veggies? Whether you wish to start a large vegetable patch or even just a few buckets with choice veggies in them, you must consider the constraints of your growing space. Some vegetables like potatoes or asparagus require a large amount of space and do not like being cramped up with other plants.
- The amount of sun your chosen site gets will also influence what can be grown there. Beans, cucumber and squash all require a lot of sunlight, whereas root vegetables like beets and carrots require far less.
- You should also be mindful of where the shade from surrounding buildings and trees is cast; you don’t want to plant in an area that is bright and sunny in Summer but shady and dark in Winter.
- Some plants like peas and beans like to climb, so if planting these, ensure that they have a surface to climb up.
Next you should consider what you want to grow. This is important because some vegetables do not grow well together, whereas some actually grow better together. Examples of this are:
- Mint will improve the flavour of cabbages. It also improves resistance to pests and disease when planted alongside cabbage, lettuce, and beets.
- Tomatoes do not like being planted near corn or potatoes.
- Similarly beans and peas dislike onions or garlic.
You should therefore research what you want to grow and make sure you aren’t planting vegetables that don’t get along with one another near one another.
Another great idea is to team up with a neighbour or friend, and exchange crops. This ensures that you will get a greater variety of fresh homegrown vegetables.
Next you should take care of the soil you are planting in. This should be done by ensuring the soil has good drainage and is sufficiently dense enough for roots to take hold. Sandy and infertile soil will yield a poor crop, and it is best to provide your vegetables with the best environment in which to grow. A great idea is to add a little natural compost – this will add much needed nitrates to the soil for the plants to absorb.
So what are you waiting for? Get stuck in and make your thumb a little greener!