Many people like the idea of getting into growing vegetables, but don’t know where to start. This article is a starting point to show you how to start growing vegetables, and hopefully show you that it shouldn’t be too overwhelming.
Make The Most of Your Space
You might have only a small vegetable garden, maybe a few square meters, but that is ideal to start. Even if you have a paved yard, you can set down pots or raised beds filled with compost. You can scale up when ready. Lots of gardeners like to grow their leeks in deep pots.
Don’t worry if you don’t have too much space and remember, small is beautiful. Cultivate a small plot, but do it exceptionally well. This way, you will be able to manage your plot and feel motivated to continue. People often start with too much space, which can be overwhelming, and the reason many people give up.
Take Advice and Be Keen to Learn
Many people make the mistake of thinking that there is not much to learn in gardening. But good gardeners are learning all the time. Never be afraid to reach out to people who are more knowledgable on the subject. There’s plenty of great books out there as well as other online resources.
Just hoeing is not enough for some weeds, because the root survives, so you must begin by uprooting them. You can do this by digging them up or by using a garden claw, which you twist in the soil around the weed until its roots get weakened. Cutting grass is not enough, as it grows again from just above the root, so you need to uproot it.
It’s not uncommon for vegetables to dislike any opposite, onions are a good example of these. Light, regular hoeing between rows of peas and beans will help you keep weeds down.
Dig your plot up to a spade’s depth. Then hoe it until it has become a fine tilth (refers to the physical condition of soil for cultivation), which is a soft soil in which plants grow easily. Alternatively, if you are using raised beds, pour or shovel in compost and then use your hoe to make it into a tilth. You would do this if you were using the no dig method.
Make Sure That You Feed Your Soil
The soil feeds the plants, and the plants feed you. Use a good multi-purpose compost to begin. Then you need to lay down a base dressing ahead of planting. This could be pelleted chicken manure. When you lay this down, make sure that you water the soil to help the pellets break down. A few weeks after planting, give the plants a top dressing, which is another application of fertilizer. Seaweed meal is really good. Do not apply fresh manure to crops, it has to be well-rotted, or the plants will scorch. Potatoes, tomatoes, and rhubarb are good examples of vegetables that love manure.
A quick watering only moistens the top layers, but a good soaking once every few days gets water down to the deeper roots. You should have a watering can with more than one “rose” because for seedlings a fine spray is preferable, as the heavier spray can damage them. It is possible to over-water plants, which then can drown because plants absorb oxygen through their roots, and so too much water around the roots is fatal. Some vegetables such as cabbages and lettuce enjoy a good watering.
Get The Right Soil Depth
Some salad vegetables need only a few inches of soil, but root crops, such as potatoes and carrots, require more depth. Potatoes need to be covered over by at least a spade’s depth of soil. Having more depth than you need is better than having less. When it’s frosty “earth up” potatoes by banking up the soil to the leaf level.
Don’t plant seeds too deeply. There is a basic rule, the smaller the seed, the shallower it is to be planted. Tiny seeds should be laid in shallow soil then covered over with a fine layer of compost or sand. Peas and beans can go into deeper soil.
Firm Seeds In
When you plant seedlings ensure that you firm them in and then water them. To firm in, ensure that you press down the soil around the stem. Gently water the soil around the stem.
- Tall plants such as peas and beans need support. Use canes, to begin with
- Keep an eye out for pests. Get to know the pests that beset the plants you grow and the measures you need to take.
- Put nets on your cabbages to protect against birds.
- Get a good range of tools, including a spade, shovel, fork, hoe, rake, trowel, watering can and secateurs and maintain them well.