Starting your own veggie patch can be a daunting task for the first timer - Not knowing what to grow, where to grow or even how to grow can put a lot of people off.
However, with the growing interest in knowing where your food comes from and the increasing need to save money on your shopping bills, the urban veggie patch is becoming extremely popular and there are numerous books, blogs and websites out there that offer lots of advice and top tips for getting you started.
From greenhouses and gardens to balconies and windowsills vegetables can pretty much be grown anywhere - as along as they get enough sunlight, water and a little TLC your veggies with thrive.
So to help you in your green-fingered quest here’s some advice to get you started:
The most important thing to remember when deciding on where you’re going to put your veggie patch is to search for a sunny spot – your seedlings wont like growing in the shade; and on average need around five hours of sunlight a day to get the best results.
After deciding on a patch you’ll need to start preparing your soil - start by digging over it to break up any weeds ; make sure you dig down to remove any roots and stones too. Digging compost into your patch is also important to make sure the soil is as fertile as possible, and if you can dig in some manure even better!
Once your patch is prepared it’s also worth testing your soil - If it’s clay-like you’ll need to dig in some horticultural grit to help with drainage, you don’t want your seedlings to rot before they’ve even started growing. If on the other hand your soil is quite sandy it may just need some extra compost and manure to put some nutrients back into the soil.
Vegetables hate being crowded so make sure you space them evenly and offer your climbers, such as beans, something to grow up, such as a piece of trellis. However, whilst they’ll be happy growing against the side of your house or a garden wall, beans do like to grow up into the sunlight; so even though the base of the plant is happy to be in the shade, the shoots will need the sunlight to get enough nourishment to produce the beans.
When you’ve finally finished your patch you can start sewing your seeds and seedlings, but if you’ve not quite decided what you want to grow, it might be worth downloading the BBC’s ‘Dig In’ growing guide* for a list of vegetables and some handy hints and tips about how and where to grow them.