Gardening > Planning Your Veg Garden

Planning Your Veg Garden


© Sibrikov

You don't need acres of land to keep a family in fresh vegetables for a good part of the year. You do need a suitable plot carefully prepared, commitment, favourable weather and a good crop plan.

A plot of about 30 x 10 feet makes a very good starter vegetable garden. It isn't a good idea to be too ambitious at first by maybe taking on an allotment in addition to your own garden. It is far better to have an initial modest success than to take on far too much before learning the basics.

Make sure your plot is in a sunny position, not overhung by large trees which will create too much shade. It is worth remembering that tree and hedge roots take a lot of moisture from the soil so again it is better not to site your vegetable plot near large trees and hedges. If you wish to screen the vegetable plot from the flower garden a hedge of cordon apples or currants or raspberries can be productive solutions.

The vegetable plot needs a good solid concrete or block path leading to and through it. If the plot is a large one it can be intersected with more paths. It is best to site the greenhouse (if you decide to have one) and the compost heap conveniently near the vegetable plot.

Dig the plot over in the Autumn and the soil will be settled by the Spring when the first seeds are sown. Before sowing the seeds lightly rake the soil over to create a fine tilth. Choose a day when the soil is not wet and sticky. Sow the seeds according to type and the instructions on the packet. Cloches and or fleece can be used to cover the soil and thus warm it up. The raised temperature speeds up germination.

It is essential to plan where the different vegetables will be planted. Rotation for future years must also be taken into account. This will ensure the long term health of your crops. Remember, as well, when choosing seeds and deciding how much space to allot to each vegetable, to take into account what your family will actually eat. It is no good growing pounds of tomatoes if nobody likes them!

Catch cropping helps to make use of every bit of space, putting all of your plot to work the whole year long. A good example of this is to lift early potatoes in July and in their place plant hardy, winter lettuce that will be cut next April to May making way for the runner beans to be sown.

Another good tip for making the most of available soil and increasing your range of vegetables is intercropping. This consists of using the soil around slow-growing crops such as Brussels sprouts or winter cabbage to sow a few rows of radish or lettuce which can be quickly harvested.

When you tuck into your first homegrown vegetables you'll be hooked, especially since a trip to the green grocers is no longer a cheap experience. Feeding your family is a very empowering thing to do and who knows, in these uncertain times this skill may became essential.