Since the first seed catalogue was published in 1855, Thompson & Morgan has grown to become one of the UK’s largest Mail Order Seed and Plant companies. Through the publication of our catalogues and the operation of our award-winning website, Thompson & Morgan is able to provide home gardeners with the very best quality products money can buy.
We all know how tasty fresh vegetables are in meals and salads. However, no matter how well you seem to time your visits to the grocery store, finding the freshest of produce is mostly by sheer luck. Growing your own vegetables gives you a break from grocery store trips while ensuring that you enjoy the freshest of veggies grown organically all year around.
Besides that, gardening is a rewarding task that brings a lot of good to your life. Being around greenery calms the mind, which alleviates signs of stress and anxiety. Additionally, gardening provides a perfect escape from the daily hustles of life, which allows you the break necessary to keep yourself balanced. While it can feel daunting at first, growing your own vegetables isn’t that hard. Here are some tips to get you started.
Getting a good harvest from your vegetable garden depends on how well you provided the right conditions for healthy growth. And, providing the right conditions starts with picking the right location for your garden. Here are some guidelines for you:
Light is a necessity for the growth of any plant, and most vegetables do well when exposed to about 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight. You need to pick a place in your garden that receives sun for the most part of the day. However, this is not to say that you can’t start a vegetable garden if you don’t have a backyard. You can grow some vegetables and culinary herbs indoors or in a window box, and still enjoy a good harvest. If you have a southern or western-facing window, that should be the location of your garden as such windows let in a considerable amount of sunlight.
However, if your house is limited in terms of light, you can grow your plants under grow lights. LED grow lights mimic the sun through technology to ensure that your plants get the full spectrum of the light.
A spot that drains well
When plants sit in soggy soil for too long, they end up having root rot and eventually die. In this case, you need a place that drains well and is not prone to floods. You also want it levelled well to avoid soil erosion.
If you don’t have such a space in your garden, consider planting your vegetables in raised soil beds. If you are growing them indoors, go for the potting mix that drains well and pots that have holes at the bottom.
When you think about how much money you spend on vegetables, you can easily be enticed to grow every vegetable that you see in the grocery store. However, it is good to start with a few and continue adding more as you perfect your gardening skills. But before you get to decide which vegetables to grow, you need to consider the weather in your area first. If you live in a place that is mostly hot, vegetables that prefer a cooler climate might not do too well. Make sure that you do your research thoroughly.
A good guide on the vegetables that you can start with is in your meals timetable. Consider growing the vegetables that you spend the most money on. It would be a waste of time and resources growing vegetables that are rarely used in your kitchen unless you are doing it as a business.
3. Have the necessities ready
Before you start growing your vegetables, you need to ensure that you have everything that you need throughout the process. For starters, you need the right tools to prepare the soil for planting. Such tools include a trowel, shovel, and garden rake. You also need a watering can, hose or sprinkler for watering your plants.
If you are growing them on the windowsill indoors, you need to have pots, potting mix, and trays to place the pots on. You also need a small watering can as well.
Whether you are growing your vegetables indoors or outside, you need high-quality seeds or seedlings. Be sure to get them from a reliable supplier.
Most seed packets come with instructions on how to prepare the soil for planting and how you should plant them. Otherwise, ensure that you dig down your soil to loosen it. Next, remove all the weeds and apply fertilizer. Next, make small troughs in the soil to put in the seeds. If you have an indoor garden, you can use your hand to make troughs. In addition, ensure that you are using a rich soil mixture.
However, you need to make a few considerations when planning your garden. For instance, if you are growing tall vegetables such as sweet corn and pole or runner beans, you need to put them in the farthest part of the garden to avoid shading the shorter plants.
Likewise, plants that don’t like a lot of sun should take the shadier part of the garden. You should also consider staggering plantings by a few weeks if you want a constant supply. This way, you have another lot coming up after every harvest.
Vegetables require regular care. If you are to grow your vegetables successfully, you must be prepared to put in the work in taking care of your plants. Ensure that you are weeding, pruning, and watering your veggies as required – but with proper care and attention you can enjoy the flavour of your own home grown crops.
Since I was a kid, I always found myself in the kitchen whenever there was something cooking. Even though none from the family was occupied with cooking as a profession, my mother was very fond of cooking and baking. She actually was the one that sparked my motivation and love for the kitchen. I grew up believing that the dinner table is that safe bubble for the family after long and dynamic days, my mother’s meals always brought us together. Seeing that, my parents got me into cooking classes which made me fall even more in love with it. I continued to chase this dream of mine through the years. I’ve been working with a local restaurant for 4 years now, as I am also about to finish my culinary studies. There’s nothing that makes me more happy than seeing people who put in practice and enjoy my advice. Such, I also take joy in sharing my tips with audiences via guest posting from time to time.
In essence, sustainable gardening is not a new term, but the practice has started gaining traction recently. What gardening sustainably means, what does the process involve, and what makes it so important today?
What is Sustainable Gardening?
It is vital to make one crucial distinction. Cultivating fruits, vegetables, and flowers in your garden without the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers is organic horticulture. When you add care for the environment to this basis, you get what is considered sustainable gardening. Throughout this process, you are minimizing your impact on the environment and encouraging its regeneration.
Sustainable horticulture or gardening does not come with a strict set of rules or a guideline, although it has its tenets. To follow these principles means to adopt and apply certain practices.
Management of garden waste
Gardens generate a regular flow of organic waste that can be put to good use. A hotbin mini composter is a quick and efficient solution that produces compost for use in your garden. Instead of sending your branches to a landfill, create mulch with the help of an electric chipper-shredder and battle weeds in an eco-friendlier way.
Set up a rainwater barrel to collect water that would otherwise evaporate or use drip irrigation and low-angle sprinklers. Also, a sufficiently thick layer of mulch helps the soil retain moisture and structure and improves drainage.
Eliminate the use of fossil-fuel tools and appliances
You can reduce your ecological footprint by using electric tools only when necessary. Or, you can keep your tools close to the place where you use them. In case you need to pack the toolshed for relocation closer to your farm or allotment, make tools and other equipment ready to go by preparing them carefully. This involves cleaning the tools and removing any oil or fuel they might contain.
Dedicate to garden maintenance and design
Take the time to plan and design your garden. Battling garden pests and diseases is easy if you plant natural repellents such as rosemary or plants that attract useful insects.
Once you get familiar with the ways it can reduce your impact on the environment, you realize how powerful it is.
Captures atmospheric carbon
Instead of burning plant-based waste and releasing carbon back to the atmosphere, it is much better to turn it into compost or mulch. Sustainable horticulture captures atmospheric carbon and locks it in the form of stable humus, sequestering it in the ground.
Sustainable gardening preserves the biodiversity of native plants and wildlife
Native plants are well adjusted to local climate factors, soil properties, as well as typical pests. By planting various vegetables native to the region, you are helping preserve their genetic diversity. If you desire to grow exotic plants and show off your garden, think twice. You might be introducing an invasive species or attract a host of new pests or diseases your plants are unaccustomed to.
Also, you might be inadvertently endangering valuable and helpful wildlife. By encouraging wildlife gardening, you help maintain the overall biodiversity of your area and even help your gardening efforts and yields.
Establishing the right mindset for future generations
If you ever stood in front of a market stall looking at fruits and vegetables and wondered why they look so good but lack any natural fragrance, you have likely stumbled upon a realization. Those coming after us may not even know what quality produce tastes and smells like. Through sustainable gardening, we are providing future generations with the means to grow their own healthy sustenance.
Julia Thatcher is a journalist who has dedicated to sustainable horticulture and organic gardening once she got married and moved to a rural area to join her husband. The environmental awareness is strong in this one as much as her love for organic smoothies.
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