The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Your own Vegetables

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There’s never been a better time for edible gardening. It saves money, saves the planet and is an opportunity to grow more interesting flavours than you’ll find down supermarket aisles.

Sales of seeds and plants are soaring and planting a vegetable garden means you can slash your food bill while eating healthier.

So, fancy tasting a bit of the Good Life yourself but not sure how to go about it? Here’s everything you need to know to get started.

Will I have enough space?

Yes, it’s perfectly possible to grow vegetables in anything from a window box to a raised bed (a 4ft x 4ft bed is perfect).

Veg plot essentials:

  • Spade
  • Fork
  • Secateurs
  • Hoe
  • Trowel or hand fork
  • Watering can or hosepipe
  • Boots and gardening gloves

Plot your plot

Locate your veg plot in your garden’s sunniest patch for bountiful, disease-resistant crops that yield sweeter onions, carrots and tomatoes. You’ll get the best results from a growing patch which gets at least five hours of sun a day.

Plotting your patch away from other plants helps deter slugs and snails that can slither out of bushes and plants to munch away at your buffet.

Most ordinary garden soil is fine for growing vegetables, but shallow soil (not as deep as your spade’s blade) and soil filled with stones is best avoided. Instead, build raised beds or grow your veg in large pots.

Get ready to grow

Decide whether you’re going to grow from seeds or from plug plants bought from a garden centre. It’s easier and less risky to buy young plants but it’s more fun to experiment with growing seeds inside your home before transferring seedlings outside. Carrots, celeriac and lettuce are good vegetables to grow first.

Only grow what you really like and ignore anything that’s too difficult to grow or too big for your space. If you particularly enjoy the larger vegetables consider dwarf varieties such as dwarf leeks and aubergines.

Manicure your plot

Give your patch a good digging to break up the soil and pull out weeds and their roots as you dig. Dig down to at least one spade depth and remove any stones. If your soil is shallow, you can deepen it by piling compost on top. Digging in a good load of compost will improve the quality of your soil.

Only prepare the ground that you’re going to plant up – weeds will soon cover bare ground and ruin your hard work.

Don’t cramp your plants

Plants hate being crowded and will be weak and small if they haven’t got enough space. Leave about 20cm around a row of salad leaves, 35cm around a row of carrots, 45cm around a row of beans and 75-100cm around each courgette plant. Don’t forget to give your beans something to climb like garden stakes or trellis and plant them next to a house or garden wall.

Bring the outdoors inside

Not everything needs to be planted outside and plants like basil will be much happier growing indoors. It also pays to start off tender seedlings in pots indoors ready to sow direct in the warmer summer months.

Sow this month:

  • Cabbages, cauliflower, sprouts and broccoli
  • Chillies, peppers and cucumbers
  • Courgettes, pumpkins and other squashes
  • Leaf vegetables
  • French and runner beans
  • Peas and sweetcorn
  • Root vegetables
  • Lettuces and other salad crops

Tend to your patch well and in several weeks you’ll be eating your own freshly picked veg.

Discover more money saving garden hacks to try this spring.

This article was provided by First Utility, the UK’s largest and fastest growing independent energy supplier. We put our energy into saving you money and we pulled together this handy guide to encourage you to grow your own vegetables to grow your bank balance. Discover more ways to save by visiting the First Utility blog for money saving tips.

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