The easiest way to enjoy vegetables that are chemical-free, inexpensive and as fresh as possible is to grow them yourself. It’s much simpler than you might think and you only need a small patch of earth or a few pots.
Five tips to get you started
- Pick a good spot: find a part of your garden where drainage is good. To check this, water the soil and see if it has drained away the next day. If your plot is by a fence, make sure it’s a spot that still gets the sun.
- Test the soil: the soil should be just slightly acidic. To check the soil pH balance it’s worth buying a cheap soil test kit (they’re easy to use and the kit will tell you what the results mean). Mix in chalk or limestone from your local garden centre if you need to make the soil less acidic.
- Box off your veg patch: use old planks of wood, ideally raised a little higher than the rest of your soil bed.
- Prep your soil: dig over the soil to get rid of weeds, and treat the soil to a good fertilizer.
- Keep it simple at first: start by planting young plants you can nurture and then a couple of rows of veg from seeds – if you start just with seeds you’ll feel a bit deflated waiting for something to appear!
What to grow
Most vegetables are actually pretty easy to grow, but if you’re a novice you may like to pick the ones that are known to score highly in the effort-to-reward ratio.
Salad leaves are great and will save you a fortune on those bagged supermarket numbers. Beans, potatoes, courgettes and tomatoes are all good choices too.
Get more ideas by reading our article on a healthy veg patch made easy.
What not to grow
Vegetables in the cabbage family are prone to pests. Pumpkins can take over a small garden and even experienced gardeners find celery a challenge.
If you haven’t got a garden
You can still grow your supper! Check out the all you can eat windowsill.
So the fruits of your labours are paying off and it’s never been so easy to give your family their five a day. Now you need some recipe ideas to use up all that lovely produce. Check out our healthy soup recipes and brilliant salad dressings.
Do you have any tips on growing veg? Let us know in the comments section below.