Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Vol 6: Vegetable Growing

Vegetable Growing

Growing vegetables is one of the most rewarding things to do, is it productive yet relaxing garden therapy. Leaving you with a fantastic produce that is healthy and the whole family can enjoy! Here are a few tips on growing veg for all you veggie newbie’s!

From lettuce to carrots and carrot to cabbages the vegetable possibilities are endless! Fruits are also a fantastic addition to the table and so easy to grow!

  1. Starting your vegetable garden is easy. It must be well fertilised (natural is better) this is to ensure that your soil is the best quality and the plants have food to eat. (Refer to Vol 2:Compost)

  1. Researching your vegetables is important; ensure you have a vegetable that will thrive in the conditions of your garden and your soil. This will help ensure that your produce is as successful as possible. You can find this information in books or online.

  1. Testing your soil to find plants that will thrive can be done using home soil testing kit, alternatively you can send soil samples off in the post.

  1. Seedlings will benefit from a helping hand, a green house or planting tunnel will help protect them from pests, harmful sunrays and bad weather. If you do not have a greenhouse you can buy smaller plant incubators that range from £20-£100.

  1. Vegetables should be planted close together; this reduces water waste and allows compost to be targeted directly at the plants. Raised beds will help prevent people walking on the soil and damaging the produce and deter pests.

  1. Soaking seeds before germination helps speed the process along, its helps to replenish seeds with all the moisture they require meaning it doesn’t have to be soaked through the soil. Research the type of seed to check if they require soaking, if so leave the seedlings in a bath of room temperature water for a few hours.

  1. A great trick when planting seedlings is to recycle the tube from toilet roll. Once planted place the toilet roll over the seeding and push down to help protect from underground and surface attacks.

  1. Keeping weeds under control is important (See Vol: 3), however it is even more important around your vegetables. Weeds take up water and nutrients and prevent your vegetable plants absorbing effectively. Using newspaper covered with straw in between plants will help prevent weeds although this should be continuously monitored. It will also help prevent sunlight evaporating water to keep soil moist and pests away.

  1. Harvesting your vegetables when they are just ripening is the perfect time, this way they can ripen further once picked and new produce can grow creating a continuous flow throughout the season.

  1. You may be thinking that vegetables are a summer thing but they can also thrive in the winter too, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, winter lettuce and rhubarb are all great examples on winter veg. (Stay tuned for Vol:9 Winter Veg)
Growing your own vegetables is the perfect way to get your organic 5 a day for budget prices; it is much easier and cheaper to pluck fresh produce from your garden rather that head down to the shop and pay a fortune for overripe fruit and vegetables. Seasonal veg also means that you’re cooking wont get boring as there will always be something different ready for the picking. A family favourite of ours is fresh rhubarb jelly, easy, healthy and delicious.

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