If you’ve ever thought of starting a vegetable garden from scratch then start with this article. It will tell you everything you need to know about starting your first veg plot.
Is your back garden just a waste of space or do you have a few square feet with potential? Are you past the stage of needing a big lawn for football and could you reclaim some of it for vegetable beds? If none of this applies, are there some allotments nearby, or, as a starting point, do you have room for a few big pots on a terrace, balcony or window ledge?
There are few more balancing and rewarding ways to spend an hour or two a week than growing even a few of your own vegetables. Let this be the year when you start to grow your own – it will then almost certainly become a lifetime’s habit.
Over the years I’ve been growing veg, certain plants and varieties have emerged clearly as front runners in the time/reward ratio. They are quick and easy to grow, so that with little or no gardening experience, they still do well and go on to form the basis of hundreds of free and delicious meals over the next few months with very little sweat. This exercise is not about growing every single edible plant you and your family eat.
You should continue to buy the things that are tricky, or need too much TLC (such as red peppers and aubergines), or that take up tons of room for months at a stretch and then only give you a minimal harvest (eg Brussels sprouts, maincrop potatoes and parsnips). These are the crops of the devoted, almost full-time veg grower with lots of space – not high-priority plants for those of us who prefer to dip in and out of a vegetable patch, with almost instant rewards and abundant, self-perpetuating harvests.
The key here is to choose as many cut-and-come-again plants as possible, from which you can harvest on a Monday for supper and, by the following Monday, more will have grown back for you to eat.