There’s something sincerely amazing about planting a tiny seedling, seeing it grow into a healthy friut and then harvesting the produce to be able to feed your household. The feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction is going to leave you beaming, and hopefully those around you, likewise. Sure, you have got to put in a bit of work, but the rewards are worthwhile – you realize you’ll be outside in the fresh air, you’ll be getting some exercise, you’ll be gaining knowledge of something new and taking pleasure in food that has been grown just like you want it to be.
But if the whole thought of growing your own is attractive but would seem just a little hard, it needn’t be. Once you’ve got your ground well prepared, grab yourself several seeds and you will soon be experiencing great tasting home-grown fruit and veg, and asking yourself why you did not start years ago.
Presuming you’re already lucky enough to own your very own plot, be it a council-run allotment or simply a veggie spot in your own backyard, then besides having a few simple bits of supplies, all you’ll need to get things moving is good old-fashioned hard work – and some decent weather conditions wouldn’t go amiss, either!
But before you go rushing off with fork in hand, it’s essential to have a very good planting plan, regardless of whether it’s only provisional, especially if you’re new to this ‘growing your own’ game. You will need to have an idea of what you desire to grow (it’s best to go with things you know family members will eat) and the whats and wherefores of how to go about it. Keep it simple to begin with and when you’ve tasted good results, proceed to even more exciting crops and introduce fruit and veg you fancy growing instead of merely sticking to the more common types. Comply with recommendations on the back of the seed packet for specific growing conditions.
Chances are you’ll need to prepare the ground prior to starting growing. If you put in the groundwork now, you can expect to without a doubt enjoy the benefits, so as you get down to digging, think of the enjoyment you will get when you’re tucking into your own fresh produce. The most important job is to get rid of the weeds as they’ll be fighting your fruit and veg for water, nutrients and space. It’s best to dig them out by hand, getting as much of the root out as possible, as using a rotavator simply chops up the roots. For annual weeds, this doesn’t cause a problem, but for perennial weeds like dandelions, each piece of root can make a new plant, so instead of getting rid of them, you’re just making more!
Once you’ve dug the plot over and got rid of as many weeds as possible, it’s worth adding some well-rotted compost to improve the condition of the soil – this will not only boost the structure but give your seeds and plants a head start. It’s also a good idea to apply a fertiliser to increase the nutrient content for your hungry soon-to-be veggies. For organic gardeners, incorporate a balanced general fertiliser such as blood, fish and bones about two weeks before you sow any seeds, and for traditionalists, try inorganic Growmore.
The final step to seed-ready soil is raking so you get a fine, crumbly tilth (top layer of soil). Remove any stones and you’re all set. Happy sowing and growing!