Dig For Victory: Tips for Growing Your Own Fruit and Veg at Home
Growing your own food is a rewarding pastime that comes at relatively little expense. If you’re looking a few pointers in the right direction, this post is for you. Get your trowels and gloves at the ready.
First, Know your Soil:
– Sandy: dry, gritty, poor water retention, light and easy to work
– Silty: smooth, good water retention, poor draining, fairly fertile, easy to compact
– Clay: slow to drain, heavy to work, rich in nutrients, good for growth
– Peaty: rich in organic matter, water retaining in dry months, good growing medium
– Saline: dry, lacks nutrients, poor water content
– Loam: ideally balanced, crumbly, well aerated, good water retention
Making a raised bed in your garden is an effective way to grow edible veg like broad beans, onions, carrots, rhubarb, and potatoes. You need top measure the amount of space you have both width and height-wise and plan the structure you’ll build.
- A width of 1m will mean you can access it from all sides and still have a good yield with better drainage than on the ground.
- Rectangular or square beds are easiest, but if you have an unusual space, you can build your raised bed to suit you.
- Choose building materials; recycled wood, paving slabs, bricks or old railway sleepers are good choices.
- Pick soil up from larger supermarkets or hardware shops if you don’t have access to a garden centre.
- Pick veg in season for planting
- Use long bamboo sticks to provide support for plants like broad beans.
Polytunnels are a great way to grow fruit as they make the most of sunlight and protect your plants from unwanted pests like slugs, snails, birds, and visiting neighbourhood pets. They’re a great alternative to greenhouses as they’re easier to put up and less permanent. Plus, you can choose then in lots of different sizes. Varied size polytunnels can be quite hard to source locally, so sites like Premier Polytunnels can make life easier with expert advice and tunnels in various sizes.
- Work out placement of your tunnel to get optimal sunlight
- Strawberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries and raspberries are great starters.
- A 6ft wide tunnel can house a lot of plants so you might want to think about shelving for potted plants or use the soil on the ground.
If you need advice before you start your gardening adventure, garden centres and allotment associations are a great way to get local advice that you can use. Make sure you’re tooled up with sun cream and a good knowledge of the plants you’re growing.