There are multiple benefits to growing your own fruit and vegetables. For me, there are three main benefits to having a veggie plot. Firstly, I like the idea of a veggie space being a talking point and feature to my garden. I also like the idea of being hands on in the garden and quite literally seeing the fruits of my labour, gardening is a great physical activity and you can have everything you plant work for you, whether it’s freshly cut flowers in the home or things you can eat and share with others. And finally, there may be an opportunity to save a little money in the long run.
So if you’re looking to carve out a little space to ‘grow your own’ then this is a feature for you.
The first step is determining and allocating a space for your plot
Whether your garden is big or small, patio or grassed, you want to allocate a particular spot dedicated to your new hobby.
But wherever you decide to have it, I’d recommend getting yourself a raised bed. Much like my reasons for a veggie plot, having a raised bed has three main benefits.
It’ll give you a dedicated space
One of the worst aspects to having a plot allocated for fruit and veg is the maintenance that comes with it. If you work directly from the bed, you can guarantee something you don’t want will creep into your space. And you’ll quickly lose track of what you planted and what’s foreign and even edible. The last you want to do is pull out a fragile sprout of something good. The raised bed gives you a dedicated space to work from and makes it a lot easier to contain what you want inside the bed and get rid of what you don’t.
It gives it that featured appearance
You want your hard work to be pride of place in the garden. The raised bed gives it an ornamental structure that really showcases your offering. The one we favour has planks that are quite long, however, you can customise it to your space by simply cutting the wood- the bed kits aren’t dependent on length of the wood so whatever space you’re working with you can make this work for you (you can even use the excess to build a base if you want to place it on a balcony or patio).
It’s a lot easier to work with
When you do have to work at it or prune your veggie plot, because it is raised it does make it that much easier to work with and puts a lesser strain on your back. It’s also super easy to put together and put in place. Plus it saves you some time getting your plot started.
Preparing your plot
Once you’ve determined where you’re going to have your fruit/veggie plot you need to prep the land.
Before you can dig space to plant though, and to save yourself a headache later on, you do need to remove as many of the weeds in the area as possible. It’s a painstaking process but once done, it will be a lot easier to manage. Turn up the face of the soil and pull out all the weeds from their base to discourage re-growth.
Once done, dig out the soil to give you around 3-4 inches in the ground to work with.
If you’re using a raised bed you’ll not have to dig the soil after you’ve weeded- you can just go ahead and place it then hammer in the sides/corners to firm it in the ground. TIP: Use weeding fabric in the base and around the sides of the kit to further prevent weeds coming through.
This is the perfect time of year to do it because the soil isn’t so firm that it is an impossible task and isn’t sopping either.
Planting your veggies
It isn’t too late to get started. A lot of the staple vegetables like cabbage, lettuce and carrots can all still be planted now. In fact most garden centres will already have pre-sprouted vegetables which will give your veggie plot the best start possible and makes it a lot easier for you. You can generally find a good offer as well.
Simply take these out of their plastic planters and place into the ground with about 5-6cm in between each plant. Spread fresh soil, we recommend soil with John Innes to give your fruit and vegetables an extra dose of nutrients, holding your plant upright whilst you do. Settle the soil by pressing firmly and evenly around the plant.
To give your veggies a good start, once completed, give them a sprinkle of water- on rain function if your hose has it and water every other day for up to 2 weeks.