It’s that time of year again. Christmas decorations have been replaced with garden supplies and the shop shelves are filled with rows and rows of seeds. If you browse these isles, dreaming of growing your own, but aren’t sure where to start I’m going to show you how. These are my 5 steps to help you plan your own family vegetable garden.
1. DECIDE WHAT VEGETABLES YOU WANT TO GROW
I love browsing the seed isles and picking out a few new vegetables to try, but to make your garden the most successful and to work for you, you need to grow vegetables that your family will actually eat. There is nothing more soul destroying than watching your hard grown produce wither and die before you have had a chance to eat it.
The first thing you need to do is to write a list of the vegetables that family eats. This is usually the vegetables that you buy each week on your weekly shop. So for us this is:::
2. BE REALISTIC
If you are just starting out don’t grow anything too taxing. You want a garden that is easy to care for, that doesn’t require too much work and that fits in around family life. There is no point growing a rare vegetable which requires a lot of care and attention that you can’t give.
I have been growing my own vegetables for a few years now and I have learnt the hard way what I should and shouldn’t grow. I am a lazy gardener and if it requires too much work I ‘aint interested. Broccoli, for example, we eat a lot of broccoli and I would love to grow it, but I can’t… Every year I have tried I have been plagued with white cabbage butterfly. I have tried everything. I have wrapped up my beds in every different type of netting, I have made my own white butterfly out of milk bottles to scare them away, I spent hours cellotaping caterpillar eggs off of the leaves of my plants but it was futile. The butterfly ALWAYS wins. I accept this, I no longer grow cauliflower or broccoli. It is worth the 49p it costs me to buy it from the supermarket each week.
3. DECIDE WHERE YOU ARE GOING TO| GROW YOUR VEGETABLES
Are you going to grow your vegetables is pots, raised beds, a vegetable patch or an allotment?
I only have a small garden so I grow my vegetables in 2 x 1 meter square raised beds. You’ll be surprised about how much you can grow in there! I follow the square foot gardening method as I find that it enables me to grow the most I can in my small space. By following the square foot gardening method I could grow up to 18 different type of vegetables. I won’t grow this many because we wouldn’t eat it all but I will grow a few different things.
4. ARE YOU GOING TO GROW FROM SEED OR BUY PLANTS?
Despite doing so the last few years, I have made the decision that I am not going to grow from seed this year. I do not have a glass green house and in the past I have grown from seed on my windowsill and transferred my seedlings to a plastic greenhouse shelf that I have in the garden but it’s not ideal. The seedlings do grow and they have produced vegetables but I have found that they are slow. The fruit takes a long time to ripen and last year I was left with a lot of green tomatoes.
This year I am going to buy my plants from the garden centre. I do feel like a major cheat! There also won’t be as much choice as I will only be able to grow what plants they have for sale. If I buy my plants early I’m hoping I can get all I want.
5. PLAN YOUR GARDEN OUT
Draw a plan of your garden. Sketch it out on a piece of paper, or if you are lame like me you can make up a fancy one on your computer. I find it really helpful to visualise what my garden will look like. It also means you can identify your seedlings before they are fully grown. This is not really a necessary step but it’s something I like to do and that makes me happy.
You can watch my how to plan your family vegetable garden video over on my youtube channel. That’s it! All you need to do now is start growing 🙂