These days, with all of us being more aware of where our food actually comes from, concerns about plastic packaging and a desire to cut down on ‘food miles’, growing your own vegetables makes more and more sense.
You will be able to eat the freshest of produce knowing full well that your vegetables have been grown organically. Everyone agrees that home grown vegetables taste far better than anything you can buy in a supermarket, and you will also reap the benefit of being out in the fresh air getting some exercise. It’s a win win situation.
If you’re setting about growing your own for the first time, a bit of preparation now will pay dividends later in the season. One thing to bear in mind is to not be too ambitious. If you’re taking on an allotment or are planning to dig a plot in your own garden, don’t go mad and take on a huge area. A small plot, something like 3 metre square, is a good size area at begin with. If you tackle a bigger space, you will soon find the management of the plot begins to be a problem. Weeds, watering and general maintenance takes time, that’s fine if you plan to spend pretty much every day tending your vegetables, but most of us have boring things like work and a family to look after!
To the other extreme, if space is an issue -as in not having any, you can easily grow vegetables successfully in containers.
Once you have decided on where you plan to grow – ideally an open sunny spot with a water source nearby – dig the plot over, getting rid of any large stones and weeds. Then get as much good nutritious matter into your area – well rotted organic farmyard manure is ideal, but do be aware, if you are importing manure from an outside source you may well be bringing in unwanted weeds into your garden. To be safe, go for pre-bagged manure that has been screened and cleansed.
It sounds obvious, but grow what you like to eat. It’s tempting to buy loads of seeds, lots of different vegetables – but how many turnips or celeriac will you really want?
The more tender vegetables such as peppers and chillies will really need some protection to thrive, a greenhouse ideally. Tomatoes and cucumbers too prefer a sheltered environment, although there are outdoor varieties that should crop well during the varied weather of a Princes Risborough summer.
All of us at Askett Nurseries enjoy growing vegetables, so if you have any questions, do pop in.
Simon, Alison and all at Askett Nurseries.