Tuesday, 14 January 2014

How to Grow Vegetables in a Small Garden

There’s nothing like growing and harvesting your own vegetables. You can save a significant amount of money and get a lot of personal satisfaction from raising crops in your own garden. It’s something that the whole family can get involved in and the best thing is that even if you only have a small garden to work with, you can get involved in home growing. There are plenty of space saving varieties of vegetables and small scale growing ideas that you can put to use. Read on for growing tips tailored for small gardens.

What Should You Grow?

Think about the type of vegetables that you’re most interested in eating and focus on them. Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, celery and maincrop potatoes take up a large amount of space so it’s worth avoiding these. It’s advised that growers choose vegetables that are expensive to buy in shops and taste best when they are at their freshest. Most legumes fall into this category and good space savers include pole beans, bush beans, fava beans and peas. Dwarf varieties are good for small containers and climbing beans utilize vertical space.

Make Your Own Containers

Making upright boxes out of wood that can be filled with soil is an ingenious space-saving solution. Most seed packets will tell you how much space the adult plant requires so you can plan ahead for this. When constructing your wooden boxes, use well-maintained and high quality power tools to get the best results, like those from Anglia Tool Centre. You can also use old crates or cans if you want to create a bohemian feel.

Time and Space

Plan your space carefully and utilize what you have. If you have limited space to work with, try growing crops that will be out of the ground within a few weeks. That way you can quickly go on to a new crop and maximize the number of varieties and vegetables you are able to grow. Crops that take a long time to be ready for harvesting include parsnips, leeks, pumpkins and squashes. If you want to grow vegetables that take a few months to reach maturity, why not try ‘intercropping’. This means interspersing slower varieties with fast growing vegetables to save on space.

Making Your Allotment Shine All Year Round

Now that the New Year is finally upon us, millions of us up and down the country are scrambling around, looking for a New Year’s resolution. One area that you should immediately look to for this resolution is your allotment. Here is a guide to how you can make sure you use your resolution to make your allotment usable all year round.

De-Weeding To Aid Growth

Your allotment needs continuous hoeing and de-weeding to stay in prime condition. Although going out to de-weed in the depths of winter may not sound like an appealing idea, it is one that’s entirely essential. To help aid the process and make it less laborious in the future, you should consider planting potatoes, pumpkins or courgettes as they actually smother weeds and hinder their growth.

On the other hand, you’ll need to make sure that small items such as carrots or peas are away from areas with weeds, because they cast little shadow and are vulnerable to being smothered by weeds. Items like these should instead be grown in beds with plants as this will make the de-weeding process far simpler.

Surviving the Depths of Winter

Once you’ve got the layout of your allotment sorted and started de-weeding, you’ll have to consider how your allotment will cope in the depths of winter. Some soil types (especially ones that are clay based) can be very hard to work during the winter months, and waterlogged soil will lead to poor growth. To solve these problems you can:
  • Plant raised flower beds to enhance the drainage options
  • Consider time. If you’re short, plant pears, peas and carrots that will give a heavy yield when they are sown late.
  •  Banish slugs by using replants. Slugs are everywhere in the wet season and it is vitally important that you deter them as best as possible if you want a good crop growth. 

Surviving the Drought of Summer

Winter and the wet months, however, are not the only struggle that you will have. Despite being a popular time for gardening, the summer months can also prove tricky, with constant maintenance required. If it is exceptionally dry, clay based soils will work in your favour here, but sand based soils will dry out incredibly quickly. Remember that you may have restrictions on water use, so plan for every eventuality.
To avoid a struggle, you need to plan accordingly. Have a look at long range weather forecasts before deciding what to plant. Leafy salads and runner beans will suffer on dry soils, so if it is going to be dry, choose more tolerant plants like squash or pumpkins.

Finally, to make sure that your allotment is usable all year round, make sure that you have all the equipment immediately available at your disposal. A shed from somewhere like Sheds and Things is a lifesaver for an allotment that’s in use 365 days a year. Make sure you’re properly prepared. 


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