As our readers know, we are enormous advocates for spending time in the garden. Gardening can be both enjoyable and rewarding, and provide benefits to both your physical and mental health.
There’s so much to do in the garden, but one of the most rewarding must be creating your own little allotment to grow your favourite vegetables. It takes us back to simpler times – and although mass production in the food industry is necessary for the world we live in today – you cannot ignore the benefits of growing your own produce.
Not only do you get the satisfaction of nurturing your veggies until they grow big and strong, but it also helps us to understand the food we eat. Plus, when you come to harvest your produce, you know exactly what’s gone into it, unlike the items you buy from supermarkets!
With that being said, we’ve put together a guide that details all you need to know to get started growing your own vegetables. Follow this guide, and before you know it, you’ll be ready to start your own little vegetable market right in front of your house.
We’ll warn you now; once you get going, it can be hard to stop!
What You Need To Get Started
Before you begin your vegetable growing journey, make sure that you have a suitable place to grow your vegetables, as well as some basic tools. Make sure your vegetables will have:
- Access to a lot of sunlight. We know this can feel a little difficult in Britain, but jokes aside, make sure you have open space to plant your vegetables. Try not to plant them under a shelter, or in the shadow of a large tree. They’ll need at least six hours of sun per today in order to receive the nutrients they need.
- A safe space to grow. By this, we mean somewhere that is not prone to being hammered by extreme weather conditions (such as high speed winds), and is not subject to a lot of footfall. Don’t plant your veggies where the kids are likely to be roaming – try and make sure they’re out of the way and protected.
You will also want to invest in a few tools and other bits to make the growing experience as efficient, safe, and enjoyable as possible. While some vegetables will have their own specific requirements, making sure you have the following is a good place to start:
- Soil! This is probably a no brainer, but you need to make sure that you have appropriate soil. The ideal soil will be moist and well drained – you don’t want to drown your vegetables! We have a fantastic range of topsoils to choose from, specially selected to ensure optimal growth.
- Wheelbarrow (or something to help you move debris).
Growing your own vegetables doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment, and it’s a nice, affordable hobby to start getting stuck into!
And remember, even though we’re focussing on vegetables to grow in the garden, there’s still plenty you can grow without a designated patch, or even on your windowsill!
Which Vegetables Are Best to Grow For Beginners?
While you might have your favourites, some vegetables are easier to grow than others. Ultimately, what you want to begin with is up to you, but here is a list of choices that you are likely to find success with, even the first time around.
Perfect for salads, tomato sauces, pizza bases, and soups. While technically a fruit, tomatoes are a great – and extremely popular – place to start. They’re extremely versatile, and due to their popularity there are plenty of hints and tips out there to support you. For tomatoes, it’s massively important that they get plenty of light, and have a good amount of space to grow. Have a quick look at this guide for more detailed information.
A staple of many home cooked meals, carrots are also a nice, easy vegetable to grow. While some might end up being a bit stunted (which we think gives them a lot of character!), we’d recommend a raised bed of deep, moist soil, to give those little orange beauties plenty of space for horizontal growth.
Take a look at this fantastic guide to growing carrots, which even discusses different types of carrots you can experiment with growing!
Despite their size and weight, pumpkins don’t actually provide too much of a hassle to grow. If you have children, it could be a great experience for you to grow and harvest the pumpkins together, ready to carve for Halloween! If that’s the case, you’ll need to start early, as optimal climates for sowing pumpkin seeds are in the spring. You can find more detailed information about growing pumpkins in this guide.
Some people might call lettuce a bit boring… but we’d have to disagree! Not only is lettuce relatively easy to grow and harvest, it’s also packed full of nutrients, and offers a lot of flexibility in both variety and use.
By taking a few extra steps to prepare your bed, you can ensure you’re well on the way to growing juicy, crisp lettuce that tastes way better than the ones you get in supermarkets!
While this colourful root vegetable might not be everybody’s cup of tea, we think they go down a treat. They are perfect to pop into a salad, but you can do so much more with them, especially if you’re looking to make a hearty, home cooked meal.
Even better, the planting, cultivation, and harvesting of radishes only takes 2-4 weeks, so if you are a little impatient, they are probably a great place to start. Seeing the finished product after a little while might give you the confidence to grow some other veggies, too. To get some more information, take a look at this fantastic ‘How To’ guide for radishes.
Forward Builders’ Top Beginner Tips for Growing Vegetables
As with anything, it’s best to walk (or even crawl) before you can run. Therefore, we recommend taking it slow to begin with – don’t try and turn your garden into a sprawling vegetable patch straight away.
There’s little point in going overboard right away. Use a small plot of land, and only grow what you know you’ll eat. That way, if anything does go wrong, there’ll be much less waste, and you won’t be as disappointed.
Allocate yourself enough space in the garden to expand if needed, but you shouldn’t need more than a couple of rows of decent length (around 8ft) for your first grow. As you get more confident, you can add more rows, and make your existing ones a little longer! Before you know it, you’ll have the neighbours knocking on the door after your newest crops!
Ensure You Have the Time and Effort Required
While growing your own veggies won’t be as physically difficult as climbing Mt. Everist, it will still require a fair amount of labour. There might be a bit of lifting involved for soils, and you’re likely to be down on your hands and knees a fair bit. Tending your vegetables is a great hobby to have if you aren’t physically fit, but make sure you have a base level of fitness so you don’t injure yourself.
Additionally, once you’ve planted your seeds, you’ll be wanting to check in on your vegetables on a daily basis. Make sure you have the flexibility to set aside a decent portion of time each day (no longer than an hour, unless you have an enormous veggie garden on your hands) for watering and maintenance. We know life can be busy, but to get the most out of growing veggies, you need to give them the time they deserve.
Consider a Raised Bed
Raised beds are fairly common back-yard vegetable gardens. They’re especially good if you don’t have the perfect ground to grow; perhaps your garden is on a hill or the ground is excessively weedy. Not only are raised beds practical, they can also be aesthetically beautiful – take a look at our selection of pre-built raised beds to see what we mean.
If you want to get creative, consider building one yourself. It isn’t too difficult, and there are plenty of guides available.
Raised beds are particularly useful for those who do not wish to bend over too much for maintenance, as well as those gardeners with mobility issues.
Don’t Grow Vegetables Out of Season
This can lead to disaster and disappointment. There’s nothing worse than a stunted, unripe tomato that’s a result of mistimed planting. The vast majority of vegetables grown in your garden will need to be sown in the spring months. Always check the back of your seed packets for the optimal months for planting and harvesting.
However, if you’re reading this at the end of summer and are itching to get growing, don’t despair. There is plenty that can be grown in doors, and there are even are even some that can be grown all year round outside.
Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Vegetables in the Garden
If you have any questions that aren’t answered here, please feel free to get in touch!
What are the quickest vegetables to grow?
While there are no quick wins when it comes to home-grown vegetables, there are several great options available that will take between 3-8 weeks to yield. These include radishes, salad leaves, carrots, and spinach.
What is a mulch?
A mulch is a layer of material you put on top of the soil. Mulches can be used to protect the soil and in most cases will be designed to decompose and provide more nutrients for the soil and veggies. Popular materials for mulches include bark, straw, hay, compost, newspaper, and, for ultimate protection, synthetic mulches.
Can growing my own vegetables save me money?
If you decide to take vegetable growing seriously, then yes, you can save a lot of money by growing your own produce. You’d be surprised by the yield that some seeds produce. Medium to large sized vegetable patches can produce dozens or hundreds of pounds of vegetables, which, after an initial investment on seeds and equipment, can save you a significant amount of cash in the long run.
Will pests eat my vegetables?
Depending on where you live, your patch may be susceptible to being a tasty treat for the resident wildlife. While frustrating, there are ways to prevent this from happening. It might take a bit of trial and error, but you should be able to determine what sort of pests are snacking on your greens by the damage done.
Once you’ve diagnosed the pest, you’ll be able to put the appropriate measures in place to deter them. For insects, there are plenty of sprays available, and for larger pests, such as vermin, you can invest in traps (ethical, if you prefer), or barriers to keep them at bay.
Forward Builders’ Supplies
We hope that we’ve given you a little bit of inspiration to get started with your own vegetable garden. The benefits on your health – both from a physical and nutritional standpoint – can be massive. It’s really not that difficult, and with a bit of forward planning, anybody can do it.
At Forward Builders’ Supplies, we specialise in garden and landscaping supplies. We’ve got plenty of the things you’ll need to get started, including composts, soils, raised beds, and tools. If by chance you’re looking for something that isn’t vegetable related – such as furniture, water features, or ornaments, we’ve also plenty available to order in-store and online.
For more information, please feel free to contact us on 033 0055 2500.