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Starting a new veggie garden

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starting-garden.jpgWhether you’re quite ‘contrary’ on the subject, or you know how your garden grows, the right advice can make all the difference between enjoying the fruits of your labour, or suffering from the bitter taste of defeat.

Work from the ground up

Before thinking about what to plant, you’ll need to work out what will grow best in your garden. Soil test kits, available from most garden centres, can give you a fair idea of the acidity of the soil and whether it is lacking any important nutrients.

Once you have a good idea of the composition of your soil, the local garden centre team will help with everything necessary to find the right balance for your soil.

Make your bed

Draw a plan of where beds should go. Be sure to include standard garden fixtures such as barbecues, children’s playgrounds and sandpits, and washing lines; of course you’ll want your garden to be productive but it still needs to fit with your lifestyle.
Generally speaking vegetables love the sun. Try and position them in areas which will receive approximately 5-7 hours of direct sun throughout the day in summer and spring. That said some plants are a little... shady. Shade-loving plants will not do so well in full sun, much like some gardeners!

Get a little high!

It’s not just mushrooms that like to get a little high! All vegetables should be grown in raised beds or a high place as garden soils need to be well drained and roots will rot if left standing in water.

Kill it and till it

If your planned garden area is covered in grass it’s best to remove this before you begin planting. A sheet of polyethylene spread over the area will do the trick within a few weeks but, if you’d like results more quickly, try spraying undiluted vinegar over the grass. Alternatively, you can always resort to chemical warfare! Herbicides are effective at killing off grass; however, check with your garden centre to ensure the chosen herbicide will not harm growing vegetables.

Compost and fertiliser can increase nutrient levels. Make sure to turn over the soil to mix in the compost. A layer of mulch will help prevent weed growth and provide extra nutrients to the soil as it breaks down over time.

Need to feed

Once plants have been planted and seeds sown, feed based on need. Depending on whether (and, if so, how much) your soil is lacking in nutrients, either a little or a lot of fertiliser will be required. Remember different plants require different types and amounts of food to thrive.

Drink, not drunk

Water veggies well, but not to excess. Read plant labels or research online regarding how much water different types of veggies will require.
Water timers and irrigation systems are worthwhile investments, regulating water distribution. These will also save you money in the long run, particularly during summer and spring.

Fast food?

While growing your own vegetables may take time they’re certainly more nutritious than anything you’ll get at your local burger joint. Good things always take time!

Veggies are never better than when they are taken straight from the garden to the table. So, if you’re looking for a taste of the ‘good life’, why not get started on your own patch of heaven today?