Start you own ‘Edible Garden’

So why have your own vegetable garden?

Well firstly, there is nothing like the taste of home-grown fruit and veg!  Whether you are sowing from seed or buying a small plant to start you off, when you pick your first crop, peel those delicious carrots, parsnips & potatoes, chop those juicy cucumbers, tomatoes & courgettes and sprinkle your sweet, red strawberries with sugar, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you have planted, nurtured and produced it all yourself!  And of course, growing your own is a great way to save money on the ever-increasing food bills we all seem to be experiencing.

Growing vegetables at home can also be a fun way to spend time with children, who are much more likely to eat the fruit and vegetables they have had a part in growing.  The garden is also a great place to get away from it all, keep yourself fit and healthy (you use a lot of muscles digging, weeding and bending to tend to your crops) as well as a relaxing way to spend time outdoors in the sun.

Planning and growing a vegetable garden is much easier than you think. You don’t even need a garden.  Growing fruit and veg in pots, containers or hanging baskets, on a patio, deck or windowsill is a great way to start as well as a good way of transforming brick & concrete spaces into a lovely green area.

So what should you grow?

The advice I would give to beginners would be to start small and not risk overwhelming yourself.  Thinking about what and how much you usually buy in the fruit and veg aisle in the supermarket is a good way to begin planning.  Remember that some fruit, veg and herbs such as tomatoes, courgettes, sugar snap peas, mint and summer salad leaves for example  keep providing throughout the season so you might not need as many plants to keep you going.  Others, such as carrots, parsnips, and corn produce only once so you might need more of these.

Remember, you don’t need a large space to start off.  Make use of upright sacks to grow potatoes, patio containers for courgettes and spinach, hanging baskets for strawberries and tomatoes, areas next to fences or trellis for peas and windowsills for salad leaves then save the ground for deeper growing or large spreading vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, parsnips and carrots.

Some meals to get you thinking about what you want to grow:

Vegetable accompaniments to meat dishes: Parsnips, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip & shallots

Salads: Tomatoes, cucumber, rocket, spinach, basil, sweetcorn & red onions

Casseroles: Sage, rosemary & thyme

Stir fry: Courgette, sugar snap peas, carrots, asparagus, garlic, peppers & chilis

Breakfast smoothies, desserts or summer cocktails: Raspberries, strawberries & mint

Chutneys, sauces & stuffing: Mint, tomatoes, sage & onions

So, now it’s over to you.  Take the time to sit down and plan what you want to grow in the space you have and using the time you have free to tend to your future crops and wait for our next article, which will show you the next steps towards your ‘Edible Garden’.

Watch this space…..

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