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Getting started with vegetables

Recently a reader asked me about growing vegetables as they hadn’t a clue. So here for her and anyone else who might be interested are some very general tips to get started.

Ambitious vegetable gardens are seldom achievable in a small garden especially if you are planning on swathes of potatoes and brassicas that are more at home on an allotment. If you are new to vegetable growing it’s probably not a good idea to kick off with huge beds anyway as you will feel obligated to pack it with plants that will crop in excess that you’ll never get round to eating.

My recommendation would be raised beds. These cut out the real donkey work of creating vegetable beds often out of rough ground or grassed areas involving considerable physical effort either hand digging or manhandling a mechanical cultivator.

Raised beds are normally constructed from wooden planks but you can get plastic versions all available in kit forms either on line or from garden centres and they are very simple to install. Just add plenty of well-rotted compost or manure topped up by a covering of good top soil and you have the perfect bed to grow those vegetables you especially enjoy eating. But do avoid relegating the bed to a shaded, sunless part of the garden as most vegetable plants need good light and plenty of moisture to do well.

Grow bags are also excellent for some vegetables particularly tomatoes and cucumbers but do need regular feeding and watering. Tomatoes also thrive in pots especially if you choose a compact variety and even early potatoes can be grown in a large pot.

As I am moving away from the village sadly this will be my last Over the Garden Gate. I do hope you have enjoyed my seven years of being the Messenger gardening Guru and I thank you for all the very nice and appreciative comments. I wish you all great gardening in the future.


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