Home grown has become more popular than ever over the past year, with many of us spending more time at home we have turned to the garden for a new source of productivity. An activity that all the family can enjoy whilst topping up those vital vitamin D levels, spending time in your garden could be just the tonic for 2021.
We have created this series for people who are new to home growing and could do with some helpful, time saving tips and tricks to get started while seeing rewarding results. In this first blog post we cover how to choose the best area to begin your home grown venture, making the best use of your space, preparing your soil and look ahead to which veg you may wish to plant over the coming year. All the products we mention are available from us at Waresley Park Garden Centre.
The best place to start when planning your planting area is to look at your soil type. A sandy soil will dry out early in the year while a heavy clay soil may remain wet for some time, this will be of benefit later in the year when it retains more moisture for the plants. If you are unsure about the quality of your soil you can work in a good quality multi-purpose compost to your plot. When we have a good spell of dry, mild weather you will be able to start sowing slightly earlier with a sandy soil. If you have a very heavy clay soil or a very sandy soil you may well want to consider creating your own raised beds or planting in large tubs, this also works well if you have a large patio area but lack an earthy area to plant in. If you choose this option you can fill your container or raised bed with a good quality compost which will provide your seeds with a nutritious well drained environment to thrive in.
It is important to take some time to observe which part of your garden captures the most sun, vegetable seeds do best in a sunny spot. If you have a garden that only gets partial sun, do not fear, you can still successfully grow, just make sure to choose the sunniest spot possible. Once your area has been chosen and if you have decided to plant directly into the ground you will need to clear your area. The area you have chosen may currently be lawned, if so you will need to remove the grass layer and stones larger than a golf ball. Ideally you will purchase a cultivator and garden fork to turn over the top layer of soil.
If you have chosen an area of disused ground you will probably find you have a large number of weeds to contend with. In this instance the easiest option would be to use a bottle of Weedol rootkill ready to use weedkiller. This can be sprayed directly on to the weeds on a dry, still day and will kill off all the weeds within 2-3 weeks. For larger areas you can buy a sprayer and use the bottles of Weedol easy mix liquid. This will leave you a clear area to safely plant your vegetable seeds. If you have decided to create a raised bed you can construct this yourself using 4-6 inches of boarding or readymade raised beds can be purchased. You will then need to fill this with a good quality composts such as Levington – multipurpose. Between now and sowing your seeds it’s a good idea occasionally go over your area with a cultivator to use your area is in good tilth, essential for seed sowing. We recommend the Wolf Garten multichange mini cultivator as a solid beginners tool.
From mid February we suggest adding a blended manure to your soil such as the Gro-sure Farmyard manure. Using a fork, turn over the top 6 inches of soil lightly to combine the manure. It is important to try and disperse any lumps of soil to create a good structure that retains food and water but also provides good drainage. When you are ready to start sowing your seeds, choose a dry sunny spell of weather. We suggest adding Growmore to your soil at this point.
Our next blog post will cover sowing your seeds in more detail but for now here are some ideas of seeds you may want to consider purchasing ready for the year ahead, they are great for beginners and family gardens. We have sectioned them into smaller and larger plots as a guide but all the smaller plot veg can of course be grown on larger plots too. Remember to always read the back of the packet to check the variety you choose is suitable for your garden.
Large plot (Over 20 meter square)
Smaller Plot (Under 20 meter square)
No area is too small to grow your own, whether you grow in a tub on your windowsill, in hanging baskets or containers in the garden there are so many ways you and your family can enjoy your very own home grown produce. Stay tuned for our next blog post on sowing your seeds. We leave you with a shopping list of items to get you started, these are products we have tried and tested and recommend however we stock a range of alternative brands.
Garden fork – Wilkinson Sword £32.99
Mini Cultivator – Wolf Garten - £10.99
Rake – Wolf Garten - £14.99
Interchangeable Handle Attachment for Wolf Garten products - from £6.99
Watering can with a rose head – Stewart £8.99
Gardening gloves – Town & Country weed master plus £5.99
Weedol – Rootkill Plus from £4.99
Compost and fertiliser
Levington Multipurpose - £5.99 each 2 for £10
Gro-sure Farmyard Manure - £4.99
Growmore - £6.99
Chicken Manure Pellets – 7.99
It’s a good idea to buy your seeds in advance so you can prepare your growing area accordingly. We suggest browsing our range and referring to the above list on planting for your space.