As the New Year approaches, it seems like a good time to take stock of your garden. Try to look at your garden with fresh eyes. Do you like the colour combinations? Do you never use the path but always cut across the grass? Never seem to have enough of the right vegetables and too many of the wrong ones? Then sit down and plan exactly what you want to do throughout the year.
If you’re thinking of starting to grow your own vegetables, remember that you do not need a big garden, any space will do as long as it is sunny – vegetables do not do well in the shade or under trees. You can make a special vegetable patch or grow within a mixed bed with flowers. Runner Bean flowers make an attractive addition to the back of borders, Globe Artichokes add interesting structure while there are many vegetables, such as Purple Cauliflowers, that will add vibrant colour to your flower garden.
You may wish to grow in narrow raised beds. Ideally around 1.2m wide, the edges can be supported by brickwork for a formal air or made of wooden planks for a more rustic feel. This means that your plot can be worked from both sides without trampling on the produce. Plants can also be spaced evenly and closer together, and weeding is easier as the soil does not get compacted.
Most vegetable seeds can be sown directly where they are to finish. However keep a watchful eye on the weather. Even hardy varieties cannot be sown until the soil has warmed up to at least 6°C.
Our handy leaflet The Vegetable Garden Planner is a short guide to help you on your way. With a printable Vegetable Growing Chart, a guide to Crop Rotation and tips on where to grow vegetables, it’s an invaluble starter. If you need something more interactive, why not try our Vegetable Garden Planner? It’s free to try and costs just £15 per year if you find it valuable.