Step 1: Figure out where your vegetable patch will be
Your first task is to go into your garden and decide where your vegetable patch will be positioned. There are a few things to consider. Firstly, sun light. Veggies, like all plants, need plenty of sun to grow effectively Choose a spot that receives sun for as much of the day as possible. Avoid shady spots – a good tip is to create your patch as far away from your house, garage, and other buildings as possible.
Next consider, other plants in your garden. It’s best to position the patch away from large trees and shrubs that will compete for water and sunlight. Speaking of water, it makes sense to choose a patch location that’s close to a water source.
Finally, be realistic about the size of your vegetable garden. If your yard is compact, craft a small patch and choose essential veggies. If you have a generous amount of space, feel free to experiment with a larger garden. Don’t overestimate how much you can reasonably accommodate.
Step 2: Choose which plants you’d like to grow
Next, the fun part! Which vegetables would you like to grow in your garden? There are two key factors to consider here: which vegetables do you love, and what can realistically be grown in your patch?
Your local climate will give you some clues. If you have persistently hot weather, some vegetables will simply not be able to grow under harsh conditions. Similarly, if your home is prone to extremes of cold, you’ll need to focus on hardy vegetables that can withstand the frost and snow.
Local garden centers can be very helpful. Pop in and ask which vegetables they recommend; they’ll have knowledge of the local climate, soil types, and native plants that can make your own patch a resounding success.
Step 3: Find out when your veggies need to be planted
Once you’ve chosen which plants you’ll welcome into your garden, it’s time to do some research! If you bought seeds or young plants from a garden center they’ll be able to give you some good advice. Otherwise, a quick internet search can give you valuable information.
Generally, vegetables are planted in the spring. Some can be planted year-round, but the best chance of a solid first crop will come from choosing springtime. So, prep work should take place during the winter, if possible.
Step 4: Check which soil type and fertiliser your plants will need
Picking the perfect position for your patch is one thing; now, you’ll need to create the conditions in which your veggies will thrive. That starts with soil.
Some brands produce specific vegetable soils that are suitable for most plants. General soil is also a great choice if you’re on a budget or have a diverse selection of veggies you intend to grow.
If you’d like to be more specific, check which pH range is best for your plants, and choose a soil that matches.
You’ll also need to think about fertilizer. The nutrients that vegetables need to thrive are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). All-purpose fertilizers tend to contain these elements, but it’s always best to double-check. You may also be able to find a vegetable-specific fertilizer, or an organic product to suit your veggies.
Step 5: Prepare and treat your patch
The hard work begins! You’ll need to plot and dig out your patch, install a bed if you’re using one, and put down a generous amount of soil. Make sure that you have a clear path to your patch, and enough space for your veggies to grow and thrive.
It’s also a good idea to add a layer of mulch to the soil. This will enrich it with nutrients that will feed your fledgling veggies once they’re planted. Add some water and you’re ready for the big event.
Step 6: Plant your veggies
It’s time to get your vegetables in place! You have two options here; to plant seeds or opt for young plants. Seeds are easier to obtain and store, in preparation for planting, while young plants have already been nurtured through the initial growth phase and will give you crops a lot sooner.
If you’re going to plant seeds, make sure that you leave enough space between them – otherwise, competition for water, sun, and nutrients is likely to suffocate a portion of your crop. The seed packet will advise you how much space to create, or you can search online to confirm for specific seeds.
Create a shallow hole for each seed in the soil, using your finger. Once you’ve dropped the seed in, cover with soil. Repeat this process with all seeds, then add some extra soil, mulch, and fertilizer on top. Give your seeds an initial water.
If you’re using young plants, you won’t need to leave as much space as you would for seeds, but there should still be some space between each plant. Dig a small hole that’s sufficient to carry the roots of the young plant, then gently bed it in. Add some extra soil, mulch, and fertilizer around the bedding area, and water.